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Working Lessons

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Thirty-one months after my first OA meeting I still feel very much an OA baby, if not a newcomer any longer. I remember vividly how it felt to ring the bell of the Bath House, where the Cambridge UK Thursday evening group meets. Although I had previous experience in another Twelve Step fellowship, I was apprehensive about OA, but the acceptance I felt at that first meeting has kept me coming back ever since. The shares, generosity, and love of the Cambridge fellows give me much to identify with, and I have learned a lot, even from one or two members whose personality defects resonate too much with my own. These people, especially, have been very valuable to know, for the lessons they teach me about taking my own inventory instead of theirs.

HP really does have a sense of humor. I took nine months to step up and ask a fellow member to be my sponsor. With that sponsor’s help, I went through Steps One and Two quite quickly. I procrastinated over Step Three for fear of Step Four. It’s no surprise then that I have been mired in my Step Four resentment lists for over a year, but in that time, I have stepped up my prayer and meditation. And, with HP’s help, I stick as best I can to my basic food plan: three meals a day with nothing in between. In August 2014, I’d weighed 21 stone 2 pounds (135 kg; 296 lbs). For a woman who is 41 years old and 5 feet 8 inches (172 cm) tall, that is obese.

Though I still hate exercise, I started swimming again that September with a buddy. When I weighed myself a couple of months ago, the scale showed under 270 pounds (122 kg). Yes, it’s a slow rate of weight loss. I hope I’m not in fat serenity, but I can say it took fourteen years to put that weight on. OA is not a diet club (been there, done that—didn’t track, gave up).

For me, the second most important lesson from the program is that compulsive overeating is a disease. I did not ask to have it, and probably have had it since I was born.

The first and most important lesson is that it is treatable! Thank you, HP!

Because the disease of compulsive overeating is progressive, I am thankful for OA, and I try to act on my feelings of gratitude. Without program, I would probably be well over 300 pounds (136 kg) by now and diabetic, like a close family member is.

My message for OA newcomers is, “Keep coming back! It works if you work it, so work it! You’re worth it!”

— Elaine G.

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