6 Months Abstinence & the Power of Service

I had my 6 month anniversary on November 4th.

It is quite surreal to me that I have been consistently binge free since May 4th.

It is also quite surreal to me that time since my 3 month anniversary has not been marked by intense cravings. If anything, the cravings have lessened, and my program has strengthened.

I attribute all of this to the steps and tools of Overeaters Anonymous. In particular, the tool of service and the 12th step and its associated principle of service.

In my recent readings, I have been struck (but unsurprised) how often service is integral to recovery and avoiding relapse. It is a thread through many stories in OA’s ‘brown book’s. It is also a thread through the stories in the Big Book.

Alcoholics and compulsive eaters find peace in spreading the message and offering hope and the solution of the 12 steps. I certainly have.

I gave a speech yesterday at IDEA day (International Day of Experience Abstinence). I was asked various questions about my program. I was nervous, so I don’t quite recall my answers, but I know most of them went something like:

“I wish I had a simple, concise answer. But I don’t. It’s working the steps. It’s using the tools.”

So, yes, my current abstinence is directly a result of the steps and tools. In particular, service has saved me many, many, many times.

Service through public information work, sponsoring, being sponsored, attending meetings, etc; all support my recovery in a profound way. I believe service is critical because:

  • It gets me out of my own head.
  • It stops my pity parties.
  • It puts my drama into perspective.
  • It gives me the warm fuzzies which help kill cravings.
  • It keeps me busy. Boredom (especially at night) leads to intense cravings for me.
  • It allows me to be the best version of myself (me as HP would have me be).
  • It frees me from confines of self.
  • Enables me to fulfill primary purpose of OA: to spread the message.
  • Enables me to fulfill OA’s responsibility pledge: “Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion. For this, I am responsible.”

Overall, I strongly believe my current abstinence is directly related to service. One day at a time, I do what HP directs me to do: take steps & use tools to protect abstinence; spread the message of recovery.


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