My name is Karen. I have been in program for twenty-five years with a top weight of 359 pounds (163 kg), maintaining a 210-pound (95-kg) weight loss for more than fifteen years.

I have learned to love OA sayings. One I’m fond of is “the fork in the road.” I always equate it with food, my own fork, and the choices I make to follow my food plan and maintain my abstinence. I was reading the October 14 entry in For Today, and I had an awareness. The reading refers to traveling this road in OA: it’s “. . . not always smooth and comfortable, but it is leading me to freedom” (p. 288). I started to think about the fork, the road, and ways I protect myself as they relate to my car and driving.

Sometimes when I travel, I move too close to the rim of the road or drift into another lane. At times, I daydream and am not aware of my surroundings. A few years ago, I was able to buy a new car, my first in forty years. I made a decision to take very good care of this beautiful mode of transport. I made a promise to the car and myself that I would not only take care of it but also appreciate every day that I had dependable transportation. So I make sure I put in gasoline, never letting the amount in the tank get too low or run out. I have oil changes done regularly and rotate the tires as recommended. I do maintenance as scheduled to protect the warranty. I turn my headlights on to see in the dark; sometimes I need the high beams. I have a GPS that guides me when I need help with navigation (though I argue with the GPS, even when I don’t have a clue where I’m going).

What does this have to do with OA program? In OA, I have Tools to keep me maintained for a very long time:

A Plan of Eating. My fuel and water balance keeps me running well at a healthy body weight.

Sponsorship. My sponsor is my mechanic, helping me stay physically, mentally, and spiritually sound.

Meetings. I do regular maintenance check-ins at meetings; I put gas in before my tank is empty and the light turns on.

Telephone. I need the phone to schedule appointments, make reservations, and talk to others who have traveled this road before me.

Writing. I write down what I need to take with me and what I want to see and do. I also write what I want to remember: where I’ve been and the adventures I’ve experienced.

Literature. I read the manuals that tell me about warning signs and how to keep this machine going.

Action Plan. I make a plan about where I’m going, how I’ll get there, and how much to pack for this journey.

Anonymity. My license plate doesn’t need to have my name on it. I’m just another driver on the road.

Service. OA service is not just for those wanting to get going or people broken down on the side of the road. Service is also for help and guidance as we travel—before the emergency!

With God, my GPS, as my guide, and his headlights to see in the dark, my recovery can last as long as I am willing.