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Good Times and Better

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Holidays are hard for me, period. Throw me in with a crazy family, awkward photos, and mounds of food, and I’m likely to stay stationed at the snack table.

It just so happens that my OA birthday is December 25. I will be four this year. I used to hate holidays, and I couldn’t see my family without stuffing my face and purging in some way. But throughout my recovery, each year has gotten better.

I always make sure I have a plan and someone to call in case I need a reality check. I no longer put myself in situations where I will be uncomfortable, and I never show up to any party starving. I have really gotten to know my relatives as I have become more present at family events. Sometimes I forget what I was so scared about in the first place.

Having my abstinence birthday on this date is triggering in and of itself. I can’t help but remember that final holiday before I stopped compulsively eating. It makes me that much more grateful I am no longer living that way—I’ve been able to make new memories. It hasn’t been perfect or easy, but I can say it has only gotten better.

— Natalie, Aliso Viejo, California USA

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