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Inside Life (at the Convention)

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From the time I was a preteen struggling with weight and food, I thought I would always be on the outside of life, looking in at people living it. And then my Higher Power led me to the doors of Overeaters Anonymous.

At my first meeting, I learned I wasn’t alone. But at my first convention, I felt it to my core.

Attending my first convention was the direct result of doing service beyond the group level. At an intergroup meeting, there was a call for assistance with the convention’s entertainment committee. I meekly raised my hand to help, and that began a journey of newfound freedom, which opened many doors. During my involvement with that committee, I was surrounded by love and security and life.

At the convention itself, there were hundreds of people, “people who normally would not mix” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 17), but we all shared a common problem. We were compulsive eaters striving for recovery from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. I met people from the bi-state area, from our region, and beyond. I sang in front of people for the first time in thirty years. I danced— danced!—unafraid about what anyone might think or say. I listened to others’ stories and found the meeting topics to be interesting and meaningful. I was inspired by the courage of those who shared their experience, strength, and hope. I reveled in the love, the tolerance, and the acceptance.

It was at my first convention that I finally found my way in from the outside. I also found myself. Today, as a gratefully abstinent and recovering member of OA, I am living life.

— Edited and reprinted from OA Today newsletter, St. Louis Bi-State Intergroup, March 2011

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