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No Monopoly on Recovery

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After not seeing a regular attendee at my home meeting for several months, I decided to call to see how they were doing. This person was really glad to hear from me but had decided to attend an outside support group for eating issues and reported having much success with abstinence and physical recovery. We had a great conversation, and I was invited to a meeting to hear this person speak.

As the conversation wound down, I felt a deep, visceral sadness. I really liked this person, who brought an amazing amount of energy and recovery to our meeting. Not only was I sad about the void it left in the meeting, but I grieved the loss of a friend. I started questioning my own recovery. Am I on the right path? Is there a better solution? Am I approaching my abstinence in the correct way? I don’t always see the amount of abstinence and physical recovery that I would like to see at meetings—does OA work? What about all the friendships I make in OA, only to see those individuals disappear?

I got off the phone and prayed to my Higher Power. I then decided to call another Overeaters Anonymous member for support. It helped to share my feelings with another person from program. I journaled about the experience to help me deal with the multitude of feelings it brought up for me.

I realized I could still be someone’s friend even if they left Overeaters Anonymous for another path. The program’s Steps and Traditions remind me that we don’t have a monopoly on recovery and it is not the solution for everyone. They also remind me to place principles before personalities and to remember anonymity—there are no VIPs. Recovery is not contingent on who is at a particular meeting or whether I follow a specific food plan or recovery regimen. It is about having “a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps” (Step Twelve), maintaining the Traditions, being abstinent, and sharing the program with others. It is about an abstinence that works for an individual based on “willingness, honesty and open mindedness” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 568). Recovery is as individual as each person is.

I am also reminded of how grateful I am for the OA Fellowship and how it has never abandoned me despite numerous relapses and various times I left the program in search of a different solution. When I made a list, I realized there were still numerous individuals in the rooms with long-term abstinence who were maintaining a healthy body weight.

For the last eight and a half years, I have experienced recovery with flexible back-to-back abstinence, a 50-pound(23-kg) weight loss, and ever growing emotional and spiritual recovery. I absolutely know that OA is the solution for me, and it only takes one other person to create a meeting. This program saved my life, and I will never leave. It is working!

— Anonymous

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