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Old 11-27-2001, 09:05 PM   #1
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Hi. I am new to this website and very happy to find OA on the boards. I have been a recovering member of OA for 11 years and am maintaining a weight loss of 79 pounds. I truly believe this program is so much more than the numbers, but numbers are so important to newcomers. The only reason I came thru the meeting doors was to lose weight. The weight coming off is minimal compared to the joy I have found in my heart. I am looking forward to meeting each of you and learning about your recovery.
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Old 11-28-2001, 09:53 PM   #2
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Hi. I have just started going to meetings. I have been to three so far (I was told I should go to at six to decide if it's for me). Could you tell me a bit about your program. What is your food plan? I hear people talk about different plans but I can't tell exactly what they do. I would appreciate any information you can give me so that when and if I decide to get a sponsor, I will know a little about what to expect Thanks.
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Old 11-28-2001, 10:46 PM   #3
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Hi LMAC, my name is Betsy and it is very nice to meet you. So glad you have found your way to OA. My program has changed hundreds of times since joining OA! As I said I started with just making the change to three meals a day with nothing in between, (except water, decaf tea, diet stuff to drink). Then it evolved to three 'healthy' meals a day!! I tried to make better lowfat food choices, I think I eliminated cheese from my sandwiches and butter from my bread to start...It took a long time to feel comfortable and to realize I was not dieting, but just relaxing with the food and using it to fuel my body instead of numbing my mind and my body with it. I was learning that I could handle my day to day life without overeating. Overeating hasn't given me the same pleasure since joining OA and I have tested that theory!! My recovery did not happen overnight but I was not the same after my first meetings. I wanted what those people had and was determined to get it, but I wanted to lose weight FIRST!! I focused on my physical recovery only initially, not the entire threefold program of physical, emotional and spiritual...it is still an evolving process and my program is far from perfect. Everyone will have a different concept of abstinence and recovery. I was like a sponge and just absorbed all I could from everyone and the literature until I found out what worked for me. It changes from time to time and I just try to accept whatever is happening and go with it instead of fighting it. I would encourage you to get a sponsor soon, I delayed initially thinking I had to 'learn' the program first. Looking back, I realize I really needed a face to face person to help me understand. Find someone who has something you want and ask them how he/she is acheiving it...and remember you can change sponsors anytime, there is no obligation to stick with the same person. People change and we all understand that in program. Please remember that there is no right or wrong to this program. But truly, the program only works if you work it. Do it at your own pace and move along as you feel comfortable. I think you will find some peace here in OA.
Good luck to you and please write again with your progress. I would love to hear from you.
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Old 11-29-2001, 12:32 AM   #4
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Thanks for your quick and informative reply. You are very successful to have maintained a huge weight loss such as yours for so long. It does say a lot for the program. Are you at goal? Another question - how do you work the spiritual side of the program if you are not particular a spiritual person? I am not a religious person and I do not pray. I do not want to either. How would this be accepted from the person would be become my sponsor if that person felt differently? Would we not work well together? Is everyone open-minded about others beliefs? Also, what if your definition of abstainance is different than your sponsors? Thanks for answering my questions.
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Old 11-29-2001, 10:35 PM   #5
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Hi.
Yes, I am at goal weight, fluctuate 5 pounds either way sometimes, but that is okay for me.

