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Seeing the Path

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I’ve always been an introvert; God made me that way. I can still relate to others and can even be seen to enjoy folk’s company; however, this is only a mask I wear to protect my real self from intrusion into my preferred solitude. I know when this mask is in place, and it feels false and contrived to me, but it seems others are not aware of this.

Before I understood my introversion and need for solitude, I felt great suffering, and I drank, smoked, and overate to suppress my feelings.

I willingly went to Overeaters Anonymous after great results in another Twelve Step fellowship. But what happened at my first meeting in that fellowship took many years to happen in OA.

I felt comfortable in my first few OA meetings, but when I heard stories of eating and bulimic exercise, I took up vegetarianism, endurance swimming, and running. I tried to use these things to control my compulsive overeating, but it became worse. I kept coming back because I had nowhere else to go.

I reached a stage where I did not believe OA would work for me and even doubted those who said OA was working for them. There were times when I lost weight and stood up in meetings to claim I too was recovered. It was not so; for soon after, my weight went up to a new fat level.

I was experienced in working the Twelve Steps with proven success in other fellowships. I used the OA Tools of Recovery and read all the OA literature, but it seemed confused and in conflict with itself and the Big Book.

I read “Keep Coming Back: Rozanne’s Story” (Overeaters Anonymous, Third Edition, pp. 7–23) and saw she too suffered relapse. I read about her abandonment of her own design for the Twelve Steps, to replace God with doctors and dietitians and how, in effect, she surrendered to the Twelve Steps given in the Big Book. I found another Big Book study guide for compulsive overeaters very helpful.

In time, I saw that, just as I had to discern a God of my own understanding, I had to discern my own abstinence, my own plan of eating, and my own recovery based on God’s will for me, not by following someone else’s food plan.

Then the willingness came to do God’s will for me as I discerned that too.

Then recovery came.

I write to share what has and what has not worked for me. I do not expect others to follow what I did but to perhaps see the path to how I determined what to do for myself. This is how God has helped me.

Overeaters Anonymous did not tell me what to do. Overeaters Anonymous encouraged me to discern what to do.

— Geoffrey N., Australia

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