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Old 10-15-2006, 10:01 PM   #1  
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Default Why so little recovery in OA

I've been a compulsive overeater for so many years and have been to so many OA meetings in many different cities. All this time, and I've never been able to find a sponsor because no one was ever recovered long enough to share their recovery. Why is there so little recovery in OA compared to AA? I've been to open AA meetings and they are joyous. I've often wished I could swap addictions...and get some real help. My insurance won't cover treatment for eating disorders but it would if I needed drug or alcohol treatment. I guess it's because compulsive eating isn't "visible" to people. People at work don't have a clue as to what my life is like when I walk out the door at 5:00. They know that while I was heavy when I started working several years ago and I've gained 30 pounds over the past 3 years...they don't know that ALL I do is go home, take my dog out, watch tv and binge almost every other night. I'm 57 and the bingeing is the worse it's been in my entire life...there are so many feelings I don't want to feel anymore; and because I don't have a future that's made up of many mor years (or at least when I was younger I could 'hope" things would get better and I really had time on my side...not anymore). I tried 3 different OA meetings here in Dallas...and asked for a sponsor in each one and while I got the names of people to one felt they could be a sponsor. Sorry...I've been bingeing all weekend and it's just getting worse and worse and I never thought it was possible that it could at this age.
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Old 10-15-2006, 10:47 PM   #2  
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I know what you mean. I thougth the same thing about OA meetings. I believe that the problem is that the focus is more on attending meetings than doing the recovery work. Have you read the AA Big Book? It takes more than just attending meetings and "purging our thoughts", at least it does for me. Then one thing I did get from OA is that I'm not alone! It's comforting to me to know that there are other people out there who act and feel the same ways that I do. I started my OA recovery after I got a job at an huge corporation. My title was Office Administrator. I ran around saying I'm an OA for 2 months before it dawned on me . . . I'm an OA - Overeater's Anonomous. I've been exposed to 12-step meetings for years - CODA, AA, Al-Anon. I never considered the idea that I might be an OA. I started seeking out OA meetings. The first meeting I attended was an on-line meeting. It felt wierd not to be face to face, but at least I was talking to others about my issues. Then I found this website and got into a thread called "21 Day Challenge". It suggested giving up something for 21 days and doing it with the support of the tread (abstinence). Well, I was an idiot at that time about posts and threads. I took the challenge, but I could never find the thread again to report my progress. I gave up sugar and alcohol. I was abstinent for over 40 days! During that time, I decided it was the on-line thing that was wrong. I thought I needed the face to face meeting, so I joined a few groups. I had the same confusion you expressed. If OA is so great then why arent these people achieving their goals. Then my life's situation changed (lost the OA job and went back to college full-time) and I couldn't attend my OA meetings anymore. So my progress stopped, not that I was actually loosing any weight. Last week I decided to give the on-line avenue another try. I found this site again and taught myself how to natigate around. I couldn't seem to get anywhere by just joining in with an ongoing thread, so I started my own thread: Support: Starting Over Again. Bingo, I got responses, the next thing I knew I was being invited to join a thread called "The first 10! Let's help each other get started!" I've been posting to that thread for a week, now. I've also been abstinent for a week. The point I guess I'm striving for with this narrative is that, at least for me, what it finally comes down to is my committment to myself. Abstinence is the key for me, and then sharing my adventure (thats the doing the work part in AA) to help someone else makes it read and keeps it going. The important thing, for me, is the knowing I'm not alone!!!
Thank you for your post.
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Old 10-15-2006, 11:30 PM   #3  
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Before we moved we had a family Dr. who said if you are trying to quit smoking or drinking or drugs or any other adiction, you STOP smoking, drinking or drugs...but with Eating Disorders, you can't stop eating... you have to eat to live.
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:30 AM   #4  
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Originally Posted by da fat n da furious View Post
Before we moved we had a family Dr. who said if you are trying to quit smoking or drinking or drugs or any other adiction, you STOP smoking, drinking or drugs...but with Eating Disorders, you can't stop eating... you have to eat to live.

ya.... i think you hit the nail on the head.... you can't just stop eating... can you imagine how many smokers or alcoholics there would be if they had to have cigarettes or alcohol every day and they had to try to exercise self control in how much they had? It's really easy for a lot of people to say things like "what's wrong with you? don't you have any self control?" but self control is not a simple concept and there is a lot more wrapped up in the concept of self control than people like to admit (especially when an addiction is involved)

Most people show at least a little empathy for smokers/alcoholics who try to quit, even if they fail and fat people get apathy at best, even though it's a lot harder.
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Old 10-16-2006, 01:44 AM   #5  
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Hi ladies,
I hope you don't mind if I make a comment, I was also in OA quite a while ago. One of my big habits was to go to a drive through and order 3 or 4 meals and change them just enough that it seemed like they were for other people and then proceeded to eat them in the car before I went home.

