For half my life, I felt like some kind of awful, monstrous presence—peculiar, pessimistic, and pathetic. I had a dark secret that even I didn’t know about, and almost every action I took was viewed as negative. At home, I was a scapegoat, and at school, I was a crybaby; but wherever I was, I always felt like something from another planet. After years of therapy, including therapy for eating disorders, I finally had a breakdown after a series of losses. I recovered memories of sexual abuse and began to heal. I was referred to a psychoanalyst, and she told me about Overeaters Anonymous.

I went to my first meeting in 1988. At that time, I was self-hating, anxious, and severely depressed—I couldn’t find a good reason to keep breathing. Every day at work I’d go downstairs and get two treats. After a few OA meetings, I reduced the days and numbers of treats, and I lost weight rapidly. One day I tried rubbing dark marks off my face, only to discover they were the shadows of my cheekbones. Another day, I swore that the laundry had stretched out all my clothes.

After seventeen years in Overeaters Anonymous, the idea struck me: “I have a compulsion.” At that moment, I understood I was totally powerless over my urge to eat. All I could do was accept that fact.

That moment rejiggered my life.

I started going to more meetings, got a sponsor quickly, and began an avid working of the Steps. I took advantage of whatever was available to increase my awareness of my Higher Power: attending workshops, doing service, staying abstinent, speaking about my program, meditating, or writing. I must have read “acceptance is the answer” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 417) at least a hundred and fifty times by now!

Today, I am part of a couple with a person who makes me feel safe. I am comfortable being by myself or with others. I can be compassionate and open about who I am. I used to eat sweets to feel sweet; today, I am a kind and emotionally generous person. Many of my hard edges have disappeared, and some of my soft edges too because my body has let go of more than 30 pounds (14 kg). I can accept that I have limitations and also acknowledge my Higher Power-given strengths.

By clearing away emotional wreckage through this program, I have become much smarter. The brain space that was taken up with compulsive thoughts, food worries, and anxiety is now free to be used for new information. This has been the biggest change in my life—in who I am. I am a more rounded person because of this program. I get to be my best me every single day as I connect with my Higher Power.

—Sealani W., Berwyn Heights, Maryland USA

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