Hi, I’m Judith. My job involves creativity, deadlines, and challenging personalities, so it’s usually stressful. Working my OA program keeps me tethered most days, but I fully admit I’m human. When I feel the stress—that tightness in my gut, shoulders, and jaw—I look for a relief valve.
Before I came to OA in September 2012, food and rage provided that relief. Since I’ve been in the program, the rage has subsided but the desire to eat remains. Sometimes it overwhelms me to the point that I feel like I’ll explode. I admit that there were times when I gave in to eating something just to escape that feeling.
One day in April 2016, I had grabbed a fast-food lunch and gone to a park to eat it, but I wasn’t enjoying it. I hadn’t been to a meeting in months, but I’d stayed in touch with a program friend, phoning every few days. I was thinking about the Twelve Steps, which I’d worked through hastily during my first two years in OA, and all the emotional and financial upheaval I’d been through since joining the program.
I called my OA friend and said, “I think I’m finally ready to take Step Three.” From that point, my friend became my sponsor. I started a new phase of recovery, basing my abstinence on Steps Three through Seven, with emphasis on staying in touch with my Higher Power and being willing to go where HP directed.
One particularly stressful day at the office, I had deadlines to meet but was torn up inside because my brother had been airlifted to the hospital, his life hanging in the balance. On top of that, there were sweets in the break room! I went to a restroom stall and phoned my sponsor. She didn’t answer, so in a panic, I started texting, typing everything I was feeling.
Then the miracle happened. I started thinking of what my sponsor would say in this situation. I kept texting, but I began sending affirmations instead of cries for help:
“I hurt like crazy, but my HP loves me, so it’s OK.”
“This is a hard day for me, but my HP is with me, so it’s OK.”
“I’m powerless over all this, including my feelings, but I have a program, so it’s OK.”
“I can focus on my job because my HP knows what’s going on, and it’s OK.”
I was able to stop crying and go back to work. My desire to eat disappeared.
It’s not easy for me to take a break and talk to another OA member when I’m at work, but I now have a small network of people, including my sponsor, who I can text if I need help. (I’ve also learned that some people can’t respond to texts at the office, so I ask for permission first.) It’s certainly a different way of using the telephone as a Tool of Recovery, but I’m grateful for the technology.