Overeaters Anonymous - Atheist and OA

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01-10-2014, 10:10 PM

I went to my first OA meeting today. I had researched that those of any faith including those with none would be able to find a place. For example I had read that some people replace the word god or higher power with terms like "goddess" "collective humanity" "the group" "the universe" etc. In the group I attended this option was not given.
I would like to attend again. My question is does anyone have any experience where someone in the group simply never says the word god or the words higher power? When I do the readings from the big book I don't want to even use those words.
Also at the end of group someone said to me :god bless you, and I said have a good week. They said it again and I said nice to meet you. Then they said you know this group is a group of faith. I said nothing, just smiled and said goodbye. So I wonder how the group might react if I take it upon myself to simply replace the words?

Another thing I found interesting is that when the members went around sharing one member said she would like advice about something but no one responded they just kept going around. I get that the idea is to share and have no judgment and does that always mean no feedback? I get that they are all lay people so in no way qualified to act as therapists but I was just wondering.

Any thoughts appreciated?

01-12-2014, 11:00 AM
Hi Pluckypear

Sorry to hear that you didn't have the best experience of OA! I'm an atheist and have been attending meetings in London, UK, where many people were not religious. We also covered this issue as a topic in the meetings.

From what I understand, your 'higher power' can be anything other than yourself or another person. For example, it could be the programme, the group, the universe, etc. I would use the term 'god' if dictating a reading, however, I do not believe that this is undermining my atheism, as I am reading another person's point of view.

It has often been repeated in the meetings I have attended, to look for similarities rather than differences. Some people are very irritating and holier than thou, but ultimately they are there for the same reason as you. If someone repeats that the meeting is a 'faith group', you should probably point out that OA is a group of faith in the 12 step programme, not of blind faith in another individual's choice of god.

With regards to the issue of advice; from experience that is shared between individuals after the meeting.

02-03-2014, 06:13 AM
OA is deliberately a group if people who are hurting and f@&&ed up. You are going to find some pretty bad behavior in those walls. What that woman did to you is bad behavior. I'm sorry you got exposed to that right away. My group has one woman who does that to people. She has shared many times that she's never done the steps but she thinks she's a recovery rock star because she belongs to this one religion. There is no bouncer for these situations. We just love her up like everyone else.

In general, if you look at the recovery of people who are pushy like that, you'll often discover that they are on a bad place. Often, they are slipping in their own program. The conclusion that they are targeting you as a projection of their own shame isn't hard to reach.

Just try to focus on the people who's recovery you'd like to experience. You can have any higher power you damn well want. I call mine my imaginary friend in the sky. She doesn't mind irreverence.