Overeaters Anonymous - Considering OA?

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12-12-2008, 07:37 AM
For those of you considering attending your first OA meeting, I made this post (http://www.myoaexperience.com/content/should-i-try-oa-meeting) on my blog. My first meeting was kind of scary, but I knew that I had found a home.

I recognized immediately that I was in a room full of people who felt just like I did. I'd love to hear about anyone else's first meeting!

12-13-2008, 11:04 PM
Thanks for posting this, Tony. I've been looking into OA and even attended a few meetings online. My main problem with OA is the whole concept of a "higher being". I appreciate the fact that this is open for interpretation but this kind of submission to a "higher power" goes against everything I've been taught and everything I believe in. I just can't do it! If I could go to OA meetings and just get support for doing it on my own, I would happily attend in my area or online. But my understanding is that there's a process of getting a sponsor, doing exercises and they all involve this submission to a "higher power". I'm sorry, but I just can't do that.


12-15-2008, 03:54 PM
Tam- It is not really "submission" to a higher power, it is more realizing that perhaps you have made food your higher power and it is controlling your life, and a change needs to be made. OA can help you gets to the causes and conditions of why food is making you miserable. If, however, you really want support and tips on dealing with food you might consider Weight Watchers. You get the support, information and interaction that can be a positive thing for those of us struggling with weight. WW will give you a plan and support and is nutritionally good, but it won't address the core issues. Good luck either way. 3FC has alot of forums with a wide variety of folks and issues. Cruise around- you may find a good fit and surely lots of support.

12-17-2008, 02:50 PM
I love listen to podcasts... and it wasn't until I heard someone speaking about how when she (like me) hit her second step it I was like running into a wall. That was... until she realized that a HP didn't have to be a "god or goddess" it could simply be the realization that the love of yourself was a higher power than the control of food. Or the love of your OA group or your children or your parents for you was stronger that the draw of compulsive eating. I don't believe in God and do not subscribe to any religious doctrine. For me, my higher power is simple the will to live and to love. In all of its forms and that sometimes get a little more philosophical that I like to get... but it is still powerful.

12-17-2008, 03:35 PM
It took me a month to decide to go to my first meeting. I tried to do it online. I listened to podcasts (I still do), but I wasn't really participating. So I called the contact person with the information provided by the official OA website. She never called back. I was dismayed, but decided that if this was going to work... I needed to be willing to work as well. So I called back twice, but received nothing in return. I then decided to do a couple of drive-bys of the meeting place. It was a cute little church on the outskirts of town. I hated churches. I didn't (still don't) believe in God or any creator other than nature in of herself.

After another week of silence and struggle alone, I decided to go. It was the first step that brought me there: I was powerless, I had realized, and my life was unmanageable. It was an epiphany and I while I was empowered I was scared. My partner and I parked out car outside and she walked me inside. There were other things going on, it was Saturday, and we were lost. I asked for directions and had to repeat the name OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS two or three times before the older lady understood what I was asking. I was terribly embarrassed, but she was kind enough to walk me to the meeting room. Down two flights of stairs (the church looked tiny from outside) underground, through two large and dark rooms, down one long dark hall, and then it was time to follow the tiny taped up signs. OA this way!!! It looked like a 1920s house down stairs with long thin halls and long thin doors with low door knobs. With every step I felt smaller and more ashamed of myself. Then I got to the door. It had a sign taped on it that said “Welcome to OA.” I couldn’t hear anything on the other side of the door. I didn’t want to open it and find that I came all this way, overcoming my embarrassment, to find nothing. I didn’t really want to be alone. My partner kissed me good bye and went to wait out in the car and I simply turned the knob and went in.

Inside the room was a concentric arrangement of chairs and couches surrounding a table with reading material, a donation basket, and an OA meeting binder. There was only four people, each one a different age from as young as 20 to as old as 70, varying from rail thin to morbidly obese like me. This I found shocking, some people had lost weight during their recovery process, others where there dealing with other issues of compulsive eating that told them that they should eat. Yet, everyone had similar problems with food and lifestyle choices. They were all very kind and very welcoming. A woman took the pressure off of me and said that I didn’t need to speak or read, never if I didn’t wish to, but I should feel free to join in and be welcomed. Recovery is, after all, an active process she said. She then handed me a beginners booklet, which each member signed giving me phone numbers and emails should I need support anytime of the day or night.

I found the format strange: “My name is _______, and I am a compulsive eater and bulimic.” “My name is ______, and I am a compulsive eater and control freak.” To which the room responded, “Hello ____!” I participated regardless, and the more I participated the less strange I felt. I think it is this engagement that really makes the group strong. As a naturally loud and opinionated person, it was hard to suppress the urge to interrupt speakers when I wanted to say something. But it’s discouraged to give advice when it’s not asked for and it’s important to never interrupt. We read from passages of different books and magazines, taking turns and passing when we were ready to let someone else read, shared stories and strengths, and in the end some decided to donate and other didn’t. The hour and a half passed quickly and as time went on our group grew to 10 people and shrank back down. I was surprised to see so many people in such an out of the way place as the basement seemed to me.

In the end, I hugged the members goodbye and shook hands. They hoped I’d come back, each person said, they were genuinely glad I was there. And in the end, so was I.

12-18-2008, 09:04 AM

welcome to overeaters anonymous...welcome home!

12-21-2008, 06:46 PM
Thank you... I hope others let their pre-misconceptions go and give it a try.

01-29-2009, 11:43 AM
Thank you for this. I've been struggling with food obsession and overeating for the past 6 months and my therapist suggested OA to me yesterday. I am afraid. I don't know if I can do it. I am just tired of talking about food, tired of thinking about food. But I know I have to do something because nothing seems to be working anymore and as I struggle to regain control of my life, the weight I lost two years ago is slowly creeping back on which is making me more and more depressed every day. I'm still debating on whether or not to attend a meeting (I got sick of going to meeting when I was doing WW) but I do appreciate reading you guys' experiences with the program...

01-29-2009, 03:41 PM
Hi Cammie,

The good news is that we rarely talk about food in OA!! I have been a member for 6 years and I have to say that physical recovery is one thing but the peace of mind and a way saner way of living has been the gift to me.

I was so scared when I first went, that I don't think I didn't speak for the first year but when I was in the meeting I knew I had found what I needed.


02-16-2009, 02:34 PM
Good morning, I'm considering OA, the binging thing is something new to me, though I must say that food has been the central part of my thought pattern at any given time most of my life. Even when dieting, I obsess about what I can eat and when.

I am still looking for a meeting place here, I have found a couple, none are convenient for me, so I'm just going to have to do it. At any rate, I'm happy to see this forum and I know it will help.


02-19-2009, 12:07 AM
I have not been to a meeting but have began reading OA books I ordered on Amazon.I am pretty impressed so far.I can see how it works for people.I am sure the meeting would be more beneficial due to the support of the members but I have a very hard time walking into a room full of strangers.

02-20-2009, 08:40 PM
My first OA meeting was scary at first but I knew I had found a home. I have been going to OA for 11 months now and have not binged during the last ten. I have lost 50 lbs and not gained any weight back. If you give OA a try,read the lit and talk to other members you will have another resource in your struggles.

03-19-2009, 02:09 PM
I just want to thank everyone for their honesty in regards to OA. This is something I have considered for a LONG time- and have been too scared to try.

Seeing posts about "how it was" is encouraging!

Thank you!!!