Hi! I'm a former OAer. I worked the program for about 2 years. Did the steps, had a sponsor, did service, sponsored others, etc.
Though I liked the support, the literature, and many of the concepts (that food addiction is ultimately a spiritual problem, etc.) I felt shamed by a lot of the practices. I'm not saying that's the program's fault, or the people in program, I'm just saying that's how I felt. I especially had a hard time with:
1) Planning my food for the day, and calling it into my sponsor triggered me. I would often end up rebelling, and eating something different, and I didn't like having to call someone to change my plan. I felt like I was asking permission to eat something.
2) I didn't like the practice of counting days of abstinence, the way an alcoholic counts up days sober. It felt like a set up for perfectionism and ultimately defeat. If I had a slip I felt like a failure. I had to start "all over" when I was really making progress, just not completely linear.
3) In my region there was big emphasis on totally eliminating sugar, and junk food. Of course no one endorsed a food plan, but people talked about their experience, there seemed to be an unwritten rule about it. There's no doubt I'm a food addict. There's no doubt that I use food to medicate. But I don't think it's exactly like drugs or alcohol, and labeling some foods as "forbidden" is a trigger for me.
I guess I'm curious if you all have found these concepts prevalent in meeting in your part of the country, or if maybe it was just the area I was in. Or maybe I misunderstood what people were telling me about how I should practice the program.
What's been your experience, and have you felt an undercurrent of shame or perfectionism in the program?