That sounds easy. Who wouldn’t want to turn over everything, especially all our troubles, to God? It sounded good to me. I already believed in God when I entered OA so there was no problem there. I thought it would be easy to turn my will and my life over to God. But I have found that it is harder than I thought. I have also learned that I was perfectly happy with whatever God ordained as long as it was what I wanted all along. When it wasn’t, I sometimes became angry at God. At other times, I became disappointed that He or She didn’t see things as I did. After all, I thought I knew better.
At first, I loved this step because it would relieve me of the need to be responsible for everything in my life, or so I thought. God would decide but in the meantime, I had to figure out what that was and that wasn’t so easy. However, if I listened hard enough, I could intuit what I thought God wanted.
But then, I hated this step because I found relinquishing control to be very difficult. I learned that I was a control freak, only happy when I was running everything. And when things were going my way. When for whatever reason, that was taken out of my hands, I became angry, disappointed and ready to give up. “Let go and let God” was something that was very hard for me to do. Yet, I would ask for the willingness to turn things over to God and live with it. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.
Over time, I got better at using this step. Letting go was never my strong suit and yet I tried to learn when it was time to just let things be. I had to learn to accept things and not always be trying to change them to be what I thought they should be.
In OA, I learned to identify the behaviors that led to my nighttime binges as well as the foods. With the latter, I also learned that when I eliminate one food, I could always substitute another. However, one of my character defects is a need to be perfect so I keep returning to foods that have always been problems to see if I can control those foods, even though I know I can’t. This is an area that I am still working on. I have tried to stop certain behaviors that inevitably lead to binges such as searching the kitchen cabinets or the refrigerator for I don’t know what. But I still sometimes take the box or the container out to the living room instead of putting a certain amount in a dish and eating only that. I sometimes think that I am my worst enemy. I call it sabotage.
But during my 10 years in OA, I have become a less willful person. I have become more accepting of life’s inevitable ups and downs. Often the Serenity Prayer has been my best friend. With the exception of a bad binge last November, I have been abstinent for several years. It is an imperfect abstinence but as we say in OA, it is progress, not perfection that we seek.
~Mary Ann F.
Published in Metro Memo – March 2015