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The Benefits of Aging

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In October I celebrated my 80th birthday, and in November I celebrated my fifteenth anniversary in OA. For me, it was a time of reflection and celebration. At my birthday party, I looked around and saw my husband, five children, twentythree grandchildren, and twelve greatgrandchildren. Six close friends were there as well, and I was happy and grateful to feel loved, respected, and wanted.

I came into OA weighing over 101 kilograms (222 lbs) and after enduring a long depression following the death of our oldest son at age 39. I cried and I ate, and that was my life.

In OA, I quickly lost 35 kg (77 lbs), and Step work cleared my depression. It gave me the ability to thank my HP for the thirty-nine years we had with our son. I have continued to lose weight and have not regained even 1 kg (2 lbs).

Physical changes in my body and my health have had a big impact on my program. The problem with aging is the many changes and chronic conditions that begin to pile up and never go away. My list of diagnoses is growing, but our motto at home is LWI: Live With It. With those changes have come limits to my mobility, and the strenuous exercises I once did with gusto are no longer possible.

I have shrunk 3 inches (8 cm) in height due to spinal changes, so my body mass index is indicating obesity again. Losing weight is more difficult when mobility is limited, but I am so grateful for all I can still do because it keeps me emotionally stable. I volunteer, take part in family events, read, and give service in OA.

At home, we say that aging is not for sissies. The physical changes could make me despair, but I don’t. I use the OA Tools to prevent that. Now, I can deal with loss and pain and overcome the changes in my life without overeating.

I once was a pessimist, but OA helped me become an optimist. With the help of my HP, I will cope with the changes that are coming. I am not sure whether it was OA alone, my HP alone, or my advanced years that brought me a serenity I never anticipated. Perhaps all three did that.

My spirituality is undaunted by all that has happened to me. I treasure every day, and I feel a contentment I never had when I was using food for comfort. So I add abstinence to my list of the benefits of aging. I’m looking forward to an abstinent party on my 100th birthday.

Bless you all and bless the OA program!

— Rita, Israel

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