When I finally surrendered after seven years in the programme, my life was a mess, my mind was a disaster zone and I had no peace. One day in my misery, I rang an old-timer in the programme. She asked, “What have you done today for another addictive eater?”
I didn’t have an answer for her. At that stage I was physically unwell, could barely work and didn’t feel like I could be of use to anyone. But I held on to her words because I thought that if I did, I might stay sober for that day.
My attitude towards service transformed
Until then, I saw service as doing the fellowship a favour. Instead, I began to see it as something that was keeping me alive. I became grateful for any service opportunity.
I threw myself into carrying the message in my community. We only had a small group where I lived, but we worked together to hold a public meeting. We sent hundreds of letters out to doctors, counsellors and dieticians. We put up flyers and wrote a press release, which we sent to local newspapers. Several members were interviewed and an article appeared in a local community newspaper.
I knew that it was our job to sow the seeds
The public meeting took place. I don’t remember how many members of the public came but I knew that it was our job to sow the seeds and the results were up to God.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. After the meeting, the same article appeared in another community newspaper that was circulated in an area about an hour and a half away from my home. We had two calls from people wanting to hear more about the programme. I was the only member available to do a twelve step call at a time that suited them.
I was still physically weak from the damage I had done through my eating. I didn’t know if I had the strength to drive there, do the two calls (which were some distance apart) and drive back by myself. My husband was overseas and there was no choice but to go by myself.
I was given what I needed. That evening I got home very tired and sat out on my deck in the afternoon sun. In that moment, I felt that everything in the world was OK. There was no fear and no worry. So that was what peace felt like! I couldn’t remember ever experiencing it before.
I still get plenty of opportunities for service
My service positions always test me to the limits of my ability, but I get huge rewards from doing them. I now laugh to myself when I am finding a service job hard, because it will get easier with time. And right before it’s time to hand it on to the next person, it will be a breeze! I now see that my Higher Power uses service to help me to let go of my old ideas of what I can and can’t do and to grow.
The whole programme boils down to two words, love and service
Recently I was wondering whether to change my career path. I got on my knees and asked God as I understand God for an opportunity to use my strengths to do the maximum good in the world. The answer came straight back – “You already are”. I am now clear that service is the place where God can best use me, because through it I get completely out of the way. Dr Bob said that the whole programme boils down to two words, love and service. Service is my primary purpose. However, the benefits carry over into my personal life, where I am able to be of greater use in my family, my job and the world.