We of Overeaters Anonymous have made a discovery. At the very first meeting we attended, we learned that we were in the clutches of a dangerous illness, and that willpower, emotional health, and self-confidence, which some of us had once possessed, were no defense against it.
To be sure, the picture painted of the disease was grim: progressive, debilitating, incurable. Compulsive eating has many symptoms in addition to mere fat. it is also a illness that isolates and gradually, or rapidly, causes increasingly serious problems in one or more areas of your lives: health, job, finances, family, or social life.
No one is sure what causes it, probably a number of factors: environment, a certain way of reacting to life, biological predisposition.We have learned that the reasons are unimportant. What deserves the attention of the still-suffering compulsive overeater is this: There is a proven, workable method by which we can arrest our illness.
The OA recovery program is patterned after that of Alcoholics Anonymous. As our personal stories attest, the Twelve Step program of recovery works as well for compulsive overeaters as it does for alcoholics. Our members prove that compulsive eaters can share their problems and help each other, thus benefiting not only themselves but their families and the communities in which they live.
Can we guarantee you this recovery? The answer is up to you. If you will honestly face the truth about yourself and the illness; if you will keep coming back to meetings to talk and listen to other recovering compulsive overeaters; if you will read our literature and that of Alcoholics Anonymous with an open mind; and, most important, if you are willing to rely on a power greater than yourself for direction in your life and to take the Twelve Steps to the best of your ability, we believe you can indeed join the ranks of those who recover.
The disease of compulsive eating causes or contributes to illness on three levels--emotional, physical, and spiritual. To remedy this threefold illness we offer several suggestions, but the ready should keep in mind that the basis of the program is spiritual, as evidenced by the Twelve Steps.
We are not a “diet” club. We do not endorse any particular plan of eating. In OA, abstinence is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight. Once we become abstinent, the preoccupation with food diminishes and in many cases leaves us entirely. We then find that, to deal with our inner turmoil, we have to have a new way of thinking, of acting on life rather than reacting to it—in essence, a new way of living.
From this vantage point, we begin OA's Twelve Step program of recovery, moving beyond the food and the emotional havoc to a fuller living experience.
We believe that no amount of willpower or self-determination could have saved us. Times without number, our resolutions and plans were shattered as we saw our individual resources fail.
So we honestly admitted to ourselves that we were powerless over food. This was the first step toward recovery. It followed that, if we had no power of our own, we needed a power outside ourselves to help us recover.
Some of us, including agnostics and atheists, regard the group itself as a power greater than ourselves. Others choose to accept different interpretations of this power. But most of us adopt the concept of God as God may be understood by each individual.
As a result of practicing the Steps, the symptoms of compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors are removed on a daily basis. Thus, for most of us, abstinence means freedom from the bondage of compulsive overeating, achieved through the process of surrendering to something greater than ourselves; the more total our surrender, the more fully realized our freedom from food obsession.
Here are the Steps as adapted for Overeaters Anonymous: Twelve Steps
Overeaters Anonymous, Third Edition
For questions about OA, you may text or call the CVIG OA infoline: (804) 362-9400