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Birthday Share

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As I celebrate my twentieth birthday of abstinent recovery in OA, I am filled with gratitude, joy, and hope. Prior to February 14, 1996, these incredible gifts were in short supply as I navigated through life, bingeing and depressed, depressed and bingeing. For decades, I expended endless amounts of energy keeping up appearances and maintaining my dirty little facade. I was a compulsive user and abuser of food.

My life changed dramatically that February when I attended my very first Overeaters Anonymous meeting and the Monday Night Newcomers group welcomed me “home.” I learned that my relentless, abnormal, and confounding thoughts and food behaviors had a name. More significantly, I was introduced to a simple (but not easy) solution: Twelve Steps, a number of Tools, and a group to guide and support me. The speaker that night shared about the Tool of sponsorship, a topic that would soon impact me in a most significant way.

A week later, after falling off the wagon once again, the importance of getting a sponsor resonated. I called up a person listed in my Newcomer Packet. It seemed we had little in common. I was 46, married, a mother of two. She was 29 and single—an attorney. But she had made an impression on me at that first meeting. She had that proverbial “what I wanted.” She helped me cultivate and maintain a strong program of abstinent recovery.

As I reflect on these last twenty years, I find it most important to share my OA birthday with all of you. After all, this OA program is all about relationships; when one of us takes a step forward, we pull the entire group forward, and the “we” principle strikes a resounding chord. Whether it is the “we” of me plus my Higher Power, or me plus a sponsor or sponsee, or me plus the Fellowship, we continue to be bound not only by our weakness but also by our shared connections. As the Big Book says, “Without help it is too much for us” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 59), and therein we find our strength.

This “we” principle and God and all the Principles of this spiritual program have catapulted me to the place I find myself today. Thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart.

—Edited and reprinted from OA Today newsletter, St. Louis Bi-State Area Intergroup, April 2016

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