Editors note: Below are two world service contributions from OA members in support of our Strategic Plan.

My name is Heidi, and I’m a compulsive overeater—a short sentence, but one I could not say for many years. During my childhood, I was often alone because my parents worked full-time. My big sister did well in school, and my parents always talked about her as this great role model. I resented my sister, and I rebelled because I wanted to be different.

My sister lives in California and has been in OA for decades. About thirty years ago, I visited her, and she asked me to go to an OA meeting with her. It surprised me that people talked about problems other than weight. After the meeting, I had a lot to think about. I felt good, and I came to love the meetings.

After a few weeks, I went back to Germany. I searched for meetings in my town, but the meetings were very different. The people were very serious and more intense. I didn’t feel comfortable, and soon OA was history.

Two years ago, my sister came to visit me in Germany. Again, she asked me to go with her to a meeting. This time, I felt different. I acknowledged my compulsive eating. Now, I go to meetings, and I’m not fighting it anymore. I read OA literature and I use the other Tools of recovery. The people in my meetings are like family. I know I am on a good path— even though it took more than thirty years to find my way back.

My sister and I are very close now. We talk every week, mostly about program.

My name is Lynda, and I am a recovering compulsive overeater. June 11, 2017, was my three-year anniversary in OA. English is my primary language, but when I first came into program, I didn’t understand the OA lingo. I felt like an outsider and was resentful. I suffered from “terminal uniqueness,” the belief that any situation the “me” is facing is unlike anything faced by other people. This dominated my self-image. However, as I listened to other people share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences, my defenses somehow lowered. I began relating to and connecting with my fellows. When they said, “Keep coming back. It works if you work it, and you’re worth it!” I felt hopeful for the first time in years.

As I kept coming back to meetings, I gained an understanding of program language. I started to see people in program not just as a support system but as part of my OA recovery family. You, my fellows, became closer to me in many ways than many of my family and friends. I know I can call on my fellows in times of need, and you are there for me. It continues to amaze me how people so different can have the same weakness and can give each other strength and support. The program slogans that baffled me when I first came to OA now comfort and inspire me.

This is not an “I” program. When “I” is replaced by “we,” even illness becomes wellness.

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