I’ll never forget my last close call with bingeing. I had just left the doctor’s office after a check-up in early May 2006. It was my first time meeting this doctor. I was 35 pounds (16 kg) overweight and two weeks back into program. She was professional and told me I needed to lose weight because my health was at risk, but I felt humiliated.

I walked out of her office and into the nearest grocery store. In my mind, I needed to stop the burning sense of shame and hopelessness. I loaded my arms with my regular trigger foods. While waiting in line, I began to hear my sane side plead, “You don’t have to do this. Another way exists. Make an outreach call. Walk out of here. You can be free.” I left my food on the conveyor belt and walked out the door to make an outreach call. No time remained to explain what I was doing to the befuddled cashier; this was an emergency!

It was warm in the parking lot as I made an outreach call to someone I had met at my first meeting two weeks prior. I got her voicemail and committed to her that I would have an abstinent dinner. I walked home shocked and grateful to be abstinent.

My recovery looks and feels different now. The close calls are fewer and often less desperate. I was reminded today of that close call in May 2006 because my annual check-up was this morning. Because I know that the scale and my doctor’s judgment can trigger me, I took action. Before the visit I made two outreach calls (telephone Tool). I left voice mail messages, talking about my fear of the scale and the doctor’s opinion. I reminded myself aloud that my doctor is not my Higher Power. I am exactly where I need to be right now in terms of weight and health. Progress, not perfection, is the key. I committed to making an outreach call afterwards to bookend my doctor visit with recovery. I also committed to inviting my Higher Power to walk with me during the visit.

When I got on the scale at the doctor’s office, I prayed, “Higher Power, help me have acceptance.” I talked to my doctor about OA and my recovery (Step Twelve). His eyes widened when I told him I used to weigh 237 pounds (108 kg) because of emotional eating. He said he’d like more information about OA.

I brought a healthy snack with me to eat after the blood tests so I could keep my blood sugar stable (plan of eating Tool). After the visit, I thanked my Higher Power for giving me a healthy, whole body (Step Eleven). My doctor says I’m in excellent health. He’d like me to lose an additional 5 to 10 pounds (2 to 5 kg), which is in Higher Power’s hands. I just do the footwork.

I made an outreach call (telephone Tool) to a fellow OA member after the visit because I noticed I was comparing my weight to my husband’s—dangerous! I committed to the other member that I would write this story (writing Tool). I also sent a copy of the Professional Community Courier, OA’s newsletter for healthcare professionals, to my doctor (service Tool).

My name is Lisa, and I am abstinent today because I used the OA Tools of Recovery. Another member has shared with me that she’s grateful to see me practicing self-care by acknowledging a situation of potential difficulty and using the Tools before and after. I’m grateful that HP has gifted me with the willingness.