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Being Nourished

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This is my twenty-ninth year in OA and my twenty-sixth year in recovery, which for me means back-to-back abstinence and maintenance of a healthy body weight.

When I walked in the doors of OA in 1986 at the age of 30, the compulsion to binge was strong. I knew if I could eat well consistently, I would not have to continually obsess about my weight and size. I just couldn’t do it using my willpower alone. To people in the outside world, I looked normal, but they didn’t know the extremes I went to in order to control and conceal my eating. I was a severe binger-starver. Even pregnancy didn’t stop my insane eating behaviors.

At my very first meeting, I was relieved to hear that no one was going to hand me a diet and tell me I had to follow it. I was free to try to adhere to eating guidelines (something I had wanted even before OA), such as three meals a day with nothing in between, one day at a time.

My first two years were not free of bingeing and starving. At times, I had to cling for dear life to the tiniest bit of progress, lest I leave the rooms. That was hard for an overachiever. Daily contact with a sponsor was the key to helping me understand how God could help me and how to let God help.

Slowly working the Steps with my sponsor and really getting honest about my food is what enabled long-term recovery to happen. By the grace of God, I could stick to my 3-0-1 plan. Since I am an active person, my meals were quite large and included planned desserts.

But then I came to realize that I was using exercise as a means to control my weight. I had to give up this method of control, and to do this I knew I would need to amend the amount of food I was eating. I became willing to incrementally decrease the amounts. Going slowly and carefully was important to me. Sometimes letting go of the larger amounts was painful; other times it was a relief. I could only do it with the support of my sponsor and lots of prayer.

I have discovered that the longer I’m abstinent, the more in tune I am with the nutritional needs of my body. Giving up the scale and trusting God with my weight has been an incredible freedom. These days I intuitively know what foods to avoid, and I love the feeling of being nourished instead of just filled. In reality, the changes to my plan of eating have been small refinements. I still eat three meals a day and nothing in between, and I still have planned desserts.

By eating well I have maintained a 12-kilogram (26-lb) weight loss for twenty-six years. I love this sane way of eating that I could only find and maintain by following the Twelve Steps of OA.

— Anonymous

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