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Our Stories

Abstinence And Recovery From Overeating

By OA Member, Aug 14 2013 04:01PM

I spent my first three years in OA thinking that by diligently going to meetings, doing service, working with a sponsor and going through the 12 Steps, I would be able to stick to my food plan at the time which was three moderate meals a day and two snacks in between.

Without a doubt my life improved dramatically in these 3 years, but I couldn't stay abstinent for longer than a few weeks or months at a time. When I returned to my old ways with food the mental torture was worse than ever and I was worried that I was a hopeless case that would never find freedom.

After a particularly uncomfortable binge, while on holidays, I felt utterly at a loss as to what to do next. I met a lady at a meeting and she gave me some good advice... PRAY. A few days later I came across a group of OA members who seemed very 'sober'. Several of them hadn't eaten off their food plan in over 20 years. This was definitely something I wanted so I asked one of the members what they were doing.

This lady had an understanding of abstinence that I hadn't come across before. She didn't believe in trigger foods but rather believed that any food was a trigger if it wasn't on her food plan. Furthermore, her food plan didn't allow for any grey areas as it was all weighed and measured. She also believed that a compulsive overeater is absolutely powerless over the first bite and that no amount of will power is sufficient to prevent picking up the first bite, therefore a SURRENDER to the fact that she was completely powerless over food was essential.

Her food plan seemed dramatic and I didn't think I would be able to do what she had done to find abstinence. my spirit, however, had different plans as something happened to me that day 5 ½ years ago and I haven't had to take a bite off my weighed and measured food plan since.

This new found freedom from food allowed me to see clearly that I had little freedom from fear and resentment. I was at odds with almost everyone I came into contact with. I learned that the solution to this lay in the 12 steps, which promised, amongst other things, 'happiness' and 'freedom'. By surrendering to a Higher Power's will not mine the steps are slowly taking me to a place where I can give more and more without expecting anything in return. This new focus and way to live has given me a life better than anything I could have imagined.


Cork, Ireland