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My Providential Blurt

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As I sat across from my doctor and focused on entering my next appointment into my phone, another part of my mind took over my tongue.

“I’ve been gaining weight since I moved here last year. Can you give me some advice?”

For several months I’d been dithering about asking her for help. Now I felt shock—and immediate relief. She asked how I had been managing my eating. I kept tapping at my phone, afraid to look up. Providentially, that unfiltered part of my brain took over again.

“I’ve never been able to manage my eating.”

I was more shocked that I let that slip, because I always weighed and considered every word, every gesture, to keep my façade intact, even if everything inside me was completely unmanageable. Without hesitation she said I should look into Overeaters Anonymous. She told me OA could help with unmanageable urges around food, and I could find a local meeting on the OA website. Then she warned me that the members may be morbidly obese, and I might have a hard time connecting with them.

“But it’s the right place for you,” she said.

I left her office vaguely ashamed for blurting out my inability to manage a simple thing like eating. And what would I do if all the members were morbidly obese? How could they help me if they were unable to take care of themselves or if the program was such a failure for them? But I knew I had to look into OA. My alternative was a miserable decline, slowly drowning in my body.

It took me a couple of weeks to work up the courage to look at the website. I found a meeting and put it in my schedule. It was a week and a half away. That gave me time to get used to the idea. The afternoon of the meeting, I phoned the meeting contact to ask if they were still meeting that night. It was December 23, and I half hoped they would cancel because it was too close to a holiday. I didn’t hear back, and even though I felt high strung and panicky about it, my stubbornness helped me decide to go anyway.

I arrived and walked in to a warm welcome from the key holder. Some of my nerves subsided. The members were kind and welcoming, and they represented many sizes and body shapes. This group read Step One whenever a newcomer arrived, and that night I read my own life on those pages. I felt hope flicker as members shared their stories of recovery through working the Steps.

Clutching the Newcomer Packet, I felt real hope for the first time in over a year. There was an alternative to the dead-end future I was heading for, and I could have it if I kept coming back. I found Overeaters Anonymous. I found home.

— Liz W.

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