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Overeaters Anonymous is a Fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength, and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. We welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively.
There are no dues or fees for members; we are self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. OA is not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology, or religious doctrine; we take no position on outside issues.
Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors and to carry the message of recovery through the Twelve Steps of OA to those who still suffer.
This series of questions may help you determine if you are a compulsive overeater. Many members of Overeaters Anonymous have found that they have answered “yes” to many of these questions.
- Do you eat when you’re not hungry, or not eat when your body needs nourishment?
- Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until you’re stuffed or even feel sick?
- Do you have feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment about your weight or the way you eat??
- Do you eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when you are alone??
- Is your eating affecting your health or the way you live your life?
- When your emotions are intense – whether positive or negative – do yo ufind yourself reaching for food?
- D your eating behaviors make you or others unhappy?
- Have you ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots, or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control your weight?
- Do you fast or severely restrict your food intake to control your weightl?
- Do you fantasize about how much better life would be if you were a different size or weight?
- Do you need to chew or have something in your mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, candies, or beverages?
- Have you ever eaten food that is burned, frozen or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?
- Are there certain foods you can’t stop eating after having the first bite?
- Have you lost weight with a diet or “period of control” only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?
- Do you spend too much time thinking about food, arguing with yourself about whether or what to eat, planning the next diet or exercise cure, or counting calories?
- 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 practice these principles in all our affairs.
Permission to reprint the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous granted by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.
- 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 the 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 nonprofessional, 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.
Permission to reprint the Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous granted by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.
- The ultimate responsibility and authority for OA world service reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.
- The OA groups have delegated to World Service Business Conference the active maintenance of our world services; thus, World Service Business Conference is the voice, authority and effective conscience of OA as a whole.
- The Right of Decision, based on trust, makes effective leadership possible.
- The Right of Participation ensures equality of opportunity for all in the decision-making process.
- Individuals have the right of appeal and petition in order to ensure that their opinions and personal grievances will be carefully considered.
- The World Service Conference has entrusted the Board of Trustees with the primary responsibility for the administration of Overeaters Anonymous.
- The Board of Trustees has legal rights and responsibilities accorded to them by OA Bylaws Subpart A; the rights and responsibilities of the World Service Business Conference are accorded to it by tradition and by OA Bylaws Subpart B.
- The Board of Trustees has delegated to its Executive Committee the responsibility to administer the World Service Office.
- Able trusted servants, together with sound and appropriate methods of choosing them, are indispensable for effective functioning at all service levels.
- Service responsibility is balanced by carefully defined service authority; therefore duplication of efforts is avoided.
- Trustee administration of the World Service Office should always be assisted by the best standing committees, executives, staffs and consultants.
- The spiritual foundation for OA service ensures that:
- no OA committee or service body shall ever become the seat of perilous wealth or power;
- sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, shall be OA’s prudent financial principle;
- no OA member shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority;
- all important decisions shall be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity;
- no service action shall ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; and
- no OA service committee or service board shall ever perform any acts of government and each shall always remain democratic in thought and action.
Copyright © 1995 Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.; World Service Office. Copyrighted materials may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission of OA Inc.
A list of OA meetings is available at https://oa.org/find-a-meeting/. You will find US, Canada and international meetings on this page, as well as online and telephone meetings.
All OA literature is available from OA World Service Bookstore and may be ordered on-line. Click here for the literature page.
Lifeline, OA’s international magazine, serves as an indispensable “meeting-on-the-go.” Since 1962, when the first issue debuted as the OA Bulletin, Lifeline has offered encouragement and hope to thousands of readers. Tucked in a purse, a suitcoat pocket or a lunch bag, Lifeline accompanies members around the world, ready to provide inspiration and support when needed. Visit the Lifeline page on oa.org and learn more or subscribe. Also available is the electronic version, e-Lifeline.
Other Overeaters Anonymous Sites
The following are links to other websites owned and maintained by OA service bodies. Region Six takes no responsibility for their content; they are provided as a service and are for information only.
World Service Office (includes world-wide meeting information):
Overeaters Anonymous, Inc.
Region 1 (Pacific Northwest USA, Western Canada, Alaska)
Region 2 (California, Hawaii, Mexico)
Region 3 (Southwestern USA)
Region 4 (Mid-Western states (western); Northwest Ontario, Manitoba)
Region 5 (Mid-Western states (central), Western Ontario)
Region 7 (Mid-Atlantic states; NJ south to Virginia)
Region 8 (Southeastern USA and South America)
Region 9 (Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Central America, All other countries and territories not listed in Regions 1 through 8 or Region 10)
Region 10 (Australia, New Zealand, Asia & the Pacific Rim)
Finland (in Finnish)
Belgium, France and Switzerland (in French)
Germany (in German)
Iceland (in Icelandic)
Italy (in Italian)
Spain (in Spanish)
Israel (in Hebrew)
Also see R6 Intergroups.