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Big Transformation

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“Hi, my name is Caroline, and I am a compulsive overeater”—I would not say this when I came into the rooms in 1999.

I found OA through another fellowship in which I was recovering and very active. I was fluctuating between 224 and 238 pounds (101–107 kg), so evidence of my addiction was clear to all, but not to me.

At the time, there were two weekly face-to-face meetings I could attend, but one of them studied the Big Book. The Big Book message was not what I wanted to hear or accept, so I tried the other meeting. To my dismay, they used the Big Book there as well. I hated the Big Book. I was not like an alcoholic; I had not wrought that sort of havoc in my family or in my life. How dare “they” think that—I was not an addict. My mind was closed, and so was the book!

I lasted nine months in OA with no abstinence and little recovery from my primary addiction. I went back out and ate some more.

Fast-forward to 2011. I had reached my bottom and walked back into the rooms at 280 pounds (127 kg). I was spiritually bankrupt and emotionally liquidated. I had no defense now against the knowledge that, yes, I too was an addict and my substance of choice was food. I achieved my first level of abstinence in 2012. This cleared the way for me to begin knowing and interacting with a Higher Power, and my soul began to heal. Thankfully, this meeting used OA literature, and I could identify. It helped me start accepting, engaging with, and understanding the Big Book. This time, the Big Book started to “talk” to me, and I could see myself in snatches of phrases and paragraphs.

I found my sponsor. Unfortunately (I had thought), she was a Big Book sponsor. Although I was skeptical it would work for me, we began the Steps using the Big Book. Her patience, understanding, and passion for the original message rubbed off. I began to recover.

I wasn’t a fan yet, but I began to tolerate and pay attention when we read the Big Book in my meeting. There was definitely a change in my thinking. Lots of notes began to appear in my copy. I came to see how my use of food mirrored that of an alcoholic with alcohol.

Skip to 2018. A relative newcomer who had just returned from a relapse mentioned a phone meeting that had podcasts of their meetings online. It was a Big Book meeting. Unexpectedly and amazingly, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous came alive for me through these recordings, and my program was transformed once more. I now follow the directions in the Big Book and practice these principles in all my affairs. Today, I am abstinent and recovered.

— Caroline P., United Kingdom

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