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Just Like Me

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Attending my first OA meeting was the result of seeing some dramatic changes in a close friend. We had known each other long enough that we knew each other’s big secret: We were compulsive eaters.

It was fine to share such an intimacy on a personal level, but the thought of doing it in a room full of strangers seemed ridiculous. Nevertheless, my friend was making great changes in her eating and attitude, so I decided to check out a meeting.

As much as a person can, I tried to look invisible and unapproachable. After hearing the confusing Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and some other announcements at the beginning, I was looking for the door. Not being able to sneak out surreptitiously, I hunkered down for what was sure to be an hour-long ordeal.

Soon, these strangers began talking about something I could relate to: food obsessions. While they looked different in some ways, it didn’t take long before I realized they were folks just like me. Not only could I relate to all the insanity (I thought I was the only one who ate out of the trash or until I was ready to throw up), but I also heard a sense of purpose and recovery.

As they talked about what they experienced while in the disease, how the program was working in their lives, and how the insanity was loosening its grip on them, I was still scared and doubtful. But they obviously had something I wanted. I am grateful they were there that day, and in the meetings I later attended, to carry that message to one who just thought he was unique.

Thank you, OA, and those involved in Twelve Step work.

— Anonymous, California USA

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