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Other People’s Programs

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I entered OA in the fall of 2008, miserable, steeped in my addiction, and knowing there was nothing I could do about it. At my first meeting, I was convinced OA was not going to work, but I was wrong about that. It did work, and I have been abstinent since 2010. As a consequence of my abstinence, my body shed about 125 pounds (57 kg), and I have not found it necessary to regain them.

I do not concern myself with weight loss. For me, trying to lose weight is as much a prison of addiction as compulsive eating. I cannot entertain thoughts or desires regarding weight loss, because it always leads to insanity, misery, and eventual relapse. I need no further research on this. It is the nature of my disease.

There are many OA members, however, who do not subscribe to this approach. They keep weight loss as a major goal of their recovery. They share in meetings and from the podium about weight loss accomplishments, such as achieving a goal weight. I struggled for years, endlessly frustrated by all this focus on weight loss, which I regarded as unhealthy; I felt that people talking about it were still ascribing to a diet mentality.

Over time, though, I have come to understand there might be another explanation. It is possible that not everyone struggles with their disease in just the same way I do. Trying to lose weight might not always be the train to Crazyville that it is for me. After all, I am able to stay abstinent without the strict food plan others seem to need.

If their diseases were identical to mine, it probably would be a mistake or an unhealthy act for them to focus on weight loss, but other people are different from me. I learned to apply the suggestion “Take what you like and leave the rest” to this issue and put down my narrow judgment. There is freedom is letting people work their program their way, even within the privacy of my own thoughts.

I am grateful. The longer I stay in recovery, the more serene I seem to become. I can shift my perspective, see things in new ways, and let go of the idea that my opinions and feelings are true for everyone.

—Joy C., Denton, Texas USA

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