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Virtual Family

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Attending meetings, listening, and sharing struggles is a program requirement that works for my recovery.

Undeniably, however, I am an introverted person. I have always been uncomfortable in groups in which I do not play a clear role as a provider of service. I had a vital role to play at work each day for forty-two years. Service is in my blood, so I was comfortable imparting my expertise to both small and large groups because there was a service need that I was able to address. However, casual before- or after-work activities, chitchat, lunches with colleagues, cocktail parties, or group games, such as trust-building scenarios, were terrifying and extremely exhausting and uncomfortable experiences for me.

Overeating while alone was my drug of choice to calm myself down. I worked for a long time and was very successful at everything except for my food management. No one guessed my insecurities. I am very good at stealth eating and hiding my emotions.

I don’t really want to be more socially inclined. I’m happy as an introvert. That’s not an illness. It’s who I am. However, I need our OA family.

Thank God a virtual OA structure was developed before I figured out that I need OA to live my best life. There is no way that I can attend face-to-face meetings. I could drive there but never get out of my car. If OA asked me to speak about a topic in which I excelled and I had something that I agreed would be meaningful to contribute, then I could attend. But that is not our culture. So, I searched online, and virtual OA fell right into view. And it is organized: I can contribute anonymously, I can contribute financially, I can order resources, and I can offer service at various levels.

I am already experiencing so much relief and support. I hope I can offer the same to other introverted folks like myself. One day, if asked, I plan to offer service beyond the group level. When I feel I can offer services that I am confident in, I can be very effective—I have that tireless work ethic that folks of my generation inherited. Boundaries are an issue, but I am improving on making sure I have time for self. I look forward to growing in our online program.

Thank you for reaching out to me, an “invisible” compulsive overeater.

— Anonymous

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