There are so many opportunities in OA to give back what we have been given. I have been inspired by members who have shared their Step 12 goals in meetings and then achieved them. A member in one of my meetings persistently looks for opportunities to give service and makes outreach calls to others who have stopped coming. As a result of this service, the meeting has grown.

My recovery began 2 years ago when OA members were willing to call me, become my friend, and give me the support I needed to rebuild my life. Feeling cared about motivated me to become abstinent and use the tools. I noticed that people who had what I wanted were committed to service at their local intergroup, and I followed their example. Giving service greatly reduced my sense of isolation - the main reason I ate compulsively.

When I first joined OA, my service was simply attending meetings. Since then, I have discovered many exciting ways to contribute. I have been a key holder, treasurer and IG Secretary; created meeting signs; set out literature; greeted newcomers; led meetings; made telephone calls; and sent texts. I am grateful to other IG members who trained me along the way. As a current NoVa IG representative, I delight in carrying the message of recovery back to my local meetings. My favorite service is carpooling to meetings! The time I spend talking face to face with OA members teaches me more about honesty and friendship and strengthens my recovery.

Serving others is helping me get better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Knowing I am not alone in my addiction has made the difference. Instead of having a pity party for one, I try to use the telephone to have an empowerment party for two. I am powerless over food, but with the help of OA I am learning to value myself in good times and bad. I am making progress and need others to listen while I reason things out. I want to take good care of myself and get better so I can continue to help others.

Why service? I want to feel a genuine connection to my fellows while improving my emotional and spiritual health. Recovery begins by recognizing my value and finding ways to use my experience to help others. I am maintaining a normal body weight, having lost more than 50 pounds. This is the first article I have written for OA, and I am excited about the new opportunities to come. “Keep coming back. It works if you work it. Give a lot of love and service and don’t pick up!”

Paula C.