As we work through the Compulsive Eaters Anonymous (OA) Twelve Step program to recover from compulsive eating, we have found a few tools at our fingertips that can help us. We use these tools: a meal plan, sponsorship, meetings, writing, telephone, literature, action plan, anonymity, and service on a regular basis, to help us achieve and maintain abstinence and recover from our illness.
In Compulsive Eaters Anonymous (OA), the definition of Abstinence and Recovery is: “Abstinence in OA is the action of abstaining from compulsive eating and compulsive eating behaviors while working to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. Physical, emotional and spiritual recovery is the result of living the program of the Twelve Steps of OA ”.
Many of us have discovered that we cannot abstain from compulsive eating unless we use some or
A MEAL PLAN
Although individual meal meal plans are as varied as our members, most OA members agree that a plan is necessary, no matter how flexible or structured.
As a tool, the meal plan helps us refrain from compulsive eating, guides us in our dietary decisions, and defines what, when, how, and why we eat.
There are no specific requirements for a meal plan; OA does not endorse or recommend any particular meal plan or exclude personal use of any. (See the Dignity of Choice and A Meal Plan brochures for more information.) For specific dietary or nutrition guidelines, OA suggests consulting a qualified healthcare professional, such as a physician or dietitian. Each of us develops a personal meal plan based on an honest appreciation of our own past experience. Guidance from our sponsors in developing a meal plan that reflects an honest desire to achieve and maintain abstinence seems essential to many of us.
Although individual meal plans are as varied as our members, most OA members agree that a plan is necessary, no matter how flexible or structured.
This tool helps us deal with the physical aspects of our illness, and helps us achieve physical recovery. From this vantage point, we can more effectively follow the OA Twelve Steps recovery program, moving beyond food to a happier, healthier, and more spiritual life experience.
We ask a godfather for help in our recovery program on all three levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual.
Godfather are OA members who live the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to the best of their ability. They are willing to share their recovery with other members of the Brotherhood and are committed to abstinence.
We ask a godfather for help in our recovery program on all three levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. By working with other OA members and sharing their experience, strength, and hope, godfathers continually renew and reaffirm their own recovery. Godfather share their program at the level of their own experience.
Ours is an attraction program; Find a godfather who has what you want, and ask that person how they are getting it. A member can work with more than one sponsor and can change sponsor if she wants. In any case, it is advisable not to change sponsors frequently.
There are many kinds of reunions, but brotherhood with other compulsive eaters is the foundation of all of them.
Meetings are groups of two or more compulsive eaters who come together to share their personal experience, and the strength and hope that OA has given them. There are many kinds of reunions, but brotherhood with other compulsive eaters is the foundation of all of them. Meetings give us an opportunity to identify and confirm our common