We recover together or not at all. This is the “we” in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
OA is not an “I” program. I tried the “I” program. It was all I knew; wasn’t I supposed to apply my
will to problems and overcome them? But my food issues were impervious to my efforts. I was
And I stayed stuck until I was brought to a place so desperate, I asked for help. I was willing to
accept the help proffered, and though it didn’t really help despite all my efforts, I kept trying. I
found solace in the Fellowship, companionship in the disease. Going through the Steps,
particularly Step Nine, freed me from decades of guilt. I felt lighter than ever—I even lost my
excess weight. But I found no serenity until I cast my net more broadly. I went to the phone
meetings, and that’s where I found the OA-HOW Two-Hour format.
I felt attracted to the light and serenity I heard in people’s voices in those meetings. So, despite
my doubts, despite my conviction that it couldn’t possibly work, I tried this OA format. Though it
still makes no sense to me, I am still doing it seven years later. I don’t need to understand it; I
just need to do it. With others. Every moment I do what we say we do in our meeting—every
call, every meeting, every blog post—grants me recovery from active food addiction, one
moment at a time.
When I’d been in the driver’s seat, there was an insane driver guiding my life with food. I had to
step away and give up control to someone who could make sane food decisions for me. The
OA-HOW Two-Hour Format showed me how to do this. It’s a shared solution that entails full
surrender over food. My dietician makes my food choices for me. She decides how much and
when and what I should eat. My sponsor witnesses my food before I eat it. Another sponsor who
follows this format makes any in-the-moment food decisions for me when they arise. So, I’m just
along for the ride with respect to the food I consume. As such, I live in abstinence—one moment
at a time.
My OA-HOW meeting offers me serenity with food and the solidarity that comes from a shared
solution: a Twelve Step program, for people powerless over food, that works for me.
— John-Eric R., Weybridge, Vermont USA