I had many years of Twelve Step recovery from an addiction unrelated to food, and I thought adding OA would be a snap. I joined OA in January 2010, and because of my previous Twelve Step experience, I knew I had to attend meetings and get a sponsor. Within the first three weeks, I found meetings I liked, and I still have the same sponsor today.
My sponsor asked me to write down everything I ate and when I ate it. She also asked me to do a “daily fifteen” list five things for which I was grateful, five things for which I needed to forgive myself, and five things I’d done well. I emailed the list to her every day along with my food diary. We began to work the Steps, I wrote answers to questions, and we talked every Sunday morning. I lost about 20 pounds (9 kg) in the first six months and became secretary of our small group.
By eight months, I noticed I had stopped losing weight. I became dissatised with my program and began looking for differences instead of similarities in the stories I was hearing. I determined OA wasn’t working for me and it was time to give it up. But I had four months left on my commitment as secretary, so I decided I couldn’t quit something I hadn’t really tried.
I told myself I could quit OA if it did not work for me after I had incorporated all the program Tools into my recovery for the balance of my service position. I began making daily phone calls to get to know people so that when I did have a bad day, I was already in the habit of reaching out. I added another meeting, so I was attending three to five Twelve Step meetings weekly. I added more OA literature to my long-established daily reading, writing, prayer, and meditation practices.
I worked the steps with my sponsor. I redefined my ever-evolving plan of eating using a nutritionist and OA literature. I provided service to my two regular groups by rotating my service position at each meeting and, among other things, typing up phone lists and steering committee notes. I practiced anonymity, and I incorporated an action plan into my OA framework. Surprise! I lost another 30 pounds (14 kg) over the next year. I am not a Cinderella story. I continue to trudge (not jump, hop, or skip, but trudge) this road of happy destiny.
My weight loss has stalled again, but I am learning to balance life as it comes along. I haven’t regained the weight I’ve lost, and my emotional maturity and spiritual connection continue to expand. With my chronic health issues, I need to re ne food choices even more and remain creative with exercise to keep losing weight. After going through the Twelve Steps with abstinence questions, studying the Traditions, and experiencing a multitude of spiritual quests, my learning continues. My only job is to remain teachable.
“I am not a Cinderella story, but I am learning to balance life.”
If you haven’t guessed, I decided not to quit OA at the end of that original service term. I’m still working for OA, and it is working for me.
~ Laurie B., Rohnert Park, California USA (from eLifeline, Sept 2016)