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Old 04-22-2002, 05:16 PM   #1  
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Default My First OA Meeting

I went to my first OA meeting today. It was held at a church I'd never noticed on my ventures through the city. When I pulled up, it was obvious kids were on their way to somewhere but I didn't see any "round people" like myself. I finally asked a skinny mother if they still held the OA meetings there and she pointed to the room across the hall and said, "In there." So, I hung around for what seemed forever. I finally thought no one was going to show so I started towards the parking lot. I saw a plump woman get out of her van and head towards the direction I had just come from. Thinking that maybe she was coming to the meeting, I turned back around and went inside.

Turns out that she was a 3 month member who only felt comfortable going strictly by the rules. She didn't want to answer any of my questions because those moments were for "after the meeting". She pulled out a notebook that instructs you on how to "lead" the meeting and we began. First of all, I'm not a religious person. It's not that I don't believe in a higher power but I don't think of it often and I don't attend church (just another issue of the many I seem to have). So, she and I, the only attendees, began the meeting with a prayer. I know, I know. Having the meeting in a church should have given something away but I was secretly hoping that this wouldn't be a "coming-to-jesus" meeting.

After the prayer, she read from the instruction book and another member entered the room. She was a large woman with a motherly way about her and a reassuring smile. She was obviously a veteran as she came in the room and, basically, took over. It turns out she was a retired teacher and she loves to talk. She would read a little and then, like an AA meeting, she would say, "Hello, my name is ---- and I'm a compulsive eater." All of us would say, "Hello, -----." I noticed that before anyone spoke they would state their name and declare themselves a compulsive eater. I kept getting the "look" from the one who went by the book everytime I would forget to introduce myself (which was often). Another member came in as well and she, too, was a veteran. She seemed really nice and from that point forward we all took turns reading from a book. The book spoke of abstinence, a higher power and the experiences of a woman going through the OA process. There was talk of tools and what-not that I didn't understand.

Overall, the meeting was hot, uncomfortable on a number of levels and I wasn't really in the loop on the lingo. Finally, at the end of the meeting, I got a chance to ask the retired teacher about OA and she gave me some newcomer pamphlets. The best part about the meeting? The end. Actually, I mean that literally in that at the end of the meeting (after the prayer and some cheerleading), there were hugs all around. From someone who's isolated a majority of the time, it's nice to receive a hug every now and then, even if it's a stranger. The hugs and the friendly chatter between myself and the retired school teacher was very pleasant and made me think that I just may try another meeting. It took so long for me to attend the first one that I'm not sure how disciplined I'll be going back though.

What struck me was that it was almost like attending a Weight Watchers meeting with religion thrown in. I was expecting more of a support group than anything else. There was talk of food plans, abstaining from sweets, etc. and admissions of guilt from the weekend binges. All of that would actually have been okay except for the rules. I didn't feel that I was in a relaxed atmosphere where I could chat freely or ask questions about what the others were sharing. I can sit at home and "share" and get the same feeling as I did during the meeting. I was looking for understanding and some semblence of empathy but I never saw that between the participants so I kept my "sharing" to myself.

Well, I know this was lengthy but I just wanted to share in the event someone else comes to this forum in the hopes of hearing someone else's experience of OA. If I make it to another meeting, and I know I should give it another try, I will let you know how it goes without being so wordy.

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Old 04-23-2002, 07:14 AM   #2  
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I admire you for going!!! You said you were going and you did. Maybe if you go back the experience will be better as you get more information.

I have just ordered some Overeaters books used on Amazon.

I wondered on your meeting about how many people ended up being there.

Are you going to try again?

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Old 04-23-2002, 06:59 PM   #3  
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Thanks for your post! Actually, only four total people showed. Of course, it was a Monday at 12:30pm so I suspect a lot of people were at work. I know I need to give it another try but you how conveniently life gets in the way when you find you should be doing something to better yourself. So, we'll see.

I prematurely sent both previous posts because when I first came to this site looking for OA experiences, I only glanced around at the subject titles. Obviously, I didn't take a better look at some of these posts or I would have found some helpful information about OA. I did the thorough looking after I had posted both messages. I feel like such a heel.

Anyway, I would love to hear your take on the books you bought from Amazon. If you feel they are worth taking a look at, I will certainly give it a shot. And, if I get to another meeting, I will certainly let you know how it went.

Thanks again and take care of yourself, Elaine!

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Old 04-24-2002, 09:40 AM   #4  
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Hi Michelle,

I am glad you went, too (I read your post before last), although I think it was not an undivided pleasure after all (the religion thing).
If you think you should keep on going, do so, but also keep your eye out for the articles and links on this site. You could learn a lot about food and yourself. Just don't lose heart, we know you can do it (and you know it, too!).

Hang in there, let us know how you are doing

Vassiliki from Athens, Greece (long way off, but close enough...)

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Old 05-03-2002, 09:49 AM   #5  
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I, too, find the OA reliance on a higher power uncomfortable. There's another group called Smart Recovery that keeps the religiosity out of the support for overeaters and others with addictions. There aren't many groups out there yet, but perhaps there's one in your area.

Good luck!!

Last edited by Venus Envy; 05-06-2002 at 10:48 AM.
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