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Twinkle in My Eye

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Most folks who know me only see my weight loss over the last few years, but the most significant changes in my life happened on the inside. It’s what cannot be seen, but seems to be sensed. It’s all due to OA.

I came to OA in 1994 looking for a solution to my recent weight gain. I had kept my weight in check with my bulimic behaviors of bingeing and purging, but those methods quit working one day.

On that day I stuck my finger down my throat after bingeing, like I had for the last twenty years or so, and nothing happened. The food would not come back up. I was addicted to bingeing, but I could no longer purge. I started packing on the weight. I gained about 40 pounds (18 kg) in a short amount of time before considering OA.

Before this event I saw a woman I had known for many years. Not only had she lost plenty of weight, but also I barely recognized her. She had a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. I felt an overall peace in her presence. What had happened to the nervous, late-for-everything person I had known? She told me she’d been attending OA for eight years.

I did not decide that day to go to OA, but I was desperate once my bulimia trick didn’t work. I got on my knees and begged (you couldn’t call it praying) God to strike me thin. God heard me, and I remembered the woman who had gone to OA. That answer was not the miracle for which I was looking, but it was the miracle I needed.

I was skeptical at my first meeting. I listened to many caring people talk about their food problems. I could relate, but I wasn’t convinced OA was for me. I was familiar with the Twelve Step program because I had been in AA for fifteen years. I had already worked the Steps with a sponsor. Although my ego told me I didn’t need to “go through all that again,” I knew it would be my answer. I decided to talk to my doctor. I was open about my recent weight gain and attendance at OA. (My habit of half-truths meant I didn’t tell her about my bulimia.) Since I wanted a fast way to lose weight, I asked her for a prescription. She wrote me a prescription I’ll never forget: “Three healthy meals a day. Exercise three to four times a week.” Believe it or not, I was relieved. Something in me wanted to get well.

I began attending meetings regularly and started working the Steps. My sponsor was the same woman I’d seen with the twinkle in her eye. After years and many relapses (when my ego told me I could do this on my own—ha!), I now have over three years of back-to-back abstinence.

The changes OA made on the outside were the release of 40 pounds (18 kg) and abstinence from bulimia, addictive foods, and bingeing. Now I eat three healthy meals a day and exercise three to four times a week.

The changes OA made on the inside were giving me a frequent feeling of peace, time in prayer and meditation, and the desire to pursue a spiritual life instead of material goods. I try to give back by sponsoring others. I often smile, and some say I have a twinkle in my eye!

I wouldn’t trade this life and program for any other. I am home.

— Karen, Douglas, Alaska USA

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