What is OA?

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 overeating and compulsive food behaviours and to carry this message of recovery to those who still suffer.

Today we know that obesity is just one of many symptoms or manifestations of the deadly underlying illness of compulsive eating. And today our membership is varied, both in its makeup and in the eating behaviours and experiences which bring each individual to OA.

Many of us come to OA desperate and unhappy. As we listen to those who have been in OA a long time, we come to recognise that it is not how much we weigh or even how much we eat or don’t eat that brings us to OA. It is the ways we have desperately tried to control our food, eating and weight. Some of us have tried to control our weight with extreme diets and exercise regimes. Some of us have gained and lost the same 20 or 25 pounds for many years, and the struggle has left us demoralised, frustrated and feeling like failures. Some of us are so afraid to get fat that we starve ourselves for periods of time, or we get rid of excess food by throwing up or purging with laxatives.

But no matter how different our bodies may look, or how different our behaviours around food and exercise may be, we all share two important things.

A Problem: Despite all our willpower, desire and efforts, we have been increasingly unable to control our behaviour around food.

A Solution: We have found a workable solution in the Twelve Steps and the Fellowship of Overeaters Anonymous. And we have found that they work equally well for the anorexic, bulimic or compulsive eater with little or no weight to lose.

From OA Members Come in All Sizes: Welcome, Whatever your Problem with Food (pp1-2)
© 2005 by Overeaters Anonymous, Reprinted with Permission