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Different Perspectives

4 min read

In 1994, I hit bottom. Food no longer filled the hole in my soul. A sense of hopelessness and futility was constantly with me. I had reached what was my heaviest weight of 335 pounds (152 kg) and doubled my size in just four years.

I was a graduate assistant working as a tutor at my university’s writing lab. One day, a coworker took me aside and told me of a solution she had discovered that helped her with food issues: Overeaters Anonymous. She confided that she was a recovering anorexic. That was the first I’d heard of OA, and though her addiction manifested in a way very different from mine, I felt unmistakable kinship. Shortly thereafter, I attended my first meeting.

At that meeting, the leader read from For Today. Individuals took turns sharing, and I remember feeling that I had found my herd. I didn’t grasp specifics, but I was encouraged to keep coming back and to attend a variety of meetings. A few days later, I found myself starting my first thirty days of abstinence with a sponsor, using the Big Book as a basis for writing about Steps One, Two, and Three. This began a four-year recovery journey for me that included a 165-pound (75 kg) weight loss.

The solution in OA is spiritual and requires action and a commitment to personal growth. When I became distracted by life and too busy to work my Steps or go to meetings, I relapsed. That dark period lasted eight years, and because compulsive eating is a progressive illness, I regained all the weight, plus more. When I came back to an OA meeting in November 2005, I was at a new heaviest weight of more than 400 pounds (181 kg).

That was over eleven years ago. Today, I enjoy a freedom and quality of life I never knew possible, all because of OA. By the grace of a Higher Power and with the help of the Fellowship, I am maintaining a 200-pound (91-kg) weight loss as well as a commitment, twenty-four hours at a time, to live using the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions as my solution to life’s issues.

I am grateful for frequent encounters with OA members on my recovery journey, particularly when their perspectives are different from my own. They broaden my awareness and deepen my recovery. When I focus on our spiritual solution, I receive “clues from the Universe” to keep practicing this way of life with my fellow OA travelers.

— Brenda, Texas USA

OA’s 2017 Strategic Plan is focused on growing OA unity worldwide. Region chairs and board trustees are contributing one article per issue on this theme.

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