First, I had to get past the mourning stage. I arrived at OA grieving the loss of my best friend, lover, and confidante—my go-to for any emotional relationship. Compulsive overeating had replaced many important relationships in my life, leaving me in a turbulent, one-sided, love-hate situation. OA was gentle in guiding me to a healthier state of mind, putting food into the category of “fuel” and encouraging me to turn over my food-dependence so I could investigate the deeper spiritual journey awaiting an abstinent woman in her 50s.

After the seriousness of being under the disease’s influence, I found myself really opening to a lighter sense of self. Spiritually, I lost a ton of weight when I stopped making a week’s worth of groceries my higher power. I found my higher self, full of light, and the light filled my chest area with a peppermint-tingly feeling that spread to my heart. The light made room for the absolute pleasure of listening to birds singing in trees outside my window, and it gave me a genuine smile, born of that sense of freedom from compulsive overeating.

Life started to hum around me, and I laughed at the sheer pleasure of watching an orange sunset over the golden waters of Narragansett Bay. Plenty of opportunities for genuine laughter have arisen, but no longer do I laugh at the expense of others. I stopped acknowledging jokes that had a cruel bend, and now I no longer hear any.

“We aren’t a glum lot” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th. ed., p.132). Joy, happiness, humor, and laughter come in recovery. Real life, lived in this moment and in this day, is enough.

— Nancy E., Warren, Rhode Island USA

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