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:
1. Do I eat when I’m not hungry, or not eat when my body needs nourishment?
2. Do I go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until I’m stuffed or even feel sick?
3. Do I have feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment about my weight or the way I eat?
4. Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone?
5. Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life?
6. When my emotions are intense—whether positive or negative—do I find myself reaching for food?
7. Do my eating behaviors make me or others unhappy?
8. Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots, or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight?
9. Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight?
10. Do I fantasize about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight?
11. Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, candies, or beverages?
12. Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen, or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?
13. Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite?
14. Have I lost weight with a diet or “period of control” only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?
15. 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?
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, but by OA literature to help with their recovery.
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.
There is no cross-talk or advice giving at a meeting. You are there to listen to member's experience, strength, hope, and then share your story if you are willing.
Where Do I Start? for Newcomers now an E-book. It pairs with the New Sponsorship Guide download . We’ve heard your concerns! Newcomers are showing up to virtual meetings, but it’s challenging to quickly give them some OA literature. To help solve this difficulty and further spread the OA promise of hope, we’ve made our thirty-two-page Where Do I Start? pamphlet for newcomers available in e-book formats from Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Apple Books for about US$1.
Sponsorship is a vital part of the OA recovery process, as it builds a tight knit, trusting fellowship and invests purposefully in newcomers. To this end, OA’s newest resource intends to bolster relationships with newcomers—and instill confidence in those new to sponsoring—by partnering those new to OA with a “temporary sponsor” to guide them through the pivotal first days of their OA journey. Stamp out feelings of intimidation about sponsorship and jump-start a newcomer’s experience with our helpful introduction to program, Temporary Sponsors: Newcomers’ First Twelve Days. This free downloadable guide is available as a PDF at https://oa.org/app/uploads/2020/05/Temporary-Sponsors-1.pdf Temporary Sponsors is one of the newest pieces of literature to receive the Conference-approved Literature Seal of Approval during WSBC 2020.