Have you tried multiple times to lose weight and/or control your eating? Do you spend excessive amounts of time thinking about food and your body size? Those of us recovering in OA have had struggles with one or more of these issues: compulsive overeating, under-eating, food addiction, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, or over exercising. No matter what challenges you face with food or body image, you are welcome in OA.
Are you a Compulsive Eater?
OA includes members who have experienced different manifestations of compulsive eating and food behaviors. Our fellowship includes anorexics, bulimics, and overeaters; All who struggle with food obsession are welcome and have found recovery in OA. Weight is not a criterion for membership. Take our quiz to see if you might be a compulsive eater.
Welcome to OA, Welcome Home
Have you ever wished you could lose ten pounds, twenty, forty, or a hundred or more? Have you
ever wished that once you got it off you could keep it off? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you sometimes felt out of step with the world, like a homeless orphan without a place where you really belong? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever wished your family would get to work or school so that you could get busy eating? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever awakened first thing in the morning and felt happy because you remembered that your favorite goodie was waiting for you in the fridge or in the cupboard? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever looked up at the stars and wondered what an insignificant person like you was doing in the world anyway? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever cooked, bought or baked for your family and then eaten everything yourself so that you wouldn’t have to share? We know you in OA because we are you. Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever wanted to hide in the house, without going to work, without getting cleaned up or even getting dressed, without seeing anyone or letting anyone see you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever hidden food under the bed, under the pillow, in the drawer, -in the bathroom, in the wastebasket, the cupboard, the clothes hamper, the closet or the car so that you could eat without anyone seeing you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever been angry, resentful, defiant – against God, your mate, your doctor, your mother, your father, your friends, your children, the salesperson in the store whose look spoke a thousand words as you tried on clothes – because they were thin, because they wanted you to be thin, and because you were forced to diet to please them or shut them up or make them eat their words and their looks? We welcome you to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever sobbed out your misery in the dark night because no one loved or understood you? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever felt that God (if God existed at all) made the biggest mistake when God created you? Can you see that this is where such feelings get turned around? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever wanted to get on a bus and just keep going, without ever once looking back? Did you do it? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever thought the whole world was a mess and if they would just think and act like you, the world would be a lot better or. Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever thought that OA people must be a bit nuts? That they might be compulsive overeaters, but you just have a weight problem which you can take care of beginning tomorrow; they might be one bite from insane eating, but you are just a little or a lot overweight? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever told anyone who would listen how great you are, how talented, how intelligent, how powerful – all the time knowing they would never believe it, because you didn’t believe it? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever lost all your weight and found that you were thin-unhappy instead of fat-unhappy? Welcome to OA; welcome home!
Have you ever worn a mask or hundreds of masks because you were sure that if you shared the person you really were no one could ever love or accept you? We accept you in OA. May we offer you a home?
Overeaters Anonymous extends to all of you the gift of acceptance. No matter who you are, where you come from or where you are heading, you are welcome here! No matter what you have done or failed to do, what you have felt or haven’t felt, where you have slept, or with whom, who you have loved or hated – you may be sure of our acceptance. We accept you as you are, not as you would be if you could melt yourself and mold yourself and shape yourself into what other people think you
should be. Only you can decide what you want to be. But we will help you work for the goals you set, and when you are successful we will rejoice with
you; and when you slip, we will tell you that we are not failures just because we sometimes fail, and we’ll hold out our arms, in love, and stand beside you as you pull yourself back up and walk on again to where you are heading! You’ll never have to cry alone again, unless you choose to. Sometimes we fail to be all that we should be, and sometimes we aren’t’, there to give you all you need from us. Accept our imperfection too. Love us in return and help us in our sometimes- falling failing. That’s what we are in OA – imperfect, but trying. Let’s rejoice together in our effort and in the assurance that we can have a home, if we want one. Welcome to OA; welcome home!
What is OA?
Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is a Twelve Step fellowship of individuals who are recovering from many forms of compulsive eating. OA is not a diet club. Our fellowship is dedicated to helping those who wish to recover from compulsive eating, anorexia, bulimia, food addiction and obesity.
As a member of OA, we share our experience, strength and hope with each other so that we may recover from compulsive eating. There are no dues or fees to be an OA member. We are self-supporting through our own contributions. We do not accept outside donations. OA is not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology or religious doctrine; We have no opinion on outside issues.
Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive eating and to carry the message of recovery through the Twelve Steps of OA to those who still suffer.
Who Belongs in OA?
OA members are people from all around the world. Some of us have been obese, while some have been anorexic and/or bulimic. However, some of us who struggle with compulsive eating are a normal weight. Our members include those who struggle with many different compulsive eating “symptoms” including:
- Severely underweight/starving
- Obsession with body image
- Eating binges
- Grazing all day
- Always on a diet and/or preoccupation with losing weight
- Laxative or diuretic abuse
- Excessive exercise
- Vomiting after eating
- Chewing and spitting out food
- Failed weight loss surgery
- Use of diet pills and shots to manage our weight
- Inability to stop eating some foods after taking the first bite
- Fantasies about food
- Constantly thinking about food
If you also struggle with any of these food issues, OA offers a solution to our common problem through the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous.
What to Expect and How to Start
If you have concerns about your relationship with food, we hope that you’ll give yourself a chance for recovery in OA. Meetings are available in person, online and by phone. We recommend that newcomers attend at least six different meetings to help you decide if OA is for you.
To see what a meeting is like – listen to a meeting: Interviews, Readings, and Meetings – Overeaters Anonymous (oa.org)
You will be welcome at any meeting. You’ll find you are not alone anymore. Everyone at the meeting knows where you’re coming from about food. Here’s what happens at a typical meeting, but all meetings are a little different.
Once you’ve found a meeting that you want to check out, you show up. Set aside an hour for your meeting. Consider this “you” time. You’ll meet others like you with a simple first-name introduction and be genuinely welcomed. Get yourself settled with the group to enjoy various readings, members sharing their journeys, and learning more about OA. Participate as much or as little as you want. You are welcome to share but you don’t have to. If you have questions, you can talk with individual members after the meeting. Congratulations—you completed your first meeting!
But, wait. What about the weigh-in? What about paying a membership fee? There’s none of that. When people become members, they often voluntarily contribute, but it’s never required. We promise.
So, to recap, at OA there’s …
- No weigh-in
- No membership fees
- No judgment
- No religion (we’re a spiritual group)
- A safe place for everyone (all genders, races, ages, sexual orientations, sizes)
- A program that works
- …and there are people who will understand
Please browse our website and attend a meeting. Many of our locations have face-to-face meetings, but we also have many virtual meetings every day of the week at many different times of the day. Learn some of the program basics by reading the following: