At age 11, Paul started binge eating to cope with feelings of loneliness and boredom and that compulsive eating behavior stayed with him through adulthood. After Paul found OA, his life changed completely, and he has learned to turn his powerlessness over to his Higher Power in exchange for the gift of abstinence.
Childhood sexual abuse and family dynamics can drive someone to turn to food for comfort. Without a solution, these patterns can grow with us into adulthood, complicating relationships with romantic partners and with weight. As one member has discovered, however, a new and healthier sense of normalcy can be found in Overeaters Anonymous.
Laurie, a recovering compulsive overeater, reflects on her gratitude for the gifts that sponsorship brings to Twelve Step recovery.
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 … Continued
Karen, who has maintained a 210-pound (95-kg) weight loss for more than fifteen years, uses the Tools of Recovery to maintain her program just as diligently as she uses tools and resources for automobile maintenance to keep the first car she ever bought new in good running condition. The road in OA, she notes, is ”not always smooth and comfortable, but it is leading me to freedom” (For Today, p. 288).
Writing can clarify emotions, reveal character defects, and enhance recovery. When it is shared, writing can even help other OA members with their own recoveries.
Food and rage were Judith’s ways of dealing with stress before OA. In this story, she recounts how using the telephone Tool both to call and text her sponsor and other OA members helped her take her next Step and truly feel the support coming from her Higher Power.
“I knew I had huge self-will…” says one member who came in broken after trying to work the program her own way. But she was also desperate and willing, and her willingness led to progress, and her progress eventually, and inevitably, led her to her dream of “a peaceful and serene life.”
Sharon’s old life was one of constant bingeing and restricting and a false belief that being thin meant being happy. That all changed as the result of working the Twelve Steps, and in this story, Sharon shares her two main methods for working the Steps: 1) quickly every day and 2) slowly and thoroughly over weeks and months.
Bonnie, a longtime OA member, came into OA as a teen in the 1970s and reflects on the challenges and benefits of fitting in with older OA members. Bonnie says, “More young people who need OA are out there … I want to be the hand that says, “Welcome to Overeaters Anonymous. Welcome home.”