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Participate and Be Blessed

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When I entered the doors of OA, I weighed 162 pounds (73 kg) and stood five feet one inches tall (155 cm). I’d been struggling to drop pounds for several years after having some success with a commercial weight-loss program, but I’d plateaued and didn’t know how to move past it. I felt hopeless and powerless. So, Step One came easy to me; I knew I had been missing the spiritual element of the weight-loss journey.

The first hurdle I met in the program was identifying with the label “compulsive overeater.” I struggled with labels of any kind, and I felt uncomfortable introducing myself that way at meetings. However, listening to others, I heard the label “grateful recovering compulsive overeater.” I could identify with that! I’ve used this introduction at meetings ever since. To start out my share with the word “grateful” sets the tone for sharing my hope along with my experience and strength. Gratefulness enables me to shift my focus from the negatives of the disease, so I can emphasize how the Steps have enriched my life.

I have been abstinent now for more than a year and a half. My physical recovery includes releasing 20 unwanted pounds (9 kg), and my acid reflux has been totally eliminated. If every pound of extra weight adds the equivalent of 4 pounds (2 kg) of stress to the joints, my weight loss means I’m putting 80 pounds (36 kg) less stress on my joints than before.

I am grateful for more than the physical recovery. My connection with my Higher Power has been enriched. My prayer life has blossomed with the addition of Step prayers and the Serenity Prayer.

Using the Tools and literature has led me through a tough emotional crisis: the breakup of a five-year relationship. But I no longer feel that food is the answer to my problems. I can use the phone, write in my journal, or call my sponsor whenever I’m stressed, lonely, or afraid of the future. Taking it one day at a time keeps me in the present. Turning my will over to God daily keeps me sane.

Service has been so important to my recovery process. I am currently serving as the Lifeline rep for my intergroup. That’s what led me to write this article: I’d been urging others to subscribe and write to participate in our “meeting on the go,” when it occurred to me that I need to practice what I preach. So, though I’m not a strong writer (I got Cs in my English classes), I offer this article as a form of service, in hopes that it may encourage others to participate and be blessed.

My weight-loss journey is far from over. I hope to release another twelve pounds (5 kg). However, the timing of that is in God’s hands. It’s progress, not perfection, that I seek—and there is so much more to recovery than the number on the scale.

— Sheila R.

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