My name is Brendon. I am a compulsive overeater (COE). I am 33 years old, it has taken me that long to admit to that, but in doing so, I felt immediate relief.
I had been toying with the idea of attending an Overeaters Anonymous (OA) for a few weeks after having started listening to Russell Brand’s book: Recovery.
6th of January 2018 – I attended my first OA meeting where I learned how meetings work. I had only intended on observing. The meeting was an online meeting, one of many that occur throughout the day every day – an online OA meeting that draws an international attendance.
Some of the others are long time adherants to their programme so I was interested to hear them share. “Sharing” seems to be the main element in the meeting – people simply talk about whatever they have on their hearts – whether it is related to a set topic, or not. As people shared, I realised that there are real people who really struggle with compulsive overeating. I realised that because of the global attendance, that COE is a global struggle. This begins to erode any sense of isolation – that is, the idea that there only small pockets of people in certain places of the world, with particular cultural influences that struggle with COE.
As I sat, attentive to the shares of other attendees, I felt the courage to go beyond the role of mere spectator. I indicated that I too wanted to share.
My turn approached. I leaned in to the screen, the keyboard, with my left hand cradling my face. I felt a heaviness. It was welling up in my gut – it felt like there was literally something in my stomach weighing me down.
With great apprehension, I began to type. Name. Location. First time adherant.
I was welcomed, by every participant. I with chin in hand.
Hesitant. Nervous. Willing. Fingers back on keys.
“I am a compulsive overeater. I am powerless over food.”
The heaviness in my stomach began to rise. I am sure that if I had actually spoken the words, I would be able to see/hear/feel it come out my mouth. I am not sure I experienced it come out my fingers but as it rose, it definitely began to disolve.
I described ways in which life had become unmanageable as a result of overeating – especially the physical consequences as manifested not only in my being overweight, but the fact that I have bad skin, poor sleep routines, and regularly fluctuate on the scale of digestive regularity.
This was step one. I had taken it. I was on the road to recovery. And I felt good. I was thanked for sharing, encouraged to return to the group.