I have been in OA for three and a half years after more than 50 years of compulsive eating. During my first few meetings, I felt intense fear, hopelessness, desperation, and eagerness to learn. New expressions overwhelmed me, such as abstinence, sponsor, food plan, and “feel the feelings.” This experience was foreign to me.
I persisted. By my fourth meeting, I had found a sponsor; written my food plan; and begun journaling, reading OA literature, and attending two meetings a week. Oh, did I look forward to those meetings! I didn’t stop to think why I was doing the work; it was what I had to do in the OA program.
Admitting my powerlessness over food was easy—hadn’t I proved it to myself countless times? Believing in a power greater than myself was also easy. There had to be one; I sure was not doing things on my own. Higher Power was my only hope. I chose to believe and “act as if.”
Many times I wanted to eat whatever and whenever I wanted—behavior that had never worked for me. Instead I chose the new, hard way; at least it seemed hard in the beginning. I can remember being scared and uncomfortable, but I chose to believe it would be okay and worth a try. Now I know it was the OA way, the best way, the way my Higher Power wanted me to go.
I called my sponsor regularly and did whatever she suggested. She shared her experience with me and directed me to seek guidance from my Higher Power. I wrote down a food plan I could live with for the rest of my life one day at a time, and I read my OA literature. Finally hope came, and I began to look forward with excitement to living each day and discovering a life without excess food.
It took me one and a half years to go through the Steps. During that time I shed 50 pounds (23 kg) and have kept it off for the first time in my life. I continue to work the Steps because the OA way of life is now my normal lifestyle.
I still have challenges. Food thoughts can threaten to overtake me, and I must make amends at times. But I am making progress and have learned that even when I have the thoughts, I do not have to take the actions.
I remind myself daily that I am powerless over food but I have found the answer: turning my life and will over to the care of my Higher Power, who is always available.
Reprinted from Lifeline magazine