Reflections from Unity Day #3

In two previous posts, we’ve dug into things our Unity Day speakers shared. Here’s another, this time a big hunk of hope.

“I don’t have to diet anymore,” one of our speakers said. “My clothes fit from one year to the next.” This was next to impossible to imagine when we were in the throes of our disease—when we ate compulsively, swore we wouldn’t again, and then found ourselves once more at the bottom of a bag, box, or bin of food. We couldn’t envision ourselves at a normal weight, let alone for a year or more.

But OA has allowed this miracle to happen. When we became abstinent, we began to release our excess weight. We saw progress. Sometimes this progress felt awkward because we weren’t used to being thinner. This feeling intensified when others, with the best of intentions, commented on how much better we looked. Buying clothes that fit our newly smaller bodies felt odd too. How many times in our pre-OA lives had we lost some weight and bought new clothing, only to find ourselves unable to wear it when we went back to the food?

Obviously, the idea of being able to wear our clothes one year to the next speaks powerfully about the physical aspect of our recovery. But when considered just a moment longer, and in light of our previous attempts to be rid of the weight, there’s something deeper going on. How does someone who could never lose weight or keep it off, who is addicted to food, now have the power to stay at a normal weight?

Part of the answer is that OA helps us with our emotions. The first bite never occurred in isolation. It could always be traced back to some feeling, some emotion, some discomfort that we had to get relief from. OA’s fellowship and meetings give us safe ways to speak about the highs and lows so that we don’t have to eat when we are, as the slogan goes, happy, mad, sad, or glad.

But our program stresses that this isn’t enough to keep us safe from our own addictive minds. Our literature reminds us that no human power can save us from the first bite. Without something more powerful than us in our lives, we are doomed to eat again. Why? Because people are people, and at some time human beings will fail us. In other words, we can’t trust ourselves or others with our recovery. None of us has the needed power to keep ourselves or others food-sober. If we did, we would have done it a long time ago!

Staying in our clothes year after year is a reflection of our ability to be open-minded about allowing a Higher Power into our lives. A Higher Power is the only thing that can keep us from that first awful bite. Our own willpower is not enough, but our Higher Power will augment our willpower so that we can avoid eating compulsively. If we ask for the help, that is. OA’s Twelve Steps are a proven method for going from the spiraling hopelessness of compulsive eating to the sureness that God will keep us in the same clothes year after year if we only step aside and let God run the show.

Once we invite God into our lives, the fellowship takes on new meaning. We look for ways to help other OA members, and we share the hope of our recovery. We demonstrate to others, by wearing the same clothes year after year, the power of our program.