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As Written and with Urgency

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I am nine months into recovery in OA and more happy, joyous, and free than I could ever have imagined. And I do mean ever. My heart bursts with the love I have found for my HP through working the program as written.

Yet, at the same time, I am almost crying with pain. It’s pain not unlike the pain of the old days, when I hurt from overeating whilst crying and pleading for this not to be happening again. Today, my tears come from frustration over what I am forced to witness in the rooms of many OA meetings. Over the past nine months, I’ve attended 150 meetings in my country and a neighboring country, and I am often horrified by what I hear: a weakened, watered-down version of the message of the Big Book. I do not have a problem with anyone working their program the way they want to. But please do not call something the OA program when it clearly isn’t.

The OA program promises that, as a result of working the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous, we get well. Then we are supposed to help someone else work the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous—not our own version of a Twelve Step program. Yet some feel that spreading their own distorted version of the OA program is what they have a right to do, even though their program doesn’t represent anything to do with the original Twelve Steps or the message of the Big Book. As a matter of fact, their distorted version is more likely to destroy a newcomer rather than help. The worst thing is that this is happening in our rooms.

Softer, easier ways; half measures; HALTs; keep coming back; easy does it; take your time—these are now diseases that destroy overeaters in OA. How about making a commitment to go to any length to do the OA program as written? How about putting down the food and getting a sponsor who will assist you though the Steps, so you can connect to a Power greater than yourself, so you can straighten out physically and mentally and be freed from food obsession and compulsion? How about carrying this message and learning how to become an effective sponsor to the still-suffering compulsive overeater?

The Twelve Steps of OA as written can easily be completed in a couple of months. Many members out there tell me they are taking years to do their Twelve Steps, all the while telling me how hard their food is and how difficult their lives are. I suggest working the Twelve Steps like the Big Book tells us to—with some urgency (“Into Action,” Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., pp. 72–88). Then, you too can recover and get well and share in meetings how amazing your new life is.

— D.E.

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