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My Way Didn’t Work

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“Just put down the food and you’ll recover”—that simply didn’t make sense to me. If I could just do that, I wouldn’t be in OA.

I had successfully put down the food before—many times before—but eventually would pick it up again, eating excessively. Food was my enemy and my best friend. Why couldn’t I eat moderately? Why was I so weak? What was wrong with me?  I didn’t understand that I was born with a disease, always wanting more food: sweet, savory, sour . . . it didn’t matter. I would stuff myself with anything edible. Restricting, then bingeing, I’d promise myself this would be the last time.

Just being abstinent was not the answer. My self-will would not suffice; it wouldn’t last. The conviction that I could do it alone was insane. I had to accept that my problem—excessive, compulsive overeating—started in my head and I had no adequate defense. In fact, it seemed to be getting worse. I was overeating all day and even all night, and I feared it would kill me. I had to accept that I needed help, but a psychologist didn’t help. Liquid diets didn’t help. Weight-loss programs didn’t help. Pills didn’t help. I always did things my way, and my way didn’t work for long. I was a failure. I was doomed.

Then a friend reached out to me and said, “Come to an OA meeting with me.” She saved my life! As I went to meetings, lots of meetings, I heard people share their stories and knew I was finally home. I began to hope. As I read the Big Book, I saw myself in the stories of recovery. As I started to use the Tools and seriously work the Steps, I found even more hope. As I listened to early-morning phone meetings and read the first 164 pages of the Big Book page by page, I found not only hope but also faith in a universal spirit, a Higher Power that could guide me. But I had work to do.

I had to accept that I had to take action (quite a bit of action) every day, and be willing to listen and take Good Orderly Direction. Perseverance was key. I had to be willing to stop doing it my way and do it the OA way and the way set down in the Big Book. It’s been twenty years, and I’m still here, listening and learning, one day at a time. Thank you, OA.

— Barbara E., West Orange, New Jersey USA

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