Home Diversity We All Qualify

We All Qualify

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I am a compulsive overeater of a common variety, and there is little about me personally that would not fit right into the least diverse of OA meetings. I am female, white, and I have been in OA for six years with four years of continuous abstinence. I came into the rooms of OA morbidly obese and now am at a healthy body weight. I have maintained a more than 100-pound (45- kg) weight loss for years.

My home group recently had a meeting on the Third Tradition, and most of the sharing was about each person’s fear of being shunned by the group because she or he didn’t fit in. One young girl, who was not overweight, felt compelled to assure us that she was, in fact, a binge eater and quite desperate for relief from her suffering. Another woman had undergone a bariatric procedure, and although she lost the weight, she found she still needed OA and was afraid OA would not welcome her. In fact, every member of the room had a fear about not fitting in.

Many of us walk into the rooms of OA feeling “terminally unique.” Some of us have obvious and legitimate reasons to feel so. I am not obviously different from everyone else, but the first words out of my mouth at my first OA meeting were, “This isn’t going to work, and here’s why,” and going on to insist that I was just so broken OA couldn’t fix me.

We are a diverse lot, and as OA continues to reach people all over the world, our differences will continue to grow in prominence. Whether our differences are racial, cultural, spiritual, or gender-based, or even whether we’re anorexic, bulimic, or compulsive overeaters, we all have in common that we eat compulsively. The rooms of OA are available to us, and we qualify for membership as long as we have a desire to stop eating compulsively. We are united in a common illness and a common solution. Thus, it is in unity that we can join the ranks of those who recover. Our diversity, while both legitimate and present, does not bar us from that recovery.

However much we may stand out as not like other members, my experience is that most people believe themselves to be somehow alienated from the group. I certainly thought so. OA welcomes all who wish to find the solution within our rooms. I have met people of all types in OA, and I have yet to meet the one who is terminally unique.

— Joy C., Denton, Texas USA

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