The Strongest Message
When I first came to OA, folks said, “If newcomers are ready, you can’t say anything wrong. If they’re not, you can’t say anything right.” It was true for me. It wasn’t anything anyone said or did that got to me, but a mysterious response in my aching heart.
I also realized I didn’t have to look just right or learn any doctrine to carry the message. If I had, I never would have approached anyone. When I started sponsoring, my qualifications were a 25-pound (11-kg) weight loss and nine months in the program, but no one asked. They said all I had to do was suit up and show up. I could do that much, and I was willing to leave the rest to God. Today I have numerous opportunities to carry my message of hope, even though I imperfectly abstain and inexpertly work the program. The only thing I do exactly right is to keep coming back. It’s been working for more than eleven years.
It is essential that we keep coming back, even when we’re not abstaining, because we are still a message of hope. If I obsess or overeat but still do my best to abstain for a meal or still go to a meeting, that’s a surrender that puts me in touch with HP in the midst of my pain. I believe this is what is meant by “Abstinence is the most important thing in my life today without exception.”
The strongest message of hope I hear from my fellow compulsive overeaters comes while witnessing their pain and seeing that even in the hardest of times, they keep coming back.
So here I am, singing the praises of all those imperfectly recovering compulsive overeaters, myself among them. Hope is alive. Keep coming back! - Lifeline, July 2001