That was a close one!

Back in my 20s, I studied improv in Atlanta.  I did student shows with several groups and eventually landed as a charter member of The Gorgeous Ladies of Comedy - Atlanta's Only All-Female Improv Troupe!

There was a game I played with two of the groups called 12 Step.  In which, an audience member gave us a noun or some object, and we turned ourselves into a 12 Step Meeting of addicts of that thing.  Celery, Holly Hobby Lunch Boxes,  Skee Ball... One person played the Leader and she would call on her group to tell their story.  The first person went very basic, and one by one, each subsequent person got more outlandish.

When I was in GLOC, two of us were doing Weight Watchers at the time, and if we were playing leader, we would murmur platitudes identical to whatever catchphrase was hot at the time in our meetings, "Well remember, if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got!"  We would often end with an affirmation, which required us to stand in a circle and make up some mantra that we would say slowly, so as soon as you got a word out, everyone else would say it very quickly to catch up with you.

It was usually a crowd-pleaser and a lot of fun to play.

And then, three years ago, a friend asked me to come with her to a 12 Step Meeting.  Now, I'm not using "friend" as a cover for myself.  This woman who I'd befriended was talking with me one night after we'd eaten a great meal at her apartment.  We were talking about our fraught relationships with food, and she admitted that she was bulimic and really wanted to go to Overeaters Anonymous, and since I had food issues too, would I go with her?

I immediately got a sick feeling about it.  Which I over-analyzed for a few days, and then told her I'd go to the meeting with her.  I assumed that my misgivings were a sign.  A sign that I was helpless over my addiction to food.

Well, the day of the meeting rolled around and we went, and we had to go around and say why we were there.  I picked Compulsive Overeater.  She did, too.  Didn't even mention the damn bulimia.

The topic was "Rigorous Honesty", and everyone spoke to their experiences with the topic.  Being the good improv student that I was, I even spoke.  My friend sat there looking innocent and said nothing.  Rigorous honesty, my ass.

We ended the meeting with a chant, "It works if you work it.  So work it, and work it, and work it - cause you're worth it!"

It was, to be honest - a less funny version of the game I'd been playing for years.

OA was not for me.  I don't doubt it and programs like it have helped a lot of people, but I couldn't see myself as a member.

You could argue that Weight Watchers isn't that different, and maybe it's not.  Personally, I like the secular approach it takes, plus, I think the format is looser, it's not so touchy-feely, and they have good recipes.  Plus, it's not anonymous.

As to my bulimic friend, she moved later that year, and we really didn't stay in touch.  I hope that she found what she needs, and whatever that is, I hope she works it - because, like all of us - she's worth it.


I'll never be able to do a 12-step program. The Saturday Night Live skit where Jon Lovitz sang the 12 steps as David Crosby to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas" ruined it for me. Thanks for being my enabler, Jon Lovitz.
ae said…
I remember the exact same skit. And that song is a frequent earworm.