Opened Up

5 min read
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OA is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It has changed my life—irrevocably, I hope—since that day in 2002 when I, with my usual reservations, finally became willing to surrender to a sponsor. OA has healed me physically, emotionally, and most important to me, spiritually. According to my reading of program literature, spirituality is the crux of it all.

I’ve been in the rooms for a very long time. I found my way to my first meeting in the 1970s—don’t ask me how I found the program and that meeting, but I was determined to find something that would help with “this eating thing.” It took me thirty years to really surrender. I’m very hard-headed, and even at a very tender age, I didn’t have a lot of faith. Yet I never left the OA rooms. When the world outside got to be too much, I knew where the door would always be open, and I would find kindness and respite.

At my heaviest, I weighed about 160 pounds (73 kg), which was a lot for my 5-feet-4-inches-tall (162 cm) body. Today I weigh 120 pounds (54 kg). But as I’ve heard others share, “I’ve lost 80 pounds (36 kg) between my ears.” Before recovery, I was a sad, confused person in a lot of pain. To my credit, I did always think, “There’s got to be something better than this.” There was, and I found it in OA.

My “ignition key” was the act of surrendering to a sponsor and being willing to be accountable for what I put in my mouth. My Higher Power worked through me and healed the vicious obsession. My first full day of abstinence was February 6, 2003, and through Higher Power’s grace, my abstinence continues to this day.

Life has opened up as I’ve opened up to it. I am no longer the ingrown, silent person I once was. I enjoy contact with others; I’ve even found I like people. I’m present to friends and family, and I’m finding that I actually value family, which was never the case before. I’ve become willing to work on myself. The Twelve Steps have helped me more than any therapy, medications, or psychiatry. Work is better, and I’m exploring my creativity through writing and submitting stories and essays to online magazine contests. One of the best program gifts has been learning that I can actually help others. I’ve got a long, dark past, and as the Big Book says, that’s an asset: “No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 84). My past enables me to empathize with and support others inside the rooms and out.

My life has done a 360-degree turnaround. I owe it to OA, which has saved my life and the lives of countless others. — Christina R.

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