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Closer When I Speak

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At my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting, I was scared, embarrassed, and nervous, and I felt very alone. Those same emotions made me into what I was that day: obese and unhealthy.

Eight people genuinely welcomed me. I didn’t understand the entire program (I still don’t), but I went home after that meeting and haven’t touched any sugar since. I learned I wasn’t alone and this isn’t a diet and that we are all sharing the same disease: we are addicted to food.

Everyone in the meeting talked about their Higher Power. I admit, at times I have been a non-believer. I’ve felt abandoned during difficulties, and when I could not understand what was happening in my life, I questioned God. If I didn’t see him, he didn’t exist, and during those times, I boycotted church.

When I began my OA program, I had to find my Higher Power and pray. It took me a while, but once I began to speak to God and ask him to help me, things began to change, including my way of thinking, my willpower, my attitude toward life in general, and my attitude toward food.

Now, I speak to God throughout the day and ask him for guidance and strength in life and with food. Desserts had been killing me—I’d been poisoning myself. Why hadn’t I asked for God’s help years ago? To non-believers, all I can say is that I feel my Higher Power is close. By praying to him, I find guidance through this journey. Before I go into the grocery store, I say a prayer to not crave bad food. When I mention this to my religious friends, they look at me like I’m crazy, but I know better, and I know God is with me.

I needed help, and I had been to every diet doctor in the New York City area and tried every diet. I now realize I don’t ever want to use the word “diet” again. It has been taken out of my vocabulary. We don’t turn to God for diets. I have a disease, so, of course, I turn to God, and he is there for me. I wish I could explain the new feeling (or lack of feeling) I now have toward food—food that had consumed me my entire life. Now, I put everything in God’s hands and thank him several times a day when I speak with him.

I truly feel that anyone who has problems with weight or cravings for sugar or flour should consider OA. After eight weeks, I’ve shed 23 pounds (10 kg). Even more important, OA has brought me closer to my Higher Power, and I could not be more grateful.

— Elizabeth E.

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