Editors note: Below are two world service contributions from OA members in support of our Strategic Plan.

When I first came to OA in 2005 at 275 pounds (125 kg), I thought I had the God thing down. Others might have trouble with the concept, but I had spent years studying theology, was working as a religious professional, and was a regular churchgoer. I was so confident in my preexisting relationship with God that I only sort of did Step One (I was too cocky to admit that my life was unmanageable). To the extent I was able to admit I was powerless over food, I was blessed with abstinence and lost weight. But I hit a plateau when I wasn’t willing to surrender any further. So I went out and did more research, convinced I could figure out a solution that would work for me.

When I came back four years later, I was over 300 pounds (136 kg) and finally willing to admit that, for all my theological expertise, I was incapable of managing my own life. Step Two felt like a major revelation, as I recognized that God really could do for me what I could not do for myself. My relationship with God changed and deepened as I took Step Three and surrendered my will and my life to God’s care. Now, it is my responsibility to stay in fit spiritual condition so I can hear that still, small voice guiding me to do the next right thing.

When I trust and act on that guidance, I am doing God’s will as I understand it.


When I first came to OA in 1987 at 254 pounds (115 kg), I wasn’t ready to believe in a Power greater than myself. I didn’t understand what it meant to have a God as I understood him. As an atheist, I had a very closed mind about the concepts of powerlessness and a Higher Power. My view of God was limited to what I thought I knew from popular culture (TV, movies, and books). Without the help of a sponsor or working the Steps, I did manage to pick up a food plan and get to a healthy body weight, but eventually, what I perceived as almost-constant “God talk” chased me out of the rooms.

When I came back fifteen years later at over 300 pounds (136 kg), I was desperate. I still didn’t believe in God, but I was willing to get a sponsor and take what I wanted and leave the rest. In time, I came to understand that I didn’t have to subscribe to anyone else’s concept of God. Through working Step Two with a sponsor, I developed a concept of God that fit my atheist worldview. My God is internal. He is not the creator of the universe. I believe the guidance I receive when I am quiet and listening is given by that part of me that is free of fear and judgement.

When I trust and act on that guidance, I am doing God’s will as I understand it.

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