A Whirlwind of Miracles
To say OA has changed my life is a huge understatement. The fact that I am alive to write this is testimony to the miracle of OA. A little more than a year ago, I weighed 360 pounds (164 kg) and was unemployed and suicidal. I wanted to take a knife and cut the fat off my body. I didn’t care if I lived or died; I just wanted to be thin. I could not take the pain, guilt and shame any longer.
Diets had failed for me. I thought I was the only person in the world without willpower, who could eat until the point of passing out. I would “turbo binge” for a few hours, sleep it off and then start the cycle over again—three to four times a day. I didn’t clean my apartment, bathe, or care about anything. I only went out in public to buy more food. I hit bottom one day last spring when I held a knife to myself, tears streaming down my face, begging God for the courage to go through with it.
Instead, God showed me an OA ad in the newspaper. It had always been there, but I had never noticed it before. In the following weeks, God showed me that ad a few more times until I finally drove to the meeting. I only caught the last 15 minutes, but I immediately felt at home. For the first time I heard other people who knew what I was going through. Nobody laughed or judged. It was a beautiful experience. When the meeting was over, I wanted to duck out, but God wouldn’t let me move. The people at the meeting came up to me and hugged me. I knew they loved me more than I loved myself.
My eating immediately improved after that first meeting. I still binged, but not nearly to the extent I had been. Then the miracle happened: I was at an OA retreat and realized I hadn’t had any sugar (and thus hadn’t binged) for a week! Before, I could not go more than five minutes before giving in to a sugar craving; a week without sugar was a miracle for me. At first I only worked the physical aspect of the program. I just wanted to lose weight, and it came off rapidly. I stuck with the OA program but didn’t work the Steps well.
After I lost about 50 pounds (23 kg), I hit a plateau. I was upset, but I never wanted to go back to the sugar, and I knew if I started bingeing again, I would be a suicidal mess shortly thereafter. Other OA members reminded me that the illness, and therefore recovery, is threefold, and I couldn’t focus on just the physical aspect. They said my weight loss would come in God’s time, and I would risk everything by trying to control it myself.
I began working on my character defects, especially insecurity and resentment. I also began a new job and started to feel better about myself. People commented about my weight loss; some even told me I glowed. After I did my Fourth and Fifth Steps, I was eager to move on with my program. Suddenly I didn’t feel so bad about the things I had done in the past and eaten over. I knew it was harmful for me to let those things linger in my mind, and I wanted to clean my side of the street.
The next few months were a whirlwind of miracles. I forgave the people against whom I had held grudges and forgave myself for the damage I had caused my mind and body. When I made my amends, I found people more receptive and forgiving than I had thought possible. My trust in God and other people grew every day. After years of being sedentary, I joined a gym to get the exercise I needed. I quit smoking cold turkey with no cravings. I met a fantastic man who has become one of my best friends and who treats me with the respect and dignity I thought for so long I didn’t deserve. The list goes on and on.
This week, I realized one of my biggest character defects was gone. I have had some bad luck in my work history—two layoffs in less than a year followed by long periods of unemployment. The prospect of unemployment made me feel insecure even when I had a job. The contract for my current job ends this month, and funding cuts ensure no hope for renewal. I used to send out resumes for every job I was remotely qualified for. This time I applied only for the one job for which I thought I would be perfect. They called me for an interview the day I sent my resume and hired me this week. I start as soon as my current contract ends.
Today my physical weight loss is 123 pounds (56 kg), and my mental weight loss is immeasurable. I am happier than I have ever been and feel closer to God, others and myself. Tomorrow I will celebrate one year of abstinence, if God wills it. I thank God every day for showing me the OA ad instead of allowing me to kill myself. I know I am lucky to be led to OA. I don’t know why God chose me for this miracle, but I want to make sure I keep it.
— Reprinted from Lifeline magazine