For many years, I considered myself a believer, A Christian. I went through all kinds of motions: early morning prayer, off to church on Sunday, read and study the bible alone and with groups of people, I even left literature in the bathroom at the conservatory I attended. I was just eighteen years old and was subsequently called into the Dean’s office (I was delighted that they knew it was me as I was so vocal about my love for God!)
Since the age of 14, I had struggled with a binge disorder that included episodes of fasting, binging and bulimia, all at the same time that I was pulled into that Deans office for leaving literature in the bathroom. Why didn’t it dawn on me to bring this problem to God? In fact, I would live like that for another five years until I was twenty-two years old and the mother of two tiny people (age 2 years and 8 days old). I finally cried out to God, “Help me, I’m like an alcoholic only it’s the food! I can’t control this! Help me!” I wasn’t trying to be dramatic; I was alone, it was late morning, the children were napping and I was laying on my kitchen floor, face down and arms out stretched as if my kitchen windows were facing God! Why did I wait so long to bring the problem to God?
It was a day or two later that a friend called me on the phone and invited me to my first Overeaters Anonymous Meeting. I rolled up my sleeves and did all that I was asked to do, feeling sure that no matter what they asked of me, I would have done it. I lost weight and felt better but my thoughts were always swirling around food.
Fast forward thirty years, even with the group support in O.A., I had climbed over 100 pounds up in weight. Hadn’t I prayed? Wasn’t the phone call and OA the solution? But here I was, finally facing the problem again, years later. How did I get the problem back? It’s as if I dragged a prayer, a cinder block of a prayer, to the feet of God and then, when I finished explaining the prayer to Him, I took the cinder block with me when I left and decided to fix it myself. One day, I reached another bottom and dragged the cinder block back to God and carefully, backed away from it, determined to leave it there.
Was this a real surrender; a white hanky on a long stick in the wind? Was I going to say ‘Uncle’ finally? Yes!
I found a group of people who were reading the AA Big Book and they called them selves ‘recovered’. I started studying, determined to join them in their state of peace of mind. I found that the book addresses the question of faith. It speaks to the hearts and minds of Atheists and Agnostics, Jewish believers, Native Americans; people of all kinds of religion. This book challenges ‘the believer’ and non-believer to re-exam their faith by asking, ‘What do you believe?’
The AA Big Book has been saving the lives of men and women since 1939 when it was published. This ‘chip of a book’ (Pg. 153) has been the source of healing and direction for many people since it was first bound and printed. It seems to me, the book meets the need of any compulsive behavior; even smokers or nicotine anonymous use this book as their text. I believe this book can be applied to any addiction or compulsion! After reading and studying it for a little over two years, It has become clear to me that this book is God’s escape hatch!
Let me explain.
The Big Book confronted my ‘religiosity’!
“He will be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well…” (Pg. 93) My sponsor was ‘recovered’. She wasn’t religious.
“He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient. . . call his attention to the fact that however deep his faith and knowledge, he could not have applied it or he would not drink… (in my case, binge or struggle with food thoughts) (AA BB Pg.93)
So this book challenged me to take another look at my faith. It proposes that if I am struggling with any addiction, if I am obsessive about something, anything, (food, alcohol, cigarettes, computer games, the internet, work, drugs, coffee…) then am I in a relationship with that thing that I am thinking about non-stop or am I walking with God? Is it possible that something about my faith is wrong? Is my faith broken?
Ok, so my journey through the AA Big Book confronted my faith as a Christian! Is this any different from the way it confronts the Atheist or Agnostics belief system? I don’t think so. They appear to be as annoyed and offended as I was when my faith was put on trial. This book confronts every body’s faith! It forces the reader to look at a few key components of faith. It begs the question, ‘What do you believe?’