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Acting Out

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Nine years ago, I crawled into the rooms of OA, wishing I could die so I could be free of the hell of this disease. I heard “Welcome to Overeaters Anonymous. Welcome home!” and I began my recovery journey back to life. That year, I also began taking over the care of my mother. Working the Twelve Steps in OA not only gave me the grace to deal with her increasing dementia, but also enabled me to forgive both my parents, make amends to them, and share a loving relationship with them in their last years. Within a few years of joining OA, I went from a size 22 to a size 10. I am 5 feet 9 inches (175 cm) tall, and I maintain a weight loss of 70–75 pounds (32–34 kg).

In 2014, my life was turned upside down. Mom passed away in August after years in nursing facilities. Dad died in November under hospice care in his home. In the midst of my grief, I looked at my marriage and knew I could no longer live with my alcoholic husband. I made the painful decision to leave him in June 2015.

The process of grieving these back-to-back losses has included the darkest days of my life. When my only daughter left for college in September 2015, I fell deeply into a clinical depression. I sat through moments, hours, and sometimes days of enormous emotional pain. By the grace of God, I never picked up my drugs (sugar and flour), and I did not binge. At times, I started down the “slippery slope” by adding food to my meals, but I turned to the program Tools and the Twelve Steps to stop my addiction before it could progress. It is miraculous that I did not relapse. I felt those feelings without avoiding or delaying them with food.

I put one foot in front of the other and focused on one day at a time. I brought my body to meetings and absorbed recovery, although I was not often able to share. I added a second sponsor for additional support. I took sponsee phone calls daily, which brought me out of the self-absorption of my own problems. I called long-timers and newcomers. I read OA literature daily. I journaled frequently, including work in a daily gratitude journal, which reminded me to focus on my blessings. Most important, I started each day with prayer and meditation and maintained connection with my Higher Power throughout the day.

I did all these things, whether I felt like it or not, because my program has taught me not to think myself into action, but to act myself into thinking a recovered life.

I thank God I had my prior years of recovery, which gave me structure; I used my action plan to keep working my program. I am grateful beyond anything I can express for my fellows sharing their support, prayers, and love. Thank you, God, for Overeaters Anonymous!

— Pat H., Williamstown, New Jersey USA

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