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Only Through OA

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After learning about humility, I became able to share more of my personal self with a group. This was a very different experience for me. Growing up, I’d been taught that outward appearances were the most important thing, and any problems I had should stay at home. Through recovery, I learned about sharing with others at a more intimate level, and only then could I develop closer bonds with them.

At the beginning of my meetings, the leader will ask, “Are there any other compulsive overeaters here besides myself?” Seeing so many hands go up helps me realize I am not alone. We are in this disease together, working one day at a time to stay in recovery. I choose to go to meetings and use the Tools of the program to treat my disease, just as I was willing to go to chemotherapy when I had cancer.

At first I was shocked to find so many people with the same self-destructive eating behaviors I had. I heard someone share that they ate out of the garbage. I had thought only I ever had that experience. Never would I have admitted it to another individual.

OA unity also makes this a safe place to open up. No one is judging me. If I feel something is too personal to share in a meeting, I can talk afterward with just one person, or share it with my sponsor. I used to be afraid to tell people who I am; I thought if I was open, they wouldn’t like me. Instead, relating with OA members at a heart-and-soul level helps me deal with many of my own obstacles to recovery.

Unity also means I do not have to agree with everything another person shares, but only allow them the right to express themselves. Unity puts the focus on the group, so one person cannot take down the whole meeting. I listen closely to what every group member says and try to take something positive out of it for myself.

In the past two years, I have also started to attend phone meetings. People around the world are linked by our addiction and desire to recover. Whether we are in the United States or Australia or another country, we all have the same disease, so I feel a kinship with people I have never met. The OA Promise puts the First Tradition in perspective when it says, “Together we can do what we could never do alone.” Only through this program and the people in it am I able to maintain my abstinence. If I am struggling, I help another addict. Doing service is my way of expressing gratitude for how far I’ve come.

— Anonymous

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