Editors note: Below are two world service contributions from OA members in support of our Strategic Plan.

In August 1999, I was desperate and obese. I was still pleasant at work but not at home. I had reached the point where I couldn’t stop eating but the food was no longer satisfying, so I had nothing to live for. A thought (from God?) came: “Why don’t you go back to OA?”

I went back to meetings, knowing I’d die if I ever left again. I found a strong message of recovery by working the Steps, and I got a strong sponsor. I was whisked onto on a pink cloud but fell off after six months. I decided I had to take HP seriously, so when I heard “act as if,” I did.

I went to three OA meetings every week, plus two other meetings. I called my sponsor daily with my food plan.

Several of my sponsor’s suggestions did not sit right with me. She was not open to discussing them, so there were things I could not tell her. I knew this was wrong. This sponsor was very controlling, and after five years, I became disillusioned. I started handing this and other problems over to God. Doing this gave me much needed peace and new trust in God.

Changing sponsors was challenging for me. Suddenly I had a new sponsor who said all she could do was show me how she found HP through working the Steps. It took time to change, and I kept doing what worked from my old sponsorship. But I gradually came to rely on a new God-consciousness throughout the day.

Now, I am not concerned about the food, because I am powerless over food and always will be. I set mistakes right as soon as possible. Every morning, I hand my will and my life over to God and move into my day doing the next best thing, trusting God to guide me—thy will be done. I have found the spiritual solution promised in the program, which gives me serenity beyond my wildest dreams.

OA’s “Unity with Diversity” Policy says, “The Fellowship of Overeaters Anonymous recognizes the existence of individual approaches and different structured concepts to working our Twelve-Step program of recovery; that the Fellowship is united by our disease and our common purpose; and that individual differences in approach to recovery within our Fellowship need not divide us” [Business Conference Policy Manual, 1992a (amended 2013)].

I am grateful OA embraces diversity. For more than thirty years, I have been a member of Overeaters Anonymous. My top weight was more than 250 pounds (113 kg), and I am maintaining a weight loss of more than 100 pounds (45 kg). My path was not a path of instant recovery. I struggled with relapse for many years until 2003, when I was introduced to a new way of working my program, a telephone meeting that emphasized a structured meeting format and dedication to “no matter-what” abstinence.

I could attend more than fifty face-to-face OA meetings within an hour’s drive of my home, but I could not abstain from periodic compulsive eating until I began attending this special-topic telephone meeting that gave me clear-cut instructions on how to recover.

Later, a friend and I started a face-to-face meeting using this structured meeting format, and now my intergroup has three of these special-topic meetings.

Virtual meetings saved my life. Thank you, OA, for embracing and encouraging diversity. No matter where I am in my recovery process, my needs are met.

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