Member Experience #6: Trying Hard and Hardly Trying

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OA is full of paradoxes that make sense only when you have experience. For me, one of them is that in recovery I’m trying hard to be hardly trying.

Trying hard means that I’m doing the footwork that OA recommends. I attend meetings regularly. I work the Steps daily. I do service. I sponsor. I use the Tools. I try hard to make the program a part of my daily life. Most important, I don’t eat no matter what, and no matter what I don’t eat.

That last sentence is where hardly trying comes in. It means that I don’t need to be obsessing about how much or how little I’m eating, about my food plan, or about the results. This is because I now have a Higher Power. OA shows me that instead of trusting my powerless self to keep myself abstinent, I need trust HP to change me and make it easier for me not to eat. So I try hard to have a relationship with God so that I don’t have to try as hard with my food.

There’s another meaning to “hardly trying” as well. We’ve all heard of someone with a trying personality. They are a pain in the butt, always wanting it their way or trying to be the center of some drama. By trying hard to work the program, I am also taught that I’m not so important that I need to be trying to those around me. The program tells us that we need to learn to be humble, and humble people don’t act out. Whenever I’ve acted out in my life, the victory was short-lived, and soon I’d be eating again over that crisis and whatever crisis I was next brewing up. When I’m hardly trying, I find out that God will sort things out without my needing to make a scene. That’s better for me and everyone around me, and it reduces the number of feelings I might want to eat over.

I learned this through experiences: by talking with my sponsor, by doing the Steps, and by acting as if. I’m changing, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, into less of a trying person and more of someone who is OK in their own skin. Best of all, I don’t have to eat like crazy anymore or beat myself up for doing so. I’m trying hard and hardly trying thanks to OA.