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OA Means Life

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All my life I’d been the skinny kid. My brothers and sisters nicknamed me “Stick” because I was so thin. I could eat anything and not gain weight. On my wedding day in 1991, I weighed 115 pounds (52 kg) and wore a size 5. During my first year of marriage, I gained 10 pounds (5 kg). Then I had two children, one in 1993 and one in 1995. After the birth of each child I was only 7 pounds (3 kg) above my pre-pregnancy weight—but I never lost that weight. My depression and anxiety began a few years after my second child was born, and I ate my way through their childhoods. Losing and gaining, losing and gaining, I finally reaching a top weight of 232 pounds (105 kg) in August 2013.

In the summer of 2014, after several months of working on food issues with my counselor, he suggested I attend an OA meeting. Immediately, my fear and anxiety levels soared, and I became defensive, stating that my weight problem wasn’t that bad. Each week he would ask if I had attended a meeting, and each week I came up with an excuse about why I hadn’t. Then came the evening when I binged on a box of ice cream sandwiches while my husband was out walking the dog. I was filled with self-loathing. I was hiding my bingeing from my husband, and I knew this behavior was never going to end despite health issues that were becoming insurmountable. With my counselor’s voice whispering in my head, I got off the couch and drove straight to an OA meeting.

The people at that first meeting were gentle, comforting, and accepting of me at a time when I only had hate for myself. Someone gave me a coin for coming to my first meeting. (Today, I cherish that coin and the person who gave it to me.) I admitted at my first meeting I’d only come at the insistence of my therapist, yet I couldn’t pretend anymore that I didn’t have issues with food. The following week, I told the group I was there not because my counselor insisted I come, but because I knew I belonged in the Fellowship. I was addicted to sugar, I was a compulsive overeater, and I couldn’t resolve this on my own.

During these past four months of being in OA, I have taken many baby steps forward in my journey. Many of them are small miracles. I am becoming abstinent, and the more days of abstinence I have, the more I want this gift of continued abstinence. My physical health has improved, my clothes fit better, and my knees don’t hurt as often. I have fewer migraines. If I eat something off-plan, I don’t overeat or binge on it.

Spiritually, I have grown closer to God and have truly learned to take one day at a time, giving my worries and concerns over to God. Life is so much easier when I don’t have to make all the decisions. I find joy in life, in other people, and in my meetings. I always feel better after meetings and after hanging out with OA people.

God is working in me to help me become a better person. The weight has not melted off as I thought it would, but I haven’t gained weight either. God will take the weight off in his time. Meanwhile, I keep working on my relationship with God, growing ever closer to him, and I keep working the program. For me, there’s no other choice. OA means life.

— Anonymous, Massachusetts USA

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