Overeaters Anonymous

by Lee Culver

Overeaters Anonymous is a worldwide network of support groups that began in 1960 and are dedicated to helping those who are seeking freedom from compulsive over eating. Their model is similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous and other fellowships who use the 12-steps and 12-traditions to help empower and enable the participant to establish new patterns of behavior to replace unhealthy ones that the participant is unhappy with.

The 12-steps are:
  1. We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The 12-traditions are:
  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or OA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.
  6. An OA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the OA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every OA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Overeaters Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. OA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Overeaters Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the OA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television and other public media of communication.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all these Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Eating and food are important parts of every culture. However, for many, food also becomes a means of relief in times of stress. Often that food is high in calories and fat leading to weight gain, obesity, Type-2 diabetes and other health related issues. Overeaters Anonymous provides group support for those seeking recovery and offers them new tools to cope with the triggers that once drove them eat in a way that felt out of control. There is not one personality or body type that is representative of someone seeking recovering in Overeaters Anonymous. However, all who join have found that they are powerless when it comes to food.

There are no weigh-ins, no fees, and no pre-packaged meals for sale at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. The organization does not offer a quick fix or a one-plan-fits-all program toward weight loss. Overeaters Anonymous recognizes that there are often many complicated reasons for compulsive over eating. At each meeting members share their successes and struggles and find support there in a group setting. The 12-steps and 12-traditions lead the participant to examine areas of their lives to find the emotional sources that lead them to over eating.

To find an Overeaters anonymous meeting near you click here.

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