In program I was abstinent (changed many times)for about 4 years, lost about 120 pounds and then had to leave, much for the reasons many of you have cited. As they say, I was able to take what I liked and I left the rest. The philosophy and teachings have stayed with me. Unfortunately, the weight came back. I found my "motivations" and my plan were not enough.

Today, I find that without the structured program I have come full circle to a plan that would have been called the "green sheet" I believe many years ago. I think it is also used by food addicts. I no longer eat sugar, flour, or processed foods. It wasn't something that I set out to do on purpose, but came to through experimenting with my own body. Had I told myself one day that this was my goal, I don't think I would have been able to do it.

I also attended AA with my boyfriend at the time and loved those meetings. When presented with the comment about AAers not having to drink, they replied, "Oh yes we do, we simply don't drink alcohol". Something clicked in my head. Then I was told, "Yes, you have to eat, but you don't have to eat EVERYTHING!" They had obviously thought about this quite a bit. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I have never forgotten that. I wasn't ready for it at the time, but here I am spouting the same ideology. I don't eat what my body does not need. I eat whole, natural foods. My body does not need sugar, flour, processed salt, or processed foods. I don't eat them. That is my abstinence if someone wishes to call it that. I find that what I was told was true. Once I gave them up for a matter of weeks, I no longer craved them. I am not deprived, it is simply a non-issue for me. By the way, I work in a restaurant, so I know what temptation could be. It's not a problem.

Please don't accept the old, negative thoughts of it can't be done because we have to eat. That's one of the reasons I left. Go back to those AA meetings and ask them what they think. It can be done. It just has to be a conscious decision. Others may not choose to do so, but don't be caught saying it can't be done.
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Old 10-16-2006, 08:44 AM   #6  
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I agree with Karen. Go to Open AA meetings, you can go, I do. I love them. The only requirement for AA is not to drink. My sponser asked me do you want to drink, No because I do have an addictive personality, and my addiction can haunt me with anything that is addictive.
So I go, and I listen and believe me it has helped me tremendously. Please keep coming back here and posting, because I need everyones support. I have gone to the extreme of having surgery, and realize that I am a compulsive overeater.
Thank you all for posting
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Old 10-16-2006, 10:53 AM   #7  
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Wow - Karen! I stumbled on this thread by accident, but what you said about AA was just what I needed to hear. I've never thought about it that way - you're right, of course - they DO drink - water, coffee, milk...and even smokers have to put things in their mouths (just not cigarrettes). In an odd way that makes me feel less alone - everyone understands those addictions - food addiction seems so secret and sad. And your way of eating is exactly the way I want my life to be - clean, healthy and whole! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-16-2006, 11:49 AM   #8  
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You get out of it what you put into it.
When I listen to the folks at OA meetings who aren't experiencing recovery, they're the same people who aren't working the steps. The steps are the basis of the program. A person can work the steps without a sponsor. I don't recommend it, but if there is no sponsor available, it can be done. A person can call any OA member or post at this forum to be accountable to someone else. It comes down to whether YOU want it and are willing to work it. It has nothing to do with anyone else's recovery, having a sponsor, having a face to face meeting to go to, or anything else that is outside of themself.

When AA first started, there were no sponsors. There were meetings in only two cities in the country. The foundation of AA was working the steps in the Big Book. It's the same in OA. The other tools that we have like sponsorship, meetings, etc. help a lot, but they are not necessary for recovery. I don't want to give up the tools that I use because I love them, they bring me joy, and they help, but I could continue my abstinence and recovery without them.
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Old 10-16-2006, 08:50 PM   #9  
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"Oh yes we do, we simply don't drink alcohol". Something clicked in my head
Thank you so much for your reply and this quote. I was rereading my original message and it just sounded very victimish...and when I got to your reply I was just blown away by your message. We all can make choices. I had just always thought that an alcoholic had it so much easier (not that I want it harder for them!!), but your message just made it clear for me that its about choice...and lots of prayer. Thanks for your post.
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Old 10-18-2006, 02:37 AM   #10  
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Originally Posted by cantforgetthis View Post

I also attended AA with my boyfriend at the time and loved those meetings. When presented with the comment about AAers not having to drink, they replied, "Oh yes we do, we simply don't drink alcohol". Something clicked in my head. Then I was told, "Yes, you have to eat, but you don't have to eat EVERYTHING!"

I'm so gald you said that. You're exactly right, the problem with compulsive overeating is not that you eat, it's how and why you eat. That is the behavior that has to change, not the eating itself. It is really hard to do, but it can be done.
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