I have done many, many fourth steps since joining OA in 2014. I answered the OA 4th guide workbook questions, did the OA 12 Step Workshop forms as well as a Big Book approach with forms written by AA group I found online.
Last February, I found Lawrie’s workbook (oabigbook.info) and followed the instructions which all had a foundation of 100% abstinence while working the steps. Previously, I had eaten my way through the steps with all my 30, 60, 90 day binges.
Something shifted deeply when working the steps while abstinent. So I didn’t binge for 10 months.
Thus, when I assessed what to do after the Christmas Eve binge, I trusted the Big Book and Lawrie’s workbook since they worked so well (when I worked it).
So, here I am day six after letting go of artificial sweeteners and caffeine, nearly done with the forms with an appointment scheduled in a few hours to turn over step five.
I don’t want to discuss much of the mechanics or my response to rereading step 4 in both the Big Book and Lawrie’s workbook. Instead, I want to reflect on the benefits I received from working step 4 (even with the sporadic binges).
Each step 4 helped me get gradually more honest, more willing, more open minded about the disease, the steps, Higher Power and myself. While it would have been nice to never had a relapse, I know now that I needed each relapse to beat me more into surrender.
First, I didn’t want to give up alcohol. Then it was high fat food and pot. Now it is caffeine and artificial sweeteners. I pray that my abstinence is now the cleanest possible and I pray for the willingness to read labels, weigh and measure as well as abstain from my triggering food behaviors.
Looking back, I can see how I was lying to myself about the substances I wanted to keep in my life. At the time, I believed those lies and so was simply doing the best I could at the time.
So while it is obvious to me know that I have an abnormal relationship with those things, I was blind to it before beaten into surrender.
It takes what it takes. So as I look at my abstinence today, I hope and pray that I am not still holding on to something.
I also pray for the continued willingness, one day at a time, to work the steps with deadly urgency. Because I know that the next relapse may be the one I can’t come back from and then I eat myself to an early grave.
So just for today, in this moment, I seek the ability to be honest, open-minded and willing.