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Together We Get Better

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When I walked through the doors of my first OA meeting I was skeptical, anxious, and ashamed. I circled the room awkwardly, found a seat, and plastered a fake smile on my face. I felt resigned that I’d finally hit such a low bottom and this was the last hope for me. But I thought that if I just tried this, they’d give me the diet and I could follow it (like so many diets I’d followed before), and by some magic, I would be cured this time, and I’d never have to come back.

At first, the love in that room seemed smothering. I was not accustomed to loving myself, and was very uncomfortable with having other people love me. I felt so flawed, so weak, so ugly, so utterly useless. I wondered what was in it for the people who took my number and called or messaged me during that first week. Was this some crazy cult? What had I gotten myself into?

The truth is, the people in that room loved me until I could love myself. They welcomed me with open arms and provided a kind and generous ear whenever I needed to share or talk or cry. Through that first room I was able to find a sponsor and start working the first three Steps. The fellows in that room introduced me to my Higher Power, who had been with me all along. They helped me find courage to ask for the help I needed so I could let go of all the anxiety of the past.

In “Our Invitation to You” it says, “It is weakness, not strength, that binds us to each other and to a higher power” (Overeaters Anonymous, Third Edition, p. 4). I think of that today when I remember my experience of my first meeting. The reason this program works is because we all are weak. We all have had our lives ravaged by this same disease, and we know intimately the painful reality of compulsive overeating in a way very few others do. But we also know that through the Steps, the Fellowship, and the Tools of the program, our Higher Power can do for us something we could never do for ourselves—and it is together we get better.

— Anne W.

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