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Old 01-30-2009, 10:52 PM   #1  
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Default Former OAer, curious...

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?
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Old 01-31-2009, 07:40 PM   #2  
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I am in Southern California and have not noticed that perfection thing. The whole counting days of abstinence was really prevalent when I did CEA-HOW for a while. Alot of people are sugar addicts- I mean really really triggered by it- so it makes sort of sense to see sugar portrayed as the devil. I think there are less of us who are the salty crunchy fiends or just volume eaters. I take things with a grain of salt and it seems to work. Nobody is "in charge" so if a particular meeting gets odd I just go to different ones. Of course I am blessed to have lots of options here.
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Old 02-03-2009, 02:17 PM   #3  
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Hi there! I don't know how helpful this will be, as 1) I'm brand new to OA, and 2) can only attend online (no meetings in my area).

What I'm getting from others (& my sponsor) is that each of us gets to decide abstinence for herself. What sets me into a binge might be totally fine for someone else. I have seen a person or two "over the top" with restrictions, but I let that go. The whole obsessing thing is one of my problems, so I choose to abstain from "running a knife across the top of the measuring cup", as some have suggested. Are you kidding me? I had to un-install my nutrition software, I'm so obsessive with food control.

I do have a food plan (which I decided on with my sponsor's help), but I'm not being perfectionistic about it. My sponsor hasn't asked for that, instead letting me know that this is a learning process. Some things don't "click", but I'm keeping an open mind and trying to remain teachable. Gee, maybe I don't know it all! And as my mom says, from her years in AA, take what you need and leave the rest.

I agree that, at least for me, this is a spiritual problem and needs a spiritual solution. Joining OA is the first ray of hope in many years. Maybe I'll someday love & accept myself after all. What a concept.

Peace and love to you,
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Old 02-03-2009, 05:07 PM   #4  
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Take what you want and leave the rest!

All things in OA are suggestions, do them if you want if you don't don't. Some sponsers require you do certain things some don't, it's up to you if you want that person as a sponser. These things should be discussed before you accept each other as working together.

As you grow so will you're acceptance of things in OA and you will become more willing to do things that seem to be working for others.

IMHO we can all make as many excuses not to do something as we can to do it.

love in fellowship
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Old 02-20-2009, 08:50 PM   #5  
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Some people in the program are perfectionists but I realize that is their hang up not mine. My sponsor never makes me call in my food each day but I do talk with three sponsees who call me with their food at the end of the day,it works better for us. I have been to alot of meetings over the last months and now only go to the ones I feel comfortable with.
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Old 02-25-2009, 10:17 AM   #6  
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thin possible--I had a short stint with OA almost 2 years ago and those were my exact observations. It works exactly that way in my region. I do see how the program helps so many people, however, and that's wonderful. It just didn't work for me because of those reasons.

If you liked the support, but just not those aspects of the program, maybe you can find an OA meetings online or via telephone. I seem to remember there were a plethora of both.
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