Even after more than four years of abstinence, I don’t ever want to forget how painful my life was before I became abstinent.
Two weeks ago, I had a chance to remember life before OA. I was incredibly hungry all day, craved certain foods, and was driven to eat. I didn’t break my abstinence, but it was the hardest twenty-four-hour period of the last few years. That day, I used all the Tools. While I read, food called to me; while I wrote, food yelled at me. I phoned friends in the program, but the obsession didn’t abate. It hurt to want to eat so badly.
“What am I doing wrong?” I wondered. “I’m using the Tools. I’m working the Steps. What’s wrong?”
With God’s help, I got through that day. Here’s what I learned.
Prior to that day, I honestly thought I remembered the pain I experienced pre-OA. But my memory had lapsed. I realized again that before OA, every day had been like that one recent day. Every day I was driven to compulsive overeating, except without the Tools or support of other members. I didn’t have good and bad days; I had terribly painful days all the time.
Now I can thank God for that daylong reminder that I have a disease that is in remission, not cured. I am grateful to have been reminded how good abstinence is and to have been given a way of life to avoid the pain caused by compulsive overeating. Today, when I get tired of meetings, tired of reading OA literature, tired of working the Steps, and just plain tired of not being normal, I remember that fateful day and thank my Higher Power for the life I now have.
— Lifeline, November 1988