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Attractive Basics

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The first OA meeting I attended had all the elements of a strong meeting, and it still does seventeen years later. I continue to attend the Saturday morning Back to Basics meeting in Oakland, California, with about forty other compulsive eaters.

We study one Step and its corresponding Tradition for an entire month, and each week, we read from OA-approved literature or hear a speaker. The readings and sharing never get old for me, even after all these years; my understanding of the Steps and Traditions only gets deeper. The Traditions provide a strong foundation for the health of our meeting, and we’ve completed a group inventory. It’s not difficult to fill service positions; we hold our monthly business meeting before the regular meeting ends, so attendance is strong and discussion is lively. We sell literature, we hold a newcomer orientation before every meeting, and we offer child-friendly service as well.

At my first meeting, I was amazed to hear that members had lost their excess weight and not gained it back. I heard they were living with the trials and tribulations of life without eating over their emotions or hardships. They had what I’d wanted all my life.

The woman who would become my sponsor greeted me at that first meeting, along with others. She greeted me at subsequent meetings, too, and encouraged me to buy and read literature and attend newcomer meetings every Tuesday night.

I was 48 and weighed nearly 190 pounds (86 kg). I had dieted successfully many times since I was 15, but I couldn’t keep the weight off. Reaching a healthy body weight and buying beautiful clothes was exciting and satisfying, but when the weight I lost crept back on, plus extra, it was demoralizing.

I decided to try OA because I believed the inevitable demoralization after my next diet would lead me to suicidal behavior. I was desperate. I was unhappy with my life and didn’t know how to change it.

My weight now is 136 pounds (62 kg). OA gave me the tools to lose 50 pounds (23 kg) and keep it off these last seventeen years, and OA gave me the Steps to change my life.

I used to live only a short drive away from my meeting, but I’ve moved three times since then—ever farther away. Still, I keep attending my Back to Basics meeting: it is the cornerstone of my recovery. And, I have the privilege and joy of witnessing the recovery of many other compulsive overeaters. What a glorious reason to keep coming back!

— April H., Berkeley, California USA

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