Home Telephone Interconnections


4 min read

When I first entered OA, I did not understand the interconnected web among the members. Someone gave me a daily readings book at my first meeting, but I never went back there. Years later, when I’d gained about 40 pounds (18 kg) and been warned I was pre-diabetic, I went to another meeting in a different city. I just listened and left. I weighed 237 pounds (108 kg) at the time.

Later, when I moved to a small town, I was fully diabetic and started to go regularly to a meeting near my job. There, I got phone numbers from a box that was passed around; I put my number in as well. I still did not understand the program, only that we were committing to giving and receiving calls throughout the week. But soon, I was regularly calling a sponsor, doing my food history, working the Steps, and discussing emotional stressors and major decisions in my life.

This sponsor did service over the telephone for me through thick and thin. When I lost my job and moved, I introduced that phone-numbersin-a-box tradition to my new meeting. Having lost weight and moved through the Steps, I continued to make calls—not only when I was in pain, turmoil, or crisis, but also to reach out and check in to see how others were doing.

As I began to follow my new desire for friendships and relating emotionally rather than repressing those needs through eating, I developed friendships and more committed relationships, and I became less needy of the support of program.

But I found I could now offer support by making calls to newcomers. I also offered to take food histories. I explained about journaling rather than eating and about turning issues over to a “God Box.” As I felt the advice I had received from my sponsors coming back through me, I felt energetically lighter and free. About the time I came off my diabetic medication because my blood sugars and weight had dropped, I was talking in meetings about how giving service and making calls to help others had become normal for me.

Now I see what program is: the miracle of interconnections among loving people. Receiving and then giving service in OA has helped me, not just in losing 55 pounds (25 kg) and maintaining that loss, but also in becoming a happier, different person over the last five years. Now I’ve weighed 182 pounds (83 kg) for over a year. I feel that, with service, I have my feet squarely on the ground. — Batya W., Cleveland Heights, Ohio USA

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