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Member Stories

Food is Now in its Place ~ 5.13.2021

I have been a compulsive overeater all of my life. Even when I was a young child, I over ate and hid my eating of treats. I come from a family that has other compulsive eaters (my mother and my sister) and others with different compulsive behaviors.

As I grew into adulthood, I found that whenever I was experiencing strong emotions (whether happy or sad) or was stressed, I would turn to food. Eventually, I became morbidly obese. I tried all kinds of diets — pay and weigh, programs where the company provides the food, medication, liquid diets, and hypnosis. I eventually got a lap band and lost more than 100 pounds. But, that did not stop my compulsive behaviors. I gained almost 80 of those pounds back. Then I heard about OA.

I had tried everything to lose the weight and keep it off. Nothing had worked. I was miserable and desperate. The doctor who had performed my lap band surgery was recommending another surgery to me. One of the nurses in his office mentioned OA to me.

I came to OA in my mid 50’s in 2014. Since then, I have lost the weight and been able to keep it off. I have lost more than 100 pounds from my all time non-pregnancy high weight. Food is now in its place. I am no longer dominated by thoughts about what I am going to eat and beating myself up over what I have eaten.

Most importantly, I am now present for my loved ones and not hiding myself in the food. I deal with the emotions and the stress of everyday life without turning to food. I am physically able to do things that I could not do 10 years ago. I live each day thankful for OA.
Before I joined, I was concerned that OA was a religious program and that others would proselytize to me. That is not the case. You do not need to believe in God to work the OA program and have success in it.

I am convinced that I would have died from complications from obesity without OA. I am amazed that my body withstood fifty years of abuse due to my overeating. Now, I am grateful that I have quality time to spend with my family and friends.

To newcomers, I say give OA a try!

“S”

Grateful for Every Day ~ 5.3.2021

Life before OA was a great deal of discouragement and frustration over not being able to control my weight.  I tried diets galore and even Pay and Weigh programs. and was able to lose the weight but was not able to maintain it.  I’m sure I figured I just needed more willpower. 

I was 12th stepped into OA by a work colleague who had started the program and was eager to share it.  She said the best thing for me to do was to go to a meeting because she didn’t know how to explain it.  I went and was confused but kept coming back because the people I saw were hopeful and seemed happy to be there. 

My life now centers around working the program–the steps, traditions, meetings, and Higher Power plus, of course, the fellowship.  Even though I’ve been in program awhile I know the disease of compulsive eating is around the corner ready to take over again.  This is a simple program but it’s not easy.  We only have to work it one 24-hour period at a time. For example, I only have to be abstinent today–it’s all I have to work with anyway and tomorrow will take care of itself. 

For someone new in the program I’d say to just take it easy.  There’s no rush. Right now you are on Step One and that’s enough work to admit to oneself the powerlessness over food  and owning up to an unmanageable life. Continue to show up for meetings even if you don’t understand. Try to talk to others and ask them how they work their program. Be open. Not everything you hear will apply to you, but you’ll be surprised by how much does. 

Today I’ m grateful for a life where food doesn’t control my time, energy and soul.  I’ve been able to stay healthy for the most part, do things, travel, and still keep my abstinence.  My emotional life is not a series of highs and lows, obsessive thinking, resentment, and anger.  I’ve learned how to set boundaries and ask for what I want instead of expecting people to read my mind. One of the things we say is “I came for the vanity but stayed for the sanity.” Most importantly I found a Higher Power who is always there for me and a wonderful fellowship of friends who have enriched my life. 

“M”  

–40 years in program and grateful for every day