For years when I was drinking and overeating, my biggest fear about quitting was “What will I do with the time? What will I have left to make me happy?” I always came up short, unable to come up with something. I was so scared my life would be empty and boring without my addictions.
Would I go insane without my comforts?
When I quit drinking, food became my substitute. Instead of alcohol, I just doubled up on food. And there was some comfort in knowing that I had a back up vice to turn to. At least I had one comfort left.
But the food was killing me.
Ironic how the substance that is supposed to give us life was actually taking mine. And all because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to find happiness without it. I had to let my overeating go but how could I possibly find any joy in life without it? With food being my final vice, what would I substitute this addiction with?
Then came OA. And I discovered a permanent substitute for all my addictions. One that really worked and brought joy into my life. Real joy. Joy that would last longer than a drinking binge or a 2 hour meal. One that didn’t include hangovers, guilt or shame. It was the answer I had been seeking for all these years.
The substitute was the fellowship of brothers and sisters I found in OA.
I finally found my people in the rooms of OA. We are the same in so many ways. Finally I am not alone. We are all in this together. I am surrounded by an army of people who get it. And I can’t overstate how much comfort I find it that. For years, I tried to overcome my addictions alone. It felt overwhelming and impossible.
But there is strength in numbers. I have meetings I can go to so I can stay connected to people who care. I have people to call when I am having a hard time. I get to serve my fellows by picking up the phone and encouraging them when they need it. There is also a lot of hope in hearing another’s story of struggle. And also hearing the stories of those who have overcome their addictions.
If they can do it, so can I.
I am choosing community and connection over isolation and addiction. There is so much more joy on this side. The fellowship brings true joy and peace that I never was able to find in alcohol or food.
I finally found the substitute I have been searching for my whole life. This is what true happiness feels like.
Lost? Not sure where to go next?