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Now I’m Learning

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I came into OA four years ago already knowing that the Twelve Steps work. I am a recovering alcoholic and addict, and not drinking or using drugs was my justification for bingeing for a long time.

The best thing about recovery is you get your feelings back; and the worst thing about recovery is you get your feelings back. So while I was in a treatment center for drugs and alcohol, my “forgotten” bulimia returned. Bingeing and purging made my eyes bloodshot and swollen, so I lied to my peers and said I was crying about my ex-boyfriend.

When I moved into my own place, I told myself I wouldn’t binge anymore and would buy none of the foods I had binged on in the past. I had no junk foods in my cupboards, but I still ate whole boxes of low fat, low calorie, and diet foods.

When I was alcoholic and homeless, I’d wish for a warm, dry room with a television. But when I got one, I couldn’t enjoy it because I spent the whole time bingeing and purging, thinking about food, planning what I would or would not eat, and calculating calories. Like an alcoholic drinking just one drink, I ate trigger foods but was careful not to exceed my calorie allowance. I walked for miles before or after a binge to offset the calories.

When my mom baked me a cake, I ate it and threw it up all in one night. When my parents came by a few days later for tea and cake, I said I gave it away to friends who didn’t have a cake. How wonderful I was for thinking of others like that!

My head was constantly fighting a very loud, terrifying, and exhausting battle. Shame, guilt, dishonesty, and feeling like a fraud finally drove me into OA. I didn’t get abstinent from my first OA meeting, but I thought I knew all about recovery. Hadn’t I been sober and clean for two years? It was a frightening day when I found myself lying on my bed in the middle of the afternoon, fully clothed, semi-conscious, and drunk from a food binge.

I belong in OA, but sometimes my head will scoff at things I hear in meetings and say they don’t apply to me. After the meeting, I’ll feel or do the very same things that I scoffed at.

My journey in OA started with me jumping in the deep end and nearly drowning, but I’ve been dragged to the shallow end where I can watch and learn from others. I began by thrashing frantically to stay afloat, but now I’m learning to swim and have some fun.

Regular meetings, a sponsor, the Twelve Steps, service, and fellows who share their experience, strength, and hope make me better. Thank you, God, for this simple program of recovery and all that it brings to my life. I would be dead without it.

— Anonymous

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