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Only Abstinence

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Food was my best friend for a long time. I had a troubled childhood, and excess food numbed the difficult emotions and gave me comfort. I managed to comfort myself up to 292 pounds (133 kg) by the time I was 26 years old, and I stayed close to that weight for five years. I tried every diet out there, and they all worked for a week or two, but life without excess food was unbearable. I lost and regained the same 25 pounds (11 kg) more times than I can count.

I’ve been in OA for two years now, down 75 pounds (34 kg) from my top weight. I still struggle with food sometimes. Occasionally, I get angry about the limitations I now have with food. I want to eat the goodies and sweets that make me feel like a happy little kid, but food cannot erase the pain of my past or heal my emotional wounds. The idea that food makes me feel better is an illusion, a lie.

The momentary pleasure of eating lasts until the food is gone, and then reality hits. Excess food is a traitor. The problems are still waiting for me. The excess food becomes more fat on my body. And I add shame and remorse to the list of emotions I must allow myself to feel.

I’ve learned that I am always worse off after a binge than I was before. Only abstinence gives me the ability to find recovery from the circumstances that led me to become a compulsive overeater in the first place. In moments of struggle, my best recourse is to pray and ask my Higher Power which of the Tools to use. After making a call, reading our literature, attending a meeting, or writing, I am usually able to stick to my plan of eating and get through the tough times.

I am so thankful for OA. It has completely changed my life.

— Melissa V., Tulsa, Oklahoma USA

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