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Worth Knowing

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I came into OA in the middle of 2008. At the time I weighed just over 80 kilograms (176 lbs) and was on the way up. It was the most I had ever weighed. I believed I was going to end up obese, and I didn’t care. From the age of 15, I had been experimenting with diet pills, never sticking to the appropriate guidelines and always over- or under-eating while using. I would take diet pills, not eat, get behind the wheel of a car, and have my blood pressure drop so low I had to try to stay conscious in order to make it to my destination. I felt completely unfit, not worthy enough to spend time, effort, or money on. I never even bought clothes for myself and either wore hand-me-downs or had my sister buy them on my behalf. I made critical life decisions from a base of fear and low self-esteem, and no matter what I did, I never felt good enough or whole enough.

The last straw for me came when I moved to another city, thinking life would miraculously get better. But then I realized I took myself with me. Everyone was so proud of my accomplishments of getting a new job and apartment, yet all I felt was fat, unworthy, and fraudulent.

I knew with absolute certainty that although I wasn’t yet obese, I would certainly die from obesity. I binged with the intention of becoming bulimic, but I was hopeless—I couldn’t bring myself to throw up. In absolute desperation I forced myself to swallow washing powder to rid myself of the binge, but it didn’t work. I went to bed at 3 a.m. and was not sure whether I would wake up.

That was in June 2008. I am happy to say I joined OA shortly afterward, and in October that year, I became abstinent. I maintain my body weight between 59 and 62 kilograms (130 and 137 lbs) and fit into South African size 10 clothing. I continue to submit a food plan and avoid my bottom-line foods, including sugar. I am honest with my sponsor and myself about what, where, and how much I am eating.

Today, while I’m by no means perfect, I honor myself. I wear nice clothes that I have purchased; I live in a home I am proud of; and I eat food I enjoy that is good for me. I recognize the good in my life and live in gratitude to my Higher Power for these blessings. Most important, I continue my weekly meetings and my involvement with the Fellowship of OA to the best of my ability.

People often question me, saying that since I am now thin, healthy, and successful, surely it’s time to give up OA? But the beauty of the program is that as much as I need the Fellowship, I am a worthy member and the Fellowship needs me as well.

— Lara S., South Africa

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