Overeaters Anonymous offers a program of recovery from compulsive eating using the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Worldwide meetings and other tools provide a fellowship of experience, strength and hope where members respect one another’s anonymity. OA charges no dues or fees; it is self-supporting through member contributions.
Unlike other organizations, OA is not just about weight loss, gain or maintenance; or obesity or diets. It addresses physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It is not a religious organization and does not promote any particular diet. If you want to stop your compulsive eating, welcome to Overeaters Anonymous.
The Twelve Steps are the heart of the OA recovery program. They offer a new way of life that enables the compulsive eater to live without the need for excess food.
The ideas expressed in the Twelve Steps, which originated in Alcoholics Anonymous, reflect practical experience and application of spiritual insights recorded by thinkers throughout the ages. Their greatest importance lies in the fact that they work! They enable compulsive eaters and millions of other Twelve-Steppers to lead happy, productive lives. They represent the foundation upon which OA is built.
The Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous
- We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- 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.
- 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 Twelve Traditions are the means by which OA remains unified in a common cause. These Twelve Traditions are to the groups what the Twelve Steps are to the individual. They are suggested principles to ensure the survival and growth of the many groups that compose Overeaters Anonymous. Like the Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions have their origins in Alcoholics Anonymous. These Traditions describe attitudes which those early members believed were important to group survival.
The Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity.
- 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.
- The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or OA as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.
- 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.
- Every OA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Overeaters Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- OA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Overeaters Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the OA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- 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.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all these Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
In working Overeaters Anonymous’ Twelve-Step program of recovery from compulsive overeating, we have found that a number of tools are available to assist us. We use these tools regularly to help us achieve and maintain abstinence and recover from our disease.
In Overeaters Anonymous (OA), the Statement on Abstinence and Recovery is “Abstinence is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight. Spiritual, emotional and physical recovery is the result of living the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve-Step program.” Many of us have found we cannot abstain from compulsive eating unless we use some or all of OA’s nine tools of recovery to help us practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Our tools for recovery are as follows: