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Old 10-20-2013, 12:23 PM   #1
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Default Some Questions About OA

Hi Everyone,
I've been thinking about joining OA for a while now. I got the 12 steps book and am reading through it now. If it looks like it might be appropriate for me, I plan on starting to attend online meetings (there are only a few face-to-face meetings in my area and I am limited without transportation, so they won't work).

1. The spirituality issue is a little concerning to me. I was raised by an atheist who had a very unhealthy relationship with spirituality (not just God, but the idea of any spirituality). While I do not agree with these views, I'm still in the process of figuring out my own relationship with spirituality. I do believe in a higher power but not necessarily God. I'm concerned about how this is handled in meetings. My sister attending an AA meeting with a friend once in Virginia (just for support - she never touches alcohol :-D) and she mentioned how the meeting was very heavily into the concept of God in the Christian sense, not God as everyone individually identifies the concept. So this concerns me. I'm afraid that I will be pushed into trying to believe in something I don't know if I believe in.

2. Do I have to find a sponsor right away or participate in meetings right away? I've never openly spoken with anyone (other than my sister) about my food addictions and binge eating and I feel like I will need some time to adjust. I will feel much more comfortable if I can just listen for a while before I participate.

3. Do you have to adhere to a specific food plan? I know this is part of the program. I was listening to some of the podcasts on the OA website and someone there talked about the food plan as if you are required to do a specific food plan (she mentioned it was very similar to the kind of recommended food plan given by the American Diabetes Association). I have been on a food plan of my own since May (vegan and low fat), which I truly enjoy and have felt good with. While it hasn't stopped my binge eating, it has curved the frequency of them considerably. I don't want to give up that plan for something that might not be good for me (especially because I am a vegan). So will I be able to stick with my plan?

Sorry for all the questions. As I said, I'm still reading up on the literature.

Thank you!

Holistic healthy living is not just about food and exercise - it's about the whole person, body, mind, and spirit

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Old 10-20-2013, 04:00 PM   #2
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Tammay -

To answer your questions from my experiences:

Spirituality issue: The original founders of AA used the Christian base. Some people use the group as their HP. I heard a speaker talking about someone who was so frustrated because he was an atheist. In working with him she substituted "good" for "god" in the literature and it worked. This is not a one size fits all program. But - there are humans involved, with their failings, so there can certainly be people who think they have the sole interpretation and everyone else is "wrong". I like the sentence in the Big Book that includes: "deep down in every man, woman, and child is the fundamental idea of God." To me that means that like goodness it is within us not floating in outer space

Participation: Most people are sensitive to the fact that a person was most likely isolating in their disease and needs time to be comfortable. Simply say, if it something like going around the room and sharing, "I will pass today and listen, thank you". Often people will give their phone numbers or email so you can get your footing by speaking with them individually rather than to the whole group.

Food plan: This can get a little odd in my experience because food is not like alcohol - you still have to nourish your body. Some meetings can feel like a "diet club" and that is not the point. Abstinence is broadly defined as abstaining from the eating behavior that takes you into the category of compulsive. In the beginning, for me, that was most carbs and I had to cut them out. Once the physical cravings were gone I was able to transition into a more broad refraining from overeating. Kind of a vague answer? Listen to the members that speak to your heart and consider them as potential sponsors.

Last edited by tommy; 10-20-2013 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 10-20-2013, 07:21 PM   #3
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Spirituality: To each his own. Each meeting might have a different feel. It is really dependent on the people at the meeting. Some meetings I have attended use the word God, others say my higher power whom I choose to call God, others just say higher power. As long as you believe in something bigger than yourself. Do you have a big book? That is Alcoholics Anonymous. If you read the chapter called we agnostics you might get a better idea of what could work for you. You might be able to find bits and pieces of it online.

Participation: If you are attending online meetings or phone meetings how much or how little you participate is completely up to you. If you are attending face to face meetings you will probably be asked to state your name. They will most likely give you a chance to share in which case you can just say pass and that should be completely acceptable.

Food Plan: Also varies incredibly. Abstinence is the act of refraining from overeating or from compulsive food behaviors. You will need to know what your abstinence is but that is different for every person. For some people they can have general rules such as no flour or sugar, someone else it might be no food after 6, someone else might choose to weigh and measure each morsel they eat. If you are attending regular OA meetings then they should not require that you follow any specific plan. If you are attending 90 day OA meetings then you will be required to commit to whatever plan your sponsor gives you.

OA has saved my life. I have belonged to regular OA, and 90 day OA. Currently I am trying to marry the two to make it fit my lifestyle and that is sure an interesting adventure. If you are interested in attending phone meetings I know that there is a 90 day weebly website that lists them. I listen to a few every week. The regular OA website should lead you to a host of online and phone meetings.

If transportation is an issue but you really want to get to a f2f meeting you should call the contact person for that meeting and see if there is anyone that lives close to you that would be willing to pick you up.

Best of luck to you!

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Old 10-29-2013, 03:14 PM   #4
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Wait so OA is Christian based, what's a Christo-pagan overeater supposed to do?
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:42 PM   #5
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I don't think anyone said it was Christian based. See 2 posts before yours. It is based on dropping the thinking that you can muscle your way through it on self will and realizing that a power greater than yourself is needed. Not necessarily a deity - it can be the group you trust, the sky, anything but little old you who, if you are here, has probably not been too successful at keeping the beast of compulsive overeating at bay.
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Old 10-30-2013, 01:16 AM   #6
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I;m confused with OA. I think it could help me but I've tried to get started twice with no success. The first time I got the sponsor, got the blue aa book and the 12 steps OA book..And then the sponsor didn't really guide me along. Basically, I have no clue what to do with the steps? Answer questions about them? I attend online meetings at times, but to be honest I don't get much out of those.
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Old 02-03-2014, 05:28 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by davina View Post
I;m confused with OA. I think it could help me but I've tried to get started twice with no success. The first time I got the sponsor, got the blue aa book and the 12 steps OA book..And then the sponsor didn't really guide me along. Basically, I have no clue what to do with the steps? Answer questions about them? I attend online meetings at times, but to be honest I don't get much out of those.
Don't leave before the miracle happens! It's a cheesy saying but it's true. Sometimes it takes years before a person becomes ready to act. Usually, it's shorter, but it's ok if it's longer.

Some people spend YEARS in OA without working the steps. Which means that they go to meetings but they aren't really working the program. Because of our confusion, these folks will often think they are in recovery because they are following their food plan and will take on sponcees. I suggest looking for someone to be a step sponsor for you. That's OA code for knowing and working through the 12 steps. There's a chance that your one sponsor didn't know the steps in the first place and therefore could not lead you through them. Since OA is volunteer run and doesn't restrict who can belong, you are going to encounter a whole bunch of funky BS at meetings. Don't let it distract you. There is still recovery to be found in those groups. Just keep your eyes open for it.
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