Thinking about joining Overeaters Anonymous was really overwhelming. But joining OA in the age of the pandemic on Zoom was even scarier! That was the challenge I undertook on May 20, 2020. As I soon learned in OA, I had come to the intersection of desperation and willingness. I learned that my life was referred to as “unmanageable.” No denying it. I realized almost immediately that gravity was pulling me into OA. Overeaters Anonymous was to become my saving grace.

Early 2020, life was taking a toll on me. A new therapist suggested that I join OA on Zoom just to check out what OA was all about. I told her that I was never able to stick with a diet, but she promised it wasn’t just diet. I didn’t have anything to lose so the next day I logged in at Noon. From that day forward, I knew I found a place where I belonged. To my amazement, the meetings had little to do with discussing food and more to do with sharing feelings. By listening to genuine, authentic and meaningful shares from fellow OA’ers, my feelings started to overwhelm me. I had been sad for so long and these people understood how I felt about life. But hold the phone – I was never good at sharing my feelings! Maybe I could just listen forever.

I join at least five OA meetings a week. Mostly OA 90-day meetings where it is strongly suggested* you have 90 days abstinence to share. I thought I’d never get to 90 days of abstinence so I was safe. But to my surprise, I finally asked someone to be my sponsor. Along with the therapist, this is the second person that helped change my life in 2020. Before I knew it, I was 90 days abstinent. How did that happen? *(editor’s note—MBI Bylaws)

Everyone says you have to use all the OA tools to stay abstinent and they’re right. There have been not so great days that turned out much better when I sat for a half hour and wrote about what was on my mind. There have been times when I called someone to say “Hi” and it’s perfect timing because they needed a little “pick me up.” For me, the most important two tools are service and sponsorship. Service is a feeling of giving to others without expecting anything in return. What a GREAT feeling. I learned one of the most important ways to do service is to qualify. As scared as I was to speak at a meeting, I was just as gratified to do service and qualify. As my sponsor reminded me, I was not going to die from speaking…lol. Now I speak more frequently.

Next is sponsorship. I admire sponsors. They give of themselves to help others. I’m really thankful for my sponsor. First, she has stuck with me during some hard times. But mostly she’s there for me every day to reinforce my program. I’m continuingly reminded that me and my program come first in my life. If I’m doing my best to work my program, everything else will be ok. Why is it so hard to put myself first?

Lastly, I celebrated my birthday on February 27th. It was my first birthday as a fellow in Overeaters Anonymous. It was the first time in many birthdays that I woke up with my heart & soul filled with joy, happiness and optimism. Oh, I can’t forget that I’m thankful to have God in my life, too. Spirituality is part of my new foundation built in 2020.