I first went to an OA meeting in February 1990, when a student of mine took me with her. It wasn’t an easy thing for her, admitting to her teacher that she had an addiction. Her courage taught me a lot.

I couldn’t believe the First Step before I first took it—that I was powerless over food and my life was unmanageable. Here I was, a competent professional woman, and my life was unmanageable? These folks didn’t know all the political campaigns I had managed or conferences I had run! But I wasn’t admitting how I depended on food to get me through tough times, even to points of insanity, like taking food out of the garbage.

Then I came to believe that my Higher Power could restore me to sanity, and I began to be able to resist food as a crutch. I got a food plan, a sponsor (my student), and I was ready to turn my life over to God, as I understood God.

I lost 20 pounds (9 kg) in 1990, an incredible year for me, and also acquired a new job with nearly a $5,000 per year increase in salary. I lived by OA for the next nine years, until I ran into the brick wall of my husband being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 63.

When that shattered my plans for our retirement, I was almost ready to get back into the food. Instead I started a new meeting in my neighborhood. This near relapse was a vivid reminder that the OA Twelve Step program is essential to my well-being. OA kept me sane and abstinent with only occasional slips through the eleven years my husband lived with his diagnosis. After he died, I started eating again, but thankfully, one of my longtime sponsors, plus regular attendance at meetings and use of the other Tools, got me back on track.

OA changed my life by giving me courage to follow the Twelve Steps and the Principle of perseverance, one day at a time.

— Barbara D., Bloomington, Illinois USA

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