Isolation and hope stand out to me today, in part because of the Voices of Recovery reading on isolation and fellowship (p. 191) and in part because eight years ago today I surrendered my food to my Higher Power. Today I carry a message of hope as I enjoy a life vastly beyond my wildest dreams.

One reason I come to face-to-face meetings is to get hugs. Prior to OA, I was isolated in my head, with my emotions, and in my body. I had no idea how starved my skin was for affection. Today, I know that I need hugs for my physical nourishment. Through working all Twelve Steps in order, I have had ongoing spiritual awakenings. As a result, I have had a change in my consciousness—in my thinking. I no longer believe in separation. Spiritually, we are all one. This awareness frees me from emotional triggers and allows me to embrace the divine in everyone and everything. Yet because I am here on earth and in human form, the Twelfth Step encourages me to keep practicing. No matter where I go, there I am. Before recovery, I was always trying to run away from myself (though I did not recognize my “geographic cures” as such). Today, because of the Fellowship of OA, I am home within these rooms, within my Higher Power’s loving care, and within myself.

As was said at my first OA meeting, “Welcome to OA; welcome home!”

— Atiya M., Raleigh, North Carolina USA

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