When Cecilia and I were pondering topics for the 2018 NoVAtions themes, January was a no-brainer.  It is undeniable that some of us are going to be dealing with lost abstinence or some sort of binge.  The holidays overwhelmed us, and we stumbled and fell.  How do we get up on our feet again when we can’t seem to pull ourselves out of the quicksand of compulsive eating?  How do we face our OA friends who seemed to make it through the holidays fine?  How do we forgive ourselves for our failure, our reaffirmed status as total losers?  How do we deal with relapse? 

While I am not the most experienced voice in the room, I’m the one sitting at the keyboard, so listen to what I say (I’m repeating our literature, anyway):  the most important thing is to keep coming back.  Keep coming to meetings, because they are filled with people who understand and love you.  Some of us fell down, too.  And those of us who made it through the 2017 holidays happy, joyous, and free remember other holidays – even some in program – where that was not the case.  We know what you are going through.  We have been there.  Bring your weakness to us, just as we bring ours to you.  Together we can be stronger and can break the pattern of disease. 

One of the most amazing things I find about my OA friends is that they both understand and sympathize with me (always appreciated) and also call me on my B.S. (less appreciated, but necessary).  Yes, my sponsor knows the painful, hard path I am on.  She also knows all the evasions, the acts of self-will, the excuses, because she has used them herself.  No judgment, she tells me, and there really is none – but there is frank discussion and accountability.   Recovery isn’t possible without honesty, and as terrifying as that can be, OA is a safe place.  I sit in the rooms amazed at your bravery, being vulnerable and true.  It is a privilege every week that you share yourself with me – how can I do any less?

Coming to meetings will not only remind you that you are not alone, but you will grow and learn from everyone in the room.  You will learn about working the 12 Steps and how to use the tools.  You will make progress, even if it is in little baby steps.  In a meeting I heard someone talking about waiting for the miracle; he didn’t get what that meant until he read a definition of “miracle” that described it as a change in perception.  Not a dramatic Red Sea parting, but a simple change in perception!  That made me start thinking about all the tiny changes in perception I have been having since I entered the rooms in 2016.  I have not been struck abstinent, and I haven’t finished the 12 Steps yet, but each “ah-ha” moment I have had in OA has gradually, in about 10° increments, been changing my spiritual direction.  Eventually I will be 180°, and food obsession will be behind me – and what a miracle that will be!