My name is Ellen C. from Waltham. I am a compulsive overeater, and this is my story. I came to Overeaters Anonymous in July of 2015. While I wasn’t at my ideal weight, I had been protecting a 70 pound weight loss for many years. My younger son was experiencing some serious issues, and I was terrified that stress and anxiety would result in my regaining the considerable weight I had lost. My therapist suggested OA. While I was familiar with 12 step programs, including OA, it had never crossed my mind that OA could provide a solution to my compulsive overeating.

I approached my first meeting with mild trepidation, but also with optimism and hope. I was greeted warmly, welcomed graciously and immediately felt safe and secure. Seven years later, that Wednesday meeting remains one of my committed meetings.

I found a food sponsor to report my food plan to daily. I knew I needed to “do the process” with a Big Book Step Study sponsor (BBSS) to achieve the maximum benefit of the program. That entailed working the 12 steps in the AA book. With stable abstinence, about six months into program, I asked someone to sponsor me.

When we began Step 4, it became clear that I needed a different sponsor. The person I asked to sponsor me through steps 4-12 turned out to be the perfect match. She was kind and gentle, understanding, and empathic, but also able to push back and set limits when appropriate. I knew what I needed and God provided. I began step 4 with enthusiasm because I knew this step was the doorway through which I needed to walk to achieve the serenity which I craved.

It took about two years to complete my fourth step, including resentments and the fear and sex inventories. The fear inventory was the most emotionally stressful part of the process. I was aware of my fears, but doing the inventory opened my eyes to the impact they had on my life. I had to acknowledge the paralysis they caused; the feeling of not having choices, the inability to stand up for myself, staying in unhealthy relationships. My fears, some related directly to my weight, impacted my life in ways painful to acknowledge.

Fast forward to today. I am living a life I never dreamed possible. I am happy and content. My relationships with family, friends, God, and myself are honest, loving, and joyful. When problems arise, and they do, I have the means with which to deal with them in a healthy way. I have been able to detach with love from relationships that were flawed. I found a fellowship in OA, friendships that will last forever. I am grateful every day for the blessings that I know would not be mine had I not taken Overeaters Anonymous into my life.