Side by Side in OA

I joined OA in 1993. I attend a few meetings a week, journal daily, commit my food plan to my sponsor every day, answer a question given to me by my sponsor at least four times a week, sponsor other OA members, give service, and more.

My husband does not attend OA meetings regularly, but does practice program principles. We tend to sponsor each other; this works well for us. I try to keep my nose out of his food choices, and he helps me stay committed to my food plan. I appreciate it rather than resent it. On Sundays, we plan our dinners for the week. Every morning we discuss our program, challenges, and progress and plan our lives together. His support is important to my recovery. We play by the same rules, OA’s Twelve Steps, and avoid arguments by communicating. We support and encourage each other.

We have been attending the Region Seven convention for a couple of years and enjoy leading meetings and workshops. Having him in OA keeps me honest when eating in restaurants or participating in social functions. He knows when I need a meeting and is not afraid to suggest I get to one quickly. Fortunately, we have never outgrown each other. He progresses more quickly than I in some areas, then I catch up, and vice versa.

OA is the best thing to happen to my marriage. I found OA three months after our wedding, and we celebrated 11 years together this past June. I am grateful to this program because it brings us closer together. My food is the most intimate part of me; if I could not share that with him, our bond would not be as strong as it is.

My family relationships have changed drastically since I found OA. We no longer celebrate the holidays with mass quantities of nonnutritious foods or tons of gifts. We focus on being together. My husband and I no longer force the entire family to get together for the holidays. We visit separate family members over a period of time, and everyone gets along better this way. I have learned how to say no and set healthy boundaries for my family and myself.

I do not babysit—not because I do not love my grandkids, but because I cannot handle it. My children understand and accept my limitations. I am no longer the family savior; I let people work things out without playing referee. I allow my kids to parent their children without judging them or telling them how I would do it better.

I am honest with my husband and he respects me for that. We communicate instead of argue. We can agree to disagree without one of us having to be right. OA teaches me how to accept family members as they are and love them anyway. I am also learning how to accept and love myself the way God made me. I have shared my program with several family members, and a few of them participate in recovery groups.

Being clean with my food gives me more energy to attend to my family. God works wonders with us, and I continue to be amazed.

Reprinted from Lifeline magazine