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Meeting on the Menu

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After a twelve-year absence from OA, I began to admit that I was back in food obsession and my crazy thinking about food was my only tool for handling life. Even though I was down a little from my all-time high weight of 212 pounds (96 kg), I was hovering just below 200 pounds (91 kg), well above a healthy body weight for me. By some miracle, I remembered how serene I’d felt when I’d been in OA, how effortless it had been to refrain from compulsive overeating. Still, I had doubts; I had become a very busy person. When would I fit in an OA meeting?

I checked an online meeting directory and found a noon-hour meeting three blocks from my office—a real gift from my Higher Power. That meeting, Mid-Day Serenity, has become a cornerstone of my recovery these past eight years. Sometimes the meeting is small—occasionally, in the early years, I was the only one there. But now we regularly have a dozen members. One week at a time, these OA fellows help me stay abstinent and maintain a 40-pound (18-kg) weight loss.

Last month, I arrived to the meeting on time (always a miracle!) and saw other members standing outside. Our door code wasn’t working. We took a group conscience and decided to move our meeting to a nearby restaurant. Someone was carrying sticky notes and a pen (another miracle), so we made a sign and off we went. Something simple, like carrying sticky notes, can make a big difference.

Our normal meeting format includes reading, writing, and meditation, followed by open sharing. Newcomers often comment on how wonderful it is to use so many Tools in a group meeting. At the restaurant, we pushed together tables, enough for everyone who came after seeing the sticky notes on the church door. We sat close and kept our voices low, thus practicing anonymity. Several people had Big Books with them, so we had access to literature. One member had Our Invitation to You on her phone, just in case it was ever needed, and today, it was. Thanks to her service, we were able to read it as we always did.

We modified our meeting format, using a spontaneous group conscience, and then we did reading and open sharing. To keep our integrity, since we were taking up restaurant space, members who could order food and still follow their food plan did so, and others ordered beverages. We took a Seventh Tradition—one member even had an envelope! Finally, we offered the opportunity for anyone to share their action plan, then ended on time.

Now, I am using the Tool of writing to capture the gifts of that meeting and remember the experience of how well we were provided for. I feel grateful that I’m once again part of OA, moving forward in life with others, not alone and suffering but together and thriving. It works when we work it, and on that day, we did! Thank you, Mid-Day Serenity! — Mary L., Seattle, Washington USA

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