OA is for young people too! Seriously.

“Meet” Kaitlin, OA member and young person who initially thought what you’re thinking:
“How am I ever going to relate to these people? They’re all twice my age!”

Tune into Kaitlin’s Story – Her relationship with food and her recovery from bulimia, anorexia, and compulsive overeating.

The best part? We even have online groups dedicated to you.

Check out other stories below:

Acceptance at Any Age

I am 19 years old and approaching one year of abstinence. I came into OA at 15, around the time I first figured out how to purge…

I only came because my parents were longtimers; I grew up around the program. Unfortunately I was not ready for the message. I didn’t want to get better, but I was a people pleaser (one of my many character defects).My lowest weight was 103 pounds (47 kg). On my body type, it looked like 83 pounds (38 kg). I believed I was a monster.

I was dating a boy who was over 200 pounds (91 kg) and felt I was as big, if not bigger, than he. Like any OA member, I was crazy with food. It inhabited my thoughts, and I was unable to be a real person. My parents took me to a psychiatrist, who told me I was bipolar. I may have seemed bipolar, but only because I never dealt with what I was feeling. Besides being bulimic, I was an anorexic, exercise bulimic and compulsive overeater. Lucky me—I got the entire package deal! It was not until later I realized this was a gift.

My parents knew I was bulimic, but I tried very hard to make sure they never heard me. If they were near the bathroom, I would go into my room, turn my music up as loud as I could, take out one of the trash bags I stored under my bed and purge in my trash can. While they slept, I would sneak the trash bag full of vomit out to the dump.

As if eating five times too many calories and then purging were not enough, to make sure I burned off all the calories, I would bike 10 miles (16 km) until I was ready to pass out.

Today I am the youngest person at the OA groups I attend. I tend to forget my age in those rooms because, unlike most people, people in OA understand and accept me. I no longer feel the need to party and stuff my face with junk food like others. It’s difficult to explain, but I choose not to eat many kinds of food. I’m sure they would taste great, but I never feel well afterwards, and insane thoughts fill my head again.

I would not be where I am today without OA, OA members and my Higher Power. The best advice I have is to keep coming back and take it one day at a time. As cliché as those phrases have become, they are true. One day at a time my Higher Power takes care of me, as long as I let him.” – reprinted from Lifeline

Listen to a reading of the pamphlet To the Teen

Step Zero

I came into OA four years ago at the beginning of my senior year of high school. I was a mess. I had gained nearly 70 pounds in three months and was doing the worst bingeing of my life…

I didn’t experience many of the joys of recovery at first because I wasn’t abstinent. What I found, however, was a group of people who loved me before I could love myself, who loved me when I could not share hope, who loved me and listened to me every time I walked into the rooms.

Abstinence did not come quickly. I spent a year and a half holding onto my food, but I kept coming back. On April 28, 1997, a miracle happened. I accepted the gift of abstinence from my Higher Power. Joy! I had finally asked a woman to be my sponsor. I wanted what she had, so I asked how she got it and followed her directions. She helped me accept the food plan a nutritionist gave me. She helped me see that my disease is not about the food. Food was the drug I chose to help me hide from life.

Today I do not have to hide from life in the food. Last week I celebrated 28 months of abstinence. I am maintaining an 80-pound weight loss. I am just beginning my senior year of college. Miracles! Joys of recovery to me!

I pray that God will keep me coming back to OA because I can have no joy without this program, without abstinence. The joy of abstinence is not the end of the road for me.  I have to surrender everything that I want to hold onto to have sanity in my life. Abstinence was Step Zero. I have Twelve Steps to follow and nine tools to work. The Steps and the tools are the nuts and bolts of this program for me. I cannot stay abstinent without working the Steps and using the tools.

The love I received in the program was my first joy in recovery. The love kept me coming back, but abstinence is where I experienced sanity — and sanity is my greatest joy in recovery!”
– reprinted from Lifeline

Download our free To the Young Person pamphlet.

Listen to more stories in our Young People’s podcasts.