Loved Back into Life
When I came to OA weighing about 125 pounds (57 kg), I was bingeing daily on sugar and carbohydrates. Because I have a high metabolism and a thyroid issue, I have rarely been overweight.
I had my first experience with OA when I was 19. My friends in college did an intervention with me because they had seen me not eat during the day, then binge at night. My roommate took me to what could have been my first OA meeting, but I was too ashamed to go in. I sat in her car and sobbed. The people entering the building were heavier than I; I was sure they would not believe how I was eating or would be angry with me for looking normal.
Shameful eating filled the eleven years after my first invitation to OA: hiding while bingeing, taking food from others, almost crashing the car while opening packages of food, making rituals of eating bags and boxes of food. I must remember this history so I will not repeat it. I do not miss those behaviors.
By God’s grace, a group of wonderful women introduced me to OA meetings and the Twelve Steps. They loved me when I could not love myself and told me I could develop a new relationship with food.
One day at a time, I have had thirteen years of back-to-back abstinence, thanks to OA and thanks to being loved back into life. Eating healthy meals, I still weigh the same as when I joined OA. My sponsor had different issues with food than I, but I chose her because she achieved abstinence by using the Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.) For nine years, she was willing to listen to me call my food in every day. What a blessing from my Higher Power. When she passed away three years ago, I made a commitment to speak to my sponsee daily, just as my sponsor had done for me.
I still hear comments outside and even inside the Fellowship that I could not possibly belong to OA. Some people even call me skinny, reminding me of the pain I felt when teased for my thinness as a child. The emphasis on weight loss can feel exclusive to people like me. Standing before my loving Higher Power and OA, I am a normal size. I eat three abstinent meals a day and usually at least two snacks, depending on my activity level. I accept that I am a normal-sized, beautiful woman, not a normal eater. I have a new relationship with food based on healthy eating and living. OA has welcomed me home.
— Reprinted from Lifeline magazine