When I joined OA, I was certainly not a religious person. I did not attend church or pray. Someone told me that I could actually use the OA group as my higher power. So I did that for a long time. Here was a whole group of people who obviously knew more than me and had things that I wanted, weight loss, peace of mind, they were smiling. I have met people who are athiest who practice the twelve steps. It is not religion, it is spirit. I believe my spirit is my inner core, a quiet place within my own mind where I can clearly think and make decisions. A lot of people say this is intuition. Some say intuition is God...who decides? I do, you do...we all make our own decisions. Sponsors should not judge, only help you up to the level of their own experience. Talk to lots of people and you will get many responses. I am a firm believer in "take what you like and leave the rest". Learn and use what you can from others, you will get pieces and parts of your recovery from many people. You really will be able to answer all of your questions in time...it is an amazing experience. Enjoy it and stay in touch...
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Old 11-29-2001, 11:43 PM   #6
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What a warm response. You seem like a very nice person and I'm so glad you have peace with yourself. Something bothers me about walking up to one of those people who offered to be sponsors at the beginning of the meeting. I feel funny for some reason. Like do I just walk up to that person and say would you be my sponor? Then will she just give me her number? I would rather not get calls at home because I'm not ready to share with my family. Is that OK? Thanks for being here.
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Old 12-01-2001, 04:07 PM   #7
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Hi. Of course that is okay...that is the main reason I withheld from getting a sponsor early on and sponsoring others. Your relationship with your sponsor should be unique to the two of you. It is awkward to ask, but those who are sponsoring are eager for people to ask them. It broadens their program also. You probably will swap phone numbers, but you can also set up "boundries" to ease into things...maybe you want to call her only twice a week, it certainly does not have to be every day. You can ask to call, or be called at specific times convenient for you, when you can break from your family for a few minutes. I worked with a sponsor who did 'writing assignments' with me. I preferred that to the telephone. It seemed more personal to me and I could share my thoughts on the topic or not...whatever was comfortable. I really had to start small opening up to others. I am still very private about my weight and program. That is why I love the internet and communicating this way. In person, we may never have shared these conversations. But in talking face to face, I found a different kind of acceptance that I was not alone in my troubles. You also could just say that you are not ready for a sponsor, but could you call them if you have specific questions or concerns in between meetings. Even people who are not 'official' sponsors are often willing to do that. Remember that all of those people were new once to and had the same apprehensions you are experiencing. Let me know how you make out...take care. Betsy
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Old 12-02-2001, 06:51 PM   #8
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Hi Betsy, thanks for responding. I just get the warmest feeling from OA members - at meetings and here on line with you. Another question - how many meetings do you attend a week (at the beginning and now after 11 years)? I'm thinking that two might work for me (as far as my schedule) but I'm getting the feeling that a lot of people go more often than that. Did you feel you needed more meetings at the beginning and that now you need to go less? Do you still have a sponsor? Do you sponsor people? If you have sponsored people, could you give me an exapmle of a typical first conversation with them on the phone? You don't know how fortunuate I feel you have you to ask questions to. Thanks a million.
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Old 12-02-2001, 07:56 PM   #9
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Hello! I enjoy our conversations too! Thanks!

Initially, I started with two a week...Monday/Thursday. I was very lucky to be in an area with lots of meetings. When I was really struggling, I attended more meetings...as many as 5 weekly. I found I always felt so much better afterward a meeting. Just being reminded that I was okay and not alone was wonderful. I have just relocated to NC and haven't found an OA meeting here yet. There is one at 9am on Thursdays, but I work. I have procrastinated going to AA...always finding excuses! Too busy, too tired...etc. Talking with you is reminding me of how important face to face recovery can be. I go to online meetings about three times a week, but it is no replacement for in person.

I do not have a sponsor currently, but I talk with my sister and my online group as things crop up. I never sponsored anyone directly. I shared in meetings and would try to call newcomers, but never went into full sponsorship. I am sure that had to do with the privacy issues we discussed. It may be something I pursue as I get into meetings here...you have given me lots to think about...about how far am I truly ready to go in recovery.

