While learning about opioids in pharmacology, we inevitably came to the topic of addiction. Our school encouraged us to attend Alcoholics Anonymous to gain a better perspective. Once I had heard that Alcoholics Anonymous meetings were open, I was excited to learn more about addiction. Since everyone in my class was going to Alcoholics Anonymous I wanted to go to a different addiction meeting. I first elected to attend a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting. When I arrived at the meeting, I was turned away because their meetings are only for people in recovery. I understand this but I wish they would make an exception for medical personnel and if alcoholics anonymous is open, sexaholics should also be open. Instead, I attended an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Like AA and SA, OA is based on the twelve step program to recovery. The attendees of the meeting were of all shapes, sizes, colors, sexual orientation and gender. You couldn’t pick out an overeater from a crowd. I would say only about half the attendees were overweight. Now, since the meeting was open, I do not want to assume they were all overeaters, but most were. The theme of the meeting was ‘speaker.” A fellow recovering overeater was invited to tell his story of recovery. He talked about his relapses and how it affected his relationships with his friends and spouse. He also answered questions from the audience about switching sponsors, calling on your higher power, and how he conquered road blocks along his journey.
My concept of an overeater before the meeting was someone who ate past the point of being full. This is still true in my mind but there are many different types of overeaters. I didn’t feel comfortable asking others what kind of overeater class they fit into. I feel the religious aspect is necessary for some. If that is what it takes to recover from your addiction then by all means you can use it but I am afraid some may be turned away because they do not accept God into their hearts. I wonder if there is a twelve step alternative for nonreligious people? I feel OA is like a family for most of these people. They attend meetings regularly and see the same people they have built relationships with. I think it is very helpful in solving the problems of these people. Just having something constant and positive in your life can have a lasting effect on your self-esteem and possibly other factors that contribute to overeating. Being doctors doesn’t mean only treating diseases. We are expected to treat all different types of problems, whether we want to or not. For some reason, people see the white coat and feel obligated to open up to you. Attending these meetings open our eyes, as well as our hearts, to others.