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About OA

Overeaters Anonymous offers a program of recovery from compulsive eating using the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. 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.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively. So, no matter what your problem with food, compulsive food behaviors, body image and weight, you are welcome in OA. The video below shows some of the support we offer.

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What is Abstinence?

To quote Our Invitation to You, "The OA recovery program is patterned after that of Alcoholics Anonymous." OA members achieve and maintain abstinence — OA's version of sobriety, defined as "the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body" — by "working the program". To work the program, you'll need a sponsor to guide you as you work the 12 steps.

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What About God?

OA is a spiritual program, not a religious one. OA members are people of many religious faiths, as well as atheists and agnostics. A higher power of our own definition helps us to be free of compulsive eating. A higher power is different things to different people. There is no one right way, no one answer to the question of who or what a person’s Higher Power is. In OA, you sort it out for yourself.

The OA recovery program is based on acceptance of certain spiritual principles. Members are free to interpret these principles as they think best, or not to think about them at all if they so choose.

But what if I don't believe in God? Many individuals who come to OA have reservations about accepting any concept of a power greater than themselves. OA experience has shown that those who keep an open mind on this subject and continue coming to OA meetings will not find it too difficult to work out their own solution to this very personal matter.

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How Do I Start?

All of this starts by coming to a meeting, and you can find out beforehand what to expect at an OA meeting. There is no limit to how many different meetings you can attend. Many members have found that attending more than one meeting a week has helped them to get and stay abstinent.

If you can’t find a Face-To-Face meeting in your area, or need more meetings than your area offers, consider an online, telephone meeting, or non real time meeting. These meetings can be located at the appropriate link on the Find a Meeting page on the main OA website (www.oa.org). These are a great resource when Face-to-Face meetings can’t be found in your area, you find yourself homebound, or just you just need additional support. You can find some additional options on our Homebound Support page.

If there are no Face to Face meetings you can attend and you're not comfortable going to an Online or Telephone meeting with strangers, please try the following:

  • Check out our Printable Meeting List and see if any Online or Phone meetings were located near you (each Zoom or Phone meeting which was Face to Face before the pandemic is still listed with its city, state, and zip code)
  • Reach out to the meeting contact(s) from any meeting where you could reasonably meet someone in person prior to attending their virtual meeting; it's possible that a group member would be willing to meet you in person before you attend so that you feel more comfortable on a Phone or Zoom meeting
  • Even if you aren't able to meet anyone in person before you attend the Phone or Zoom meeting, you'll have spoken to or texted with the meeting contact person so you will know at least one person at the meeting!

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