Reaching Out To Lapsed Members
At one point or another in our recovery histories, many of us have found ourselves drifting away from our OA meetings. Some common reasons for OA drift include:
Friction between us and another meeting attender—we just haven't felt "safe" in our meeting any longer.
The power that compulsive eating used to have over us has appeared to recede—we felt we were "cured" and didn't need meetings any more.
Things were just getting "too intense"—we were increasingly overwhelmed by feelings of shame, grief, anger or self-loathing that came up when we were not eating compulsively.
We just didn't feel a connection to the other members of the group, either because we felt our background, body shape, or story was 'way different than theirs, or because the group seemed cliquish and unwelcoming to newcomers.
We felt we didn't need meetings to maintain our abstinence—our connection to our Higher Power was so strong that all we needed was "HP and I".
We felt we'd given OA a try and that it simply wasn't working for us.
Sometimes the OA program doesn't work for everybody, and there's no shame in that. Just because I am a habitual overeater or undereater doesn't mean I am a true compulsive eater. But for those of us who are true compulsive eaters, very often lurking beneath all the reasons for OA drift is a body-based disorder that affects our thinking, feelings, and attitudes often without our realizing it. It is a disease of isolation, a disease that will look for any excuse to isolate me from the program that is saving my life one day at a time—or could save me if I asked for the help I need to work the Steps and use the tools that have proven to be life saving for millions of compulsive eaters worldwide.
Have you been an OA drifter? I have, and for many of the reasons listed above. And I can attest to the fact that I'm back working my OA program today because at least one OA member took it upon themselves to reach out by telephone, email, letter, or texting and let me know I was missed. - R.L.
(Next Week: Call Five and Keep 'Em Alive!)