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One Thing Changed

5 min read

I have not always had a weight problem, but I’ve always had the disease of compulsive overeating. Before age 13, the disease did not show up on my body, because I was using the fuel to grow. But it was definitely at work between my ears, manifesting mentally through my obsession with sweets and other binge foods and spiritually through feelings of not belonging and arrogant inferiority.

Childhood memories stand out: feeling like I never fit in, being different, standing on the outside looking in, never feeling good enough, thinking that if they knew me they wouldn’t love me, and always being one of the tallest in the room. I compared myself to others and always found myself lacking, except I was bright in school and skipped a grade. So in my mind there was a battle about whether your superiority in clothes, money, or body size beat out my being smarter than you.

Chatter and conversations in my head were deafening. If you made me feel slighted or embarrassed, I probably took it out on my siblings or parents or had conversations with people who weren’t there to finish the fight.

I believe my Higher Power used the extra weight that eventually showed up on my body to get me to address the “disease” of my disease. I was not looking for peace of mind or happiness when I came to OA; I was only looking for weight loss. What I found, however, rocked my world and changed my life.

I entered OA in August 1999, got abstinent, and lost 62 pounds (28 kg).

I believe that my relapse happened after five-plus years of abstinence because I had not worked all of the Steps; I regained all of my weight in two years.

I returned to program on August 26, 2008. By abstaining from my alcoholic foods and behaviors and by working all Twelve Steps with a sponsor to guide me, I lost 54 pounds (24 kg) and, most important, underwent a personality change—a spiritual experience. By focusing on the things I can change, meaning me, everything changes!

My relationships are beyond my wildest dreams and remain that way as long as I live all Twelve Steps every day and keep the focus on my abstinence and myself. Though that sounds selfish, I find it incredibly freeing and an example to those around me. I’ve been married to the same man for thirty-two years and have two adult children who value my company and opinion, and we all laugh together. The promises are in my life, and I have learned to anticipate the positive rather than focus on the negative. I look for a solution when problems arise because life ebbs and flows. My life is so full today even though circumstances are the same as they were when I was in relapse. I am the only thing that has changed. And that has changed everything.

— Mary, New York USA

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