From the Big Book


Promise Five

Dear Friends in Recovery,

Dawn continues her Promises series from the Big Book with Promise Number Five.

"No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we
will see how our experience can benefit others."

This promise is sort of a double entendre'. When I first heard Promise Five I was well on my way to losing 100 pounds. So I thought going far down on the scale meant that those of us who have been given the gift of the release of a lot of weight would know that by doing that we could bring our experience to others. But that's not what Promise Five is all about. I learned that weight loss is only part of the program that I love so much in Overeaters Anonymous. And Promise Five is really talking about no matter how close we come to the bottom in our disease ... no matter how bad our lives have gotten ... no matter how dismal this long tunnel we have found ourselves in seems .... we can still bring our experience to those who suffer.

Our successes can teach .... but our failures can also. And it is this Fifth Promise that Dawn will tell us about now ... and no matter how far down we are or have been ... we ALL have something we can offer another as we carry the message to our fellow compulsive overeaters.

Dear Friends,

The Fifth Promise is: "No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others." This is one of the wonders of the OA program - sharing our experience, strength and hope with each other. I heard someone comment the other day that her husband said it was like the blind leading the blind. Who better to help us than those who
have tread the same paths? Our combined ESH is amazingly powerful.

When I went to my first meeting in OA, I cried almost the whole meeting through. I was amazed that there were others like me. And even more amazing was the fact that they had found a solution. I'm not sure exactly what the tears meant, but I think they were tears of relief - of having found a long lost family. I was not alone any more. Before that first meeting I thought that I was the only one who had this problem with food. I felt that no one in the world would ever want to help me - I was entirely on my own. I felt worthless. The women there in that meeting understood my feelings of worthlessness. They understood my tears.

All my life people had been telling me to lose weight. My mother said that I didn't HAVE to eat all the treats she would leave around the house. She didn't understand that I just could not walk past that plate and not take any of the food off of it. I simply couldn't do it. The doctor who
handed me a diet sheet and a prescription for pills didn't understand either. The only people who could understand were the ones there in that room and others like them. They had been there. They had suffered the same humiliations and the same self-loathing. And they were offering me a solution! A real solution!! They understood my tears and didn't just tell me to "stop that silly crying." They offered their love and acceptance. They loved me until I could love myself.

They shared their experiences with working the steps, practical information about how to stay abstinent, and their spirituality. They shared my triumphs as well as my failures. They supported me then and they still do.

We understand each others' pain. Every time one of us shares it helps others. Old timers are reminded by the newcomers about things we had forgotten. The old-timers have paved the way for the newcomers and can offer their experience with parts of the program. My first sponsor was one of the Old-timers. She gave me so many bits of wisdom over the years!! She understood me better than any other person had ever understood me.

There are those of us who have suffered terrible pain in the past. There has been sexual, verbal and physical abuse in many of our pasts. There have been bad marriages, lost children, lost pregnancies, promiscuous behavior, and feelings of abandonment. I have not experienced all of
these, but I have experienced some of them. I have become wiser through working the program and can identify with those who are struggling with the same things I suffered. We can each offer our own wisdom that has been gained through our own personal suffering. That makes it worth having suffered - helping others.


Thank you, Dawn. You have told us that "we are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness." You shared that "we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it." We learned that "we would comprehend the word serenity." You shared the promise that "we would know peace" and today's promise "No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others." I can hardly wait to read what you have to say when you give us Promise Six which says "That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear."

@ -}-}-}---
Love in recovery ~

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We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity.
And we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain insight in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook will change.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.