Lost in the Overeaters Anonymous Wilderness

by Bill Brenner on August 22, 2012

I’ve explained how food is my addiction — an uncool addiction at that. I’ve written about how Overeaters Anonymous (OA) was my salvation from that addiction. And I’ve told you I’ve been living the 12 Steps of Recovery.

Now it’s time to tell you about my summer of going astray, and how I don’t completely regret it.

Mood music:


I’ve kept my eating clean most of the time, though I’ve gotten sloppy in spots. I’ve eaten many meals outside the home and away from the little scale I use to weigh out my portions. I’m sure some of those meals have exceeded the limit I’m supposed to be living by. Meanwhile, all the vegetables in my diet have left my Crohn’s Disease–scarred insides irritable.

My bigger failure, though, is that I haven’t gone to an OA meeting or spoken to my sponsor in months. For all I know, he decided he was no longer my sponsor a long time ago.

This turn of events isn’t about laziness and a broken will. It’s about discontent.

A while ago, I started to get annoyed by parts of the program. I didn’t feel like I was getting much use from calling a sponsor every day at the same time. That’s probably because I wasn’t being honest about the number of meetings I was attending or what I was eating. I was eating cleanly, but not according to the exact menu I gave the sponsor each morning. That’s technically a no-no.

I got sick of the meetings because it would be the same people saying the same things, over and over.

It started to feel like a cult to me. So I rebelled.

I’ve thought about calling my sponsor and asking for another chance, but I never get around to it. Part of me doesn’t want the second chance. Sponsorship is an important tool of recovery, a guide to coach you along and get you past moments of weakness. But some sponsors seem to let their role go to their heads and demand a lot more control over your life than they should be entitled to. Or so I’ve told myself.

And OA has its fiefdoms, just like any other group. There are the newbies, the people who can’t get it together, and the gurus who seem to have figured it all out. Or so I’ve told myself.

You know how it is when you’re frustrated with something: You zero in on all the negative elements and develop memory loss when it comes to all the things that worked.

So here I am, frustrated. But I’m also making excuses not to do the things I really need to be doing for real recovery. Maybe that’s really what this post is about — coming clean about my sins and resolving to get over myself and get my program back on track.

I don’t totally regret any of this. Four years after attending my first OA meeting and trying to do the program exactly as instructed by others, I’m still in a much better place than when I was sneaking around every day binging on everything in sight. Life is good. I’ve simply reached a point where my program needs a big overhaul.

Maybe I’ll call the sponsor today.

Food Coma

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jada April 3, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I know where you are. I left OA 5 years ago for all those reasons and then some. Gained all my weight back, feel like crap and came crawling back in November 2012. Still struggling to ‘get it’ back, I wish I’d never given ‘it’ up. I have to see all the reasons I don’t want to go as my ego trying it’s best to kill me. I have a great group, not perfect, but they keep showing up. Onwards and Upwards… God help me!

annelise October 7, 2013 at 9:29 am

Thanks both really good to read your thoughts, am in OA have lost 6 stone and am just coming to Step 12. Feeling rebelious, perhaps because my Crohns Disease has flared up. Also I now recognise the individual effort that has to be maintained to remain abstinent. I can see that if I stepped away I would simply eat myself back that six stone and some. Where I am now is not ideal but it’s a damned sight more constructive for me, than having me obsession about the next sweet or savoury fix. I hope you find the strength to do what you need to. It’s a pain in the arse but if you know you are a compulsive eater then, you like I need something to help you negociate the mind field of grub surrounding us, on the tv, in advertising, from all the eateries etc. Remember it’s just for one day.

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