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Standing in the Wings

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I came to Overeaters Anonymous to lose weight, period. I had no idea what the program was about. A friend told me she had lost weight in OA; maybe I could lose weight too. The methods I had tried over the years (little chocolate candies, pills, shots, nasty-tasting predigested protein, aerobic exercise while wrapped in cellophane, and actual physical exercise in a gym) did not give me the results I wanted. Some methods worked for a short time, but none were sustainable because I lost interest after a few weeks and returned to what I thought were normal eating habits: whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

At my very first OA meeting, I cried my eyes out! I couldn’t believe the stories I was hearing and how similar they were to mine. When people shared, they sometimes whined or expressed anger, but they almost always talked about hope. My “hope pilot light” went on at that first meeting. I liked how it felt, and I wanted to feel more of it, so I kept going to meetings. As an osmosis of the program began to take place, I found myself getting a sponsor, following a food plan, and working the Steps. My sponsor was a mother figure to me so I did everything I was told. I lost weight!

I worked the Steps, but being the self-centered and self-absorbed person that I was, I really didn’t get it! What was my part in the hurtful situation? Are you kidding me? Nothing was my fault—it was always someone else! I need to forgive, accept, or show compassion for someone who doesn’t follow the rules? If I have to follow the rules, so should everyone else!

Well, I eventually lost my abstinence (of eighteen months) as well as my sponsor. I found myself drowning in self-doubt and pity and returned to my old ways. What I didn’t realize was that I still had my pilot light, and I also had a Higher Power standing in the wings.

Fast-forward twenty-five years, I found myself whining to a friend about my weight, among other things. I truly believe that my Higher Power, whom I call God, stepped out of the wings and spoke to me through my compassionate friend. She said the words “Overeaters Anonymous.” That’s all I needed to hear. The horns blew, the fireworks went off, and I knew what I was supposed to do.

Within a week, I was at a meeting, and within two weeks, I was working with a compassionate, loving, “no baloney accepted here” sponsor. She worked my tail off, beginning with daily writing on Step One and chapter one of the Big Book. My fingers cramped from the constant writing until that compassionate friend gave me an old laptop computer. I wrote every morning and called each night to read my writing to my sponsor. A whole new world began to open up for me. I was actually getting the program: Everything I read made sense. Everything I heard at meetings made sense. I actually finally felt like I made sense when I opened my mouth. This was a first for me!

It has been five years since that “second first meeting,” and I now live each day with a lighter heart, a lighter body, and a much lighter attitude towards my family, friends, and anyone who will listen to me. I welcome each morning as I meditate, write, and then ask God, “What adventure do you have planned for me today?”

— Liz B., Chicago, Illinois US

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