I broke my abstinence three months ago; after 22 relatively clean years. This is what I was thinking, in the months before the break: I’m set. My food is in place and has been for decades. I do as much as I have to, to stay abstinent. I don’t need to go nuts with it; I’m just not that bad. I can switch my focus to another program that helps with the problem that’s paining me the most right now. I’m fine with one OA meeting per week, step 11 most days, and step 10 when I’m in a twist. I’ve done Big Book Step Study, I’m beyond the OA tools, beyond being sponsored, who’s going to sponsor the great, highly-recovered me? I’ve got it, I’m good to go.

But then, God smacked me upside the head. I’d slept too late to have breakfast that one April morning, because I’d been up so late the night before, so I decided to start with lunch and have my breakfast after supper. And now here I was at 2:00 AM, again, in a wildfire of self-will, again, working on a cherished dream – and I still hadn’t eaten that postponed meal.

I was banging away at my computer, glancing at the clock, and saying, just this one more thing, until I realized that I had to be up at 9:00, and I still had stuff to do before bed. I had a choice: eat my third meal and be seriously sleep deprived or surrender the meal and go to bed. I asked God what was less crazy and surrendered the meal. And woke up the next day, knowing I wasn’t abstinent anymore.

I’d had some slippery moments in the months before that. I’d talked them over with an OA buddy, and simply resumed. It was fine, I thought. I had a sponsee, I did service at my one meeting. I had read the Big Book so many times I had chewed all the juice out of it, and the other literature didn’t seem to be speaking to me. My problem was unmanageable time, not unmanageable food. I thought my food was safe.

Do you know what it feels like to stand up in a canoe on the water? In the months before my break, that’s how I felt. I was on an emotional high, because of the progress I’d been making on a long-held ambition. I was standing in a teetering canoe on a fast-running stream. But the morning after surrendering my third meal, I wasn’t in that canoe anymore. I was in the water and being swept toward the falls. I felt the pull of all the addictive foods I hadn’t tasted in 22 years. I knew that if I didn’t get a sponsor, NOW, I’d go over, and who knows if I’d ever get back?

But, if I got a sponsor, she might object to my food plan. And she’d tell me to spend time on tools again – three meetings a week, literature, action plan, and the most dreaded tool of all, the telephone. I hesitated. “To be doomed to an alcoholic death or to live on a spiritual basis” (as the Big Book says on p44) “are not always easy alternatives to face.”

Thank You, God, I found willingness to call someone who read me the riot act. Chastened, I called someone gentler and asked her to sponsor me. I’m so grateful to God and to that woman that she said yes. And, amazingly, OA is interesting to me again! Yes, it’s the same old stuff, but I’m still the same old compulsive overeater. My way still doesn’t work. I still need the tools and the steps. I AM that bad. I still can’t do it by myself. And, by the grace of God, I don’t have to.