Have you ever wished you could lose 10 pounds, 20, 40, or 100 or more?
Have you ever wished that once you got it off you could keep it off? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you sometimes felt out of step with the world, like a homeless orphan without a place where you really belonged? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever wished your family would get to work or school so you could get busy eating? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever awakened first thing in the morning and felt happy because you remembered that your favorite goodie was waiting for you in the fridge or in the cupboard? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered what an insignificant person like you was doing in the world anyway? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever cooked, bought or baked for your family and then eaten everything yourself so you wouldn’t have to share? We in OA know you because we are you. Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever wanted to hide in the house, without going to work, without getting cleaned up or even getting dressed, without seeing anyone or letting anyone see you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever hidden food under the bed, under the pillow, in the drawer, in the bathroom, in the wastebasket, in the cupboard, in the clothes hamper, in the closet or in the car so you could eat without anyone seeing you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever been angry, resentful, defiant – against God, your mate, your doctor, your mother, your father, your friends, your children, the salesperson in the store whose look spoke a thousand words as you tried on clothes – because they were thin, because they wanted you to be thin, and because you were forced to diet to please them or shut them up or make them eat their words and their looks? We welcome you to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever sobbed out your misery in the dark night because no one loved or understood you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever felt that God (if God existed) made the biggest mistake when God created you? Can you see that this is where such feelings get turned around? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever wanted to get on a bus and just keep going, without once looking back? Did you do it? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever thought the world was a mess, and if others would just think and act like you, the world would be a lot better off? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever thought that OA people must be a bit nuts? That they might be compulsive overeaters, but you just have a weight problem, which you can take care of beginning tomorrow; they might be one bite from insane eating, but you are just a little, or a lot, overweight? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever told anyone who would listen how great you are, how talented, how intelligent, how powerful-all the time knowing they would never believe it, because you didn’t believe it? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever lost all your excess weight and found that you were thin-unhappy instead of fat-unhappy? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever worn a mask or hundreds of masks because you were sure that if you shared the person you really were no one could ever love or accept you? We accept you in OA. May we offer you a home?
Overeaters Anonymous extends to all of you the gift of acceptance. No matter who you are, where you come from or where you are heading, you are welcome here!
No matter what you have done or failed to do, what you have felt or haven’t felt, where you have slept, or with whom, whom you have loved or hated-you may be sure of our acceptance. We accept you as you are, not as you would be if you could melt yourself and mold yourself and shape yourself into what other people think you should be. Only you can decide what you want to be.
But we will help you work for the goals you set, and when you are successful we will rejoice with you; and when you slip, we will tell you that we are not failures just because we sometimes fail, and we’ll hold out our arms, in love, and stand beside you as you pull yourself back up and walk on again to where you are heading! You’ll never have to cry alone again, unless you choose to.
Sometimes we fail to be all that we should be, and sometimes we aren’t there to give you all you need from us. Accept our imperfection, too. Love us in return and help us in our sometimes-falling failing. That’s what we are in OA-imperfect, but trying. Let’s rejoice together in our effort and in the assurance that we can have a home, if we want one.
Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Lifeline magazine, November 2003. Edited and reprinted from Lifeline Sampler, p. 173
Reprinted With Permission from Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.