To the Newcomer
Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women from all walks of life who meet in order to help solve a common problem - compulsive overeating, which includes obesity, anorexia and bulimia. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.
OA Related Announcements
There are two precepts in OA that, until recently, I accepted as separate ideas. They are: “half-measures availed us nothing” and “progress, not perfection.”
Then, during a reading of the opening pages of “How It Works,” came the passage, “half-measures availed us nothing.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 59) The words I had heard hundreds of times suddenly crashed into my consciousness. Now, it seemed to contradict the “progress, not perfection” that I had clung to for two and a half years; the self-worth and serenity I had gained by letting go of my perfectionist tendencies helped me maintain a 40-pound (18-kg) weight loss for two years.
Was I hearing something different now? That half-measures, which are the only measures I am capable of, would avail me nothing?
Because the program has worked so well for me, I felt uneasy about questioning such a fundamental part of it. But my OA experience has also taught me to speak out about anything I feel unsure of, even the program itself.
I announced to the group that I was sorry; I had to admit that I use half-measures exclusively because I am incapable of working the program perfectly. I work it as well as I can at whatever point I happen to be.
As I listened to my words, they seemed suddenly illuminated.
“Maybe that’s it,” I said. “Working the program according to my ability is not a half-measure!”
Several heads nodded and some longtimers smiled. I saw clearly that what seemed to be a contradiction is thoroughly logical if properly understood.
Even though I am not perfect, I am doing as well as I can at this moment. That is a full measure. It is better than I have ever done before. And it has availed me everything.
— Lifeline, March 1978