Are you sharing in your meetings? Are you relating with what others are saying? It can be a very exciting time. Keep in touch!
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Old 12-03-2001, 06:55 AM   #10
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No I have not shared in any meeting. I can't imagine doing it either. I do find it encouraging to listen to the others. Where are on-line meetings? What are they like? Let me know. I'm feeling really excited about this program. I'm going to a meeting this morning at 9:30 (I work nights). I'm hoping to hook up with a sponsor this morning. How do you find yourself getting along without meetings and without a sponsor? How do you stay successful? Once you make that move into abstaintance, do you pretty much get in a mind set to stay there? I'm interested in your long-term success. Thanks.
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:19 PM   #11
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Hi LMAC, sorry to miss a day! Hope you are doing well...just keep listening, and one day your heart will want to share something with the group. No rush there. Were you able to connect with a sponsor? What was that like? Life without meetings is harder that life with meetings...I love to attend and just see others in my situation, facing challenges and succeeding. It really helps bolster my self esteem and program. The OA program just becomes my way of living...the thrill of overeating is gone and the more progress I make without food as a crutch, the more progress I want to make. That has been my experience. Each person is different. Like you, however, I have not been very willing to open up to people on a personal level. But, my weight loss, my emotional state and spiritual mind are much better than 10 years ago. It came down to making choices about myself, the food I chose to eat, the reactions I chose to have, the motivation level I wanted to succeed. I still have to make hard choices everyday, I work in a vet office and we get Christmas food from clients daily now! Hard to resist, yes, but I would rather not have to lose the weight again! It has been hard enough! Anyway, good luck with your program...stay in touch and take care!
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Old 12-05-2001, 05:36 PM   #12
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Thanks for your reply. I was anxiously awaiting it. I did approach someone today to be my sponsor. I felt funny but was glad I did it. She said to me, "I will be your sponsor but you have to know what I do and you would need to do the same". (I guess in order for her to benefit from helping me, she wants to sponsor only those who do what she does. That is, 3 meals a day, nothing in between, no sugar or flour (including whole wheat), 3 calls per day (the first one being at 6:30 a.m.), and 4 meetings a week (one of which she attends as well). Well, I was pretty overwhelmed but at the same time I feel like "my goodness, here is someone willing to help me, be in my life to coach me and catch me if I fall. I feel I would be foolish to pass it up. I suppose I could look for someone else who says, do what you want as long as you pick a plan and stick to it, have no requirements for phone calls or meetings but I really do wonder which I would be better off with. What is your feel? I'm feeling scared about the finality of these changes.
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Old 12-05-2001, 06:04 PM   #13
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Way to go! I am proud of you! She sounds very serious about her program and serious in wanting to help others. It is always scary to make a commitment, but it sounds like a good place to start. You must have been drawn to her recovery and her program to ask her to sponsor you, so I say just jump in and see where it takes you...see what you can draw from her on a one to one basis and how it fits into your life...remember that you can change or add sponsors at will, so you are not entering into a lifelong commitment. Good for you, LMAC...you really won't know what methods will work for you until you try out a few...so have fun and enjoy yourself in this new adventure! Talk to you again soon...
Betsy
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Old 12-05-2001, 06:38 PM   #14
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Yes, I was drawn to her. I liked what I saw and heard. She looks about my age (early 40's). She is tall, but tiny. I mean she has a tiny waist and is just tiny all over. When she got up and spoke, she said that 242 was her highest. I just couldn't imagine it. I don't weigh that much (actually closer to 200) but I fantasize about being tiny. Maybe I'll never be tiny, but I won't know unless I try. She also lives only in the next town over. Maybe I will call her tomorrow or at least over the weekend. I'm just afraid. Maybe a little intimidated by her. Also a little afraid that I may feel angry at her telling me what to do. Exciting and scary at the same time. Thanks so much for cheering me on. Could ask you a bit about your food plan? Is it that strict?
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Old 12-05-2001, 06:59 PM   #15
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My only advice, from what I have witnessed in program, is to be willing to try anything. I know how scared you are, I remember like it was yesterday, but really, once you make the call, just like when you went to your first meeting, you will feel empowered. And please remember that individual programs vary widely. There is no 'diet' plan, no 'exercise' plan, no 'sponsor' rules. Sponsors give up to the level of their own experience, that is really all they have to work with. I am sure once you speak with her personally and discuss your own situations, you can reach a good starting point for you. Call tomorrow! If you wait, you are only delaying your own progress!!

I just turned 40 this year and recently a long term relationship ended. I moved to NC to be closer to my family and 'start over' yet again...my food plan has really been just to eat three meals a day, minimum snacks/dessert items...I have not really had a 'plan' for some time, just guidelines I know I need to stick with to maintain. Initially, for at least 5 years, I did as your sponsor, 3 meals/nothing in between...gradually reducing fat and reducing portion size. I am making a decision to be a vegetarian, (will still eat fish/seafood). So now I am eating Total breakfast cereal, soy milk and fruit for breakfast, usually will eat out for lunch, and dinner is a potluck of veggie/soy burger/fruit...I am single, so my habits leave a lot to be desired. That is part of the reason for going vegetarian, to eat a healthier diet overall...but again, I am just being willing to try and see where it leads me...

I will look forward to hearing from you again...
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