What is Overeaters Anonymous?
Overeaters Anonymous brings together people from all walks of life to help solve a common problem – compulsive eating and food behaviors like overeating, anorexia, and bulimia. Everyone who wishes to stop eating compulsively is welcome in OA. Patterned after Alcoholics Anonymous, the OA recovery program uses addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of compulsive eating.
There are no dues or fees for members and we do not accept outside donations. We are self-supporting through our own voluntary contributions.
Is OA right for me?
Only you can answer this question, but if you answer “yes” to several of these questions, you may be a compulsive eater OA can help:
- Do I eat when I’m not hungry, or not eat when my body needs nourishment?
- Do I go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until I’m stuffed or even feel sick?
- Do I have feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment about my weight or the way I eat?
- Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone?
- Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life?
- When my emotions are intense—whether positive or negative—do I find myself reaching for food?
- Do my eating behaviors make me or others unhappy?
- Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots, or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight?
- Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight?
- Do I fantasize about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight?
- Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, candies, or beverages?
- Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen, or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?
- Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite?
- Have I lost weight with a diet or “period of control” only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?
- Do I spend too much time thinking about food, arguing with myself about whether or what to eat, planning the next diet or exercise cure, or counting calories?
How do I start?
Come to an OA meeting where you can hear the experiences of OA members. Here is the full meeting list for San Francisco. Every meeting welcomes newcomers, but the following “Newcomer Meetings” offer a special introduction to the program and allow time for you to ask questions:
What can I expect at a meeting?
Meeting formats vary, but you’ll likely hear a few readings from OA literature as well as stories from OA members about their struggles and recovery from compulsive eating and food behaviors. A list may be passed around for all to sign their first names and phone numbers, so people can offer each other support between meetings.
Most meetings collect a few dollars to pay for the rooms we meet in, but contribution is always voluntary and often newcomers are encouraged not to contribute.
Many meetings will have a featured speaker who shares for 10-20 minutes. Some meetings have a special area of focus such as LGBT, 100+ pound weight loss, or anorexia / bulimia / compulsive exercising.
At many meetings, you will have an opportunity to introduce yourself as a newcomer, if you like. Anonymity is a foundational principle of OA so you are assured that what you share will be held in confidence. Someone from the meeting may call you to offer support or answer questions you have about the program, and you are welcome to take down phone numbers to reach out for help or to ask questions
How does OA work?
The Twelve Steps are the heart of the OA recovery program. They offer a new way of life without the need for compulsive food behaviors like overeating, anorexia, or bulimia. Typically, you will work through the Twelve Steps with the guidance of a sponsor, who shares their experience, answers your questions, listens as you discuss your feelings, and most importantly guides you in taking the Twelve Steps.
Welcome to OA!
We hope to see you at a meeting soon. Here is the full meeting list for San Francisco.