Reel Comedy

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“Come on in! We’ve been waiting for you!” That’s what I heard as I walked through the doors of an OA meeting in 2015. Two ladies were sitting in the meeting room, both long timers. One of them had moved to our small coastal town a year ago, found no OA meetings, and decided to start one.

I struggled to link the language of the program to my life, but one day I got it. I found I am compulsive (driven to eat nonstop) and an overeater (voracious). But most of all, I found I was insane. I was powerless over the chaos in my head, the never-ending self-talk.

I developed a prayer for myself: “Help me, help me, help me.” It was the best I could do. One evening, I glanced at the clock and realized I had not thought of food for five minutes. Such a small and simple thing—five minutes.

Some months later, the ladies invited me to a movie. I’d been wearing sweatpants and muumuus for many years, but for a movie, I wanted to dress up a little. All during the sweatpants years, I’d had on my closet floor a box of jeans, all sizes of jeans—jeans I couldn’t wear and jeans I might wear someday and jeans I needed to save for future days, just in case. I put some on.

At the theater, we got our tickets and found big seats in the back row. It was getting close to showtime, and I was worrying about walking in front of a whole row of people just to get to the ladies’ room. But I had to go.

I hurried to the ladies’ room and got into the big stall. I’d barely touched the waistband of my jeans when they fell off! They were down around my ankles before I knew what was happening. Clothes never fell off my body before! I laughed so hard I peed.

I was still laughing when I reached down to pull up those too-big jeans. My elbow knocked the roll of toilet paper out of its niche, and it unrolled itself gleefully through three adjacent stalls. The garbage was full, so I just balled up the whole roll and put it in my purse. Immediately, I knew my purse looked as if it was stuffed with food.

I had to rush to get back into the theater. The lights were out, and music was already playing. I had to shuffle past thirty legs in the dark, holding up my jeans and carrying a purse that looked like it was full of food. When I finally got back to my seat, our very vocal longtimer looked at my bulging bag and said, “Is your purse full of goodies?”

I am so grateful for my new beginnings. My mind is quiet and I am one year abstinent. Yesterday, a newcomer walked through our door.

— Carolyn I., Oregon USA

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