What Matters

5 min read

I am a compulsive overeater, and I have a disease. Over the years, I have often heard that it is cunning, baffling, and powerful. I just started my 43rd year in Overeaters Anonymous, and I would not trade my life today for any other.

When I came into program, I immediately got a sponsor and did what she said to do. I had a lot of character defects that kept slapping me in the face, such as defiance, stubbornness, and the need for control, but they lessened over time. I worked and lived in the Principles and Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous. As I did what was suggested, I found a Power greater than myself. I prayed, wrote, went to meetings, stayed abstinent, and did a lot of service. Eventually, it was suggested that I run for chair of my region, which I did.

Then the suggestion was that I run for trustee of my region. I was trustee for eight years, and life was good. Then on November 20, 2008, I was baking for a bake sale and forgot I was a compulsive overeater. I ate the corners of the baked goods and immediately felt fear. I called my sponsor and then changed sponsors. I purchased a new Twelve Step Workbook of Overeaters Anonymous and started on page one.

I spent the year writing and working my program, and it’s now the way I do it every day. I have been abstinent one day at a time since November 21, 2008. Sometimes I try to think through what happened on November 20, but it doesn’t matter, because, as I’ve learned, the food is the last to go. Was I doing my praying? Going to enough meetings? Writing? Doing service? Figuring that out also doesn’t matter. What matters is that since November 21, I’ve been working my program every day, and that includes prayer when I awaken; reading OA-approved literature, including two pages of the Big Book of AA; going to three, and sometimes more, meetings a week; doing service; writing in a journal each morning; taking time to meditate; and living life. I have never been so content and serene.

My first husband died when I was in my twenties. My daughter was 13 months old and my son was a preemie still in the incubator. Needless to say, that was long before I came into OA, and I did not handle it well. Two years ago, my second husband died. I had taken care of him for three and a half years. I did my program daily and remained under God’s care, and I stayed abstinent.

Every day, I write a gratitude list because I have so much to be grateful for. My life is full, and I never would have met all the treasured friends I have in program if I had not been a compulsive overeater. Recovery is a joy.

— Maryann

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