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First Things

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When I entered Overeaters Anonymous, I simply wanted help to stop bingeing. I couldn’t stop no matter what I did, so walking into the rooms, I already knew I was powerless over food. What I didn’t know was that my compulsive eating was a symptom of a disease. I understand now that I have “a disease that affects the person on three levels—physical, spiritual, and emotional” (Overeaters Anonymous, Third Edition, p. 198).

I came in searching for a physical solution, but I learned that I also had to use the Tools and work the Steps to gain emotional and spiritual freedom. After three years in OA, I found solid abstinence and was maintaining a healthy body weight.

Then life happened, and I faced an emotional crisis. My entire life changed within two months—new job, new home, new relationships with a ready-made family. I didn’t attend many meetings during this time, but I kept in contact with my program friends. I used some of the Tools to hang on to my abstinence. I would say I survived this period in life, but I didn’t thrive.

Fast-forward another year and a half, and my life went through turmoil again with feelings of anger, loss, grief, and confusion. The first thing I did was start going back to meetings. I reached out to my support system of friends in and out of the Fellowship. And I wrote. Pages and pages of processing about the past, what happened, and where I was at in the present got me to where I was doing okay and making some emotional progress.

But what really propelled me through was working another set of Steps. It had been several years since my first set, and this time, the first three Steps were powerful in helping me realize anew that my Higher Power is good and trustworthy. Then I got to my Fourth Step and was able to really get to the deeper resentments, fears, and harms that fueled my current crisis and the intense emotions surrounding it. Sharing my Fifth Step with my sponsor and looking at my part in Steps Six and Seven helped keep me moving forward in healing from the trauma.

When the pain became so intense, I thought about eating; but I remembered that at the end of a binge, I would be left with two problems instead of one. So instead, I kept reminding myself a) to use every Tool possible and b) this crisis, though extremely difficult, was not worth losing my abstinence.

— Rachel A., Colorado Springs, Colorado USA

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