Miracles of Recovery: Following Doctors’ Orders

OASV Blog Editor

September 15, 2023

Miracles of Recovery: Following Doctors’ Orders

A recent conversation with a fellow OA member had me thinking about the miracles of recovery in Overeaters Anonymous. One of those miracles enables us to follow doctors’ orders regarding changes to our food and action plans to support our health.

Even after 30 years of abstinence in OA, I still can resist making changes to my food and action plans. After I retired, my weight nudged up until I finally stopped “shaking off” my Higher Power’s signals, eliminated eating between meals, and increased my exercise. There’s a difference, though, between managing my food and activity to maintain a healthy body weight and hearing a doctor tell me I’m going to need an invasive treatment if I don’t follow dietary restrictions to manage a deadly disease. (That is not to say that obesity isn’t deadly).

One of the key indicators of addiction is the inability to stop doing something that we know will hurt us. Addiction doesn’t care about consequences; it wants what it wants when it wants it!

It strikes me that doctors are like those other people mentioned in the Big Book whose “frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices” (pp. xxviii). We likely all know people, possibly ourselves, who’ve been unable to follow a medically recommended food plan regardless of the known consequences. It is a miracle of recovery when we can eliminate certain foods to help our bodies respond to a weakness or a threat. Diabetic food plans require a fairly complicated balance of nutrients to slow the progress of the disease. Too much sodium is very dangerous to people with congestive heart failure and/or high blood pressure. Even certain fruits and vegetables pose a threat to people suffering from liver and kidney disorders. However, after finding recovery through the 12 steps of OA, it becomes not only possible, but fairly easy, to make necessary changes. For example, a friend shared the following experience.

“When I came to OA in the 1970s, the meeting scripts contained the phrase, ‘Action is the magic word.’ When I pray for God’s help, part of God’s answer is always, ‘What are you willing to do?’

I was recently diagnosed with with stage-5 kidney failure. The doctor said if I wanted to get well, I had to drink lots of water, stop following a popular food plan (which was helping me lose weight), and change to a low-potassium food plan. At first, the diagnosis and these changes frightened me. I thought a low-potassium food plan would be too difficult, and I would continue to jeopardize my health. However, as I have learned in OA, I admitted my powerlessness over this illness and, with God’s help, became willing to make the necessary changes, one day at a time.

It turns out that observing the changes has been fairly easy. I just added the dangerous (to me) foods to my red-light list. I want to get well and to avoid the extremely negative consequences of kidney disease. Being able to gratefully accept and adjust to these changes is just one of the many miracles I’ve experienced through practicing the steps and using the tools of the program.” (Rick V.)

A gentle disclaimer:

I am a recovering compulsive overeater with 30 years in OA. These comments are based on my personal experience, strength, and hope gained through working the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions and using the tools of the program. ~Julie T. 2023

Call for articles:

What’s your miracle in recovery? Please send your blog submissions to blog@oasv.org. We look forward to hearing from you and to sharing your story of experience, strength, and hope with others on this amazing journey of recovery from compulsive eating through the Twelve Steps and 12 Traditions of the Overeaters Anonymous program of recovery.