OA is for young people too! Seriously.
“Meet” Kaitlin, OA member who initially thought what you’re thinking:
“How am I ever going to relate to these people? They’re all twice my age!”
We have an online Young Person’s group dedicated to you. We welcome and accept you.
This is her story about her relationship with food and her recovery from bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive overeating.
Acceptance at Any Age
“I am 19 years old and approaching one year of abstinence. I came into OA at 15, around the time I first figured out how to purge…
I only came because my parents were longtimers; I grew up around the program. Unfortunately I was not ready for the message. I didn’t want to get better, but I was a people pleaser (one of my many character defects).My lowest weight was 103 pounds (47 kg). On my body type, it looked like 83 pounds (38 kg). I believed I was a monster.
I was dating a boy who was over 200 pounds (91 kg) and felt I was as big, if not bigger, than he. Like any OA member, I was crazy with food. It inhabited my thoughts, and I was unable to be a real person. My parents took me to a psychiatrist, who told me I was bipolar. I may have seemed bipolar, but only because I never dealt with what I was feeling. Besides being bulimic, I was an anorexic, exercise bulimic and compulsive overeater. Lucky me—I got the entire package deal! It was not until later I realized this was a gift.
My parents knew I was bulimic, but I tried very hard to make sure they never heard me. If they were near the bathroom, I would go into my room, turn my music up as loud as I could, take out one of the trash bags I stored under my bed and purge in my trash can. While they slept, I would sneak the trash bag full of vomit out to the dump.
As if eating five times too many calories and then purging were not enough, to make sure I burned off all the calories, I would bike 10 miles (16 km) until I was ready to pass out.
Today I am the youngest person at the OA groups I attend. I tend to forget my age in those rooms because, unlike most people, people in OA understand and accept me. I no longer feel the need to party and stuff my face with junk food like others. It’s difficult to explain, but I choose not to eat many kinds of food. I’m sure they would taste great, but I never feel well afterwards, and insane thoughts fill my head again.
I would not be where I am today without OA, OA members and my Higher Power. The best advice I have is to keep coming back and take it one day at a time. As cliché as those phrases have become, they are true. One day at a time my Higher Power takes care of me, as long as I let him.” – reprinted from Lifeline
“I came into OA four years ago at the beginning of my senior year of high school. I was a mess. I had gained nearly 70 pounds in three months and was doing the worst bingeing of my life…
I didn’t experience many of the joys of recovery at first because I wasn’t abstinent. What I found, however, was a group of people who loved me before I could love myself, who loved me when I could not share hope, who loved me and listened to me every time I walked into the rooms.
Abstinence did not come quickly. I spent a year and a half holding onto my food, but I kept coming back. On April 28, 1997, a miracle happened. I accepted the gift of abstinence from my Higher Power. Joy! I had finally asked a woman to be my sponsor. I wanted what she had, so I asked how she got it and followed her directions. She helped me accept the food plan a nutritionist gave me. She helped me see that my disease is not about the food. Food was the drug I chose to help me hide from life.
Today I do not have to hide from life in the food. Last week I celebrated 28 months of abstinence. I am maintaining an 80-pound weight loss. I am just beginning my senior year of college. Miracles! Joys of recovery to me!
I pray that God will keep me coming back to OA because I can have no joy without this program, without abstinence. The joy of abstinence is not the end of the road for me. I have to surrender everything that I want to hold onto to have sanity in my life. Abstinence was Step Zero. I have Twelve Steps to follow and nine tools to work. The Steps and the tools are the nuts and bolts of this program for me. I cannot stay abstinent without working the Steps and using the tools.
The love I received in the program was my first joy in recovery. The love kept me coming back, but abstinence is where I experienced sanity — and sanity is my greatest joy in recovery!”
– reprinted from Lifeline
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