OA-HOW describes itself as a program for the food addict who has reached a critical level. On the one hand this might mean someone who, had they started years ago, would have found success with regular OA. On the other hand, this might just mean someone that for whatever reason, needs a lot of structure in their program in order to have it work well. I include myself in the latter group.

Not knowing it existed, I struggled on and off with regular OA. I didn't have to be disciplined, so I was not. From time to time I would refer other compulsive eaters to the program - I knew the answer was there, I just couldn't make it work for me. One day in the spring of 2002, a person I'd directed toward OA came back to give me the following feedback "Oh, they are SO disciplined". I was shocked, since this didn't describe the tone of any OA meeting I'd ever been at. I also hadn't found much physical recovery. I think there is a connection there.

Curious, I went to a meeting. A 2-hour meeting, with readings and celebrations with a feeling somewhat like a Babtist revival meeting. And about halfway through the meeting they had 'the sponsor line'. All sponsors were asked to stand and state how long they had been working the program and how much weight lost or gained. Nearby, someone was totalling with a calculator and at the end of the 'line', she said "that's over 800 pounds." I knew that this was the place for me.

That being said, since I got into OA-HOW I've heard them called all sorts of names, 'Food Nazi's' being the mildest. I don't care, and I even agree. I also know, from painful experience, that nothing in 20 years of trying to lose weight and keep it off ever worked for me and this does. So that is the only reason I do it - because it works. For me, nothing else does.

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