My name is Sam, and I am a joyful overeater. I am an Iranian American and fellow member of the OA program. I had always wondered what the reason for my overeating problem was, and then I concluded that something in my childhood must have caused the domino effect of overeating in my life.

I was born in Iran when there was an eight-year war between Iran and its neighboring country, Iraq. I still remember the sound of explosions and the feeling of losing people. Although my family experienced no financial problems, there were constant supply-chain shortages, so my story is the story of millions of people in the war zone, where one of the main concerns is to have enough food to survive.

I see now that, as a child, I turned to survival mode in my mind; therefore, I was eating as much as I could for two main reasons:

  1. The stress of being in survival mode made me eat what I could whenever I could.
  2. I felt constant existential anxiety from losing people to the war.

Although the war ended, many in the war zone still struggled to stay alive. I stayed in survival mode and in my existential anxiety. I became a compulsive overeater and lived that way for years.

When I heard about the OA program from one of my friends, it changed my life forever. 

I am grateful for the program because instead of just staying alive in survival mode, I can live my life and take advantage of my opportunities. My existential anxieties were replaced by a spiritual awakening. I’ve been awakened by listening to other members, working the Steps, and using the Tools.

I’ve been awakened by listening to other members, working the Steps, and using the Tools.

In Step One, I admitted that my life had become unmanageable as my survival mode with the food was my biggest concern.

In Step Two, as an agnostic atheist, I had an issue finding a Higher Power in the program, but the First Step showed me the necessity of moving forward. Hence, I choose the universal consciousness as my Higher Power, which is all my recovery friends from around the globe.

In Step Three, I started trusting my Higher Power instead of asking more questions about it.

In Step Four, I stopped running and started facing my issues.

In Step Five, I found a fantastic sponsor who accepted me for who I am.

I am at Step Five, and what I now know is I am not what happened to me; I am a result of my choices. Therefore, the rest of my story will not be based on what happened to me in the past, because this program has given me the opportunity to live my life in the “moment of now.” I’ve learned to use OA’s nine Tools of Recovery and stay connected to the program. I’ve learned that if I ask, I will receive recovery from the program and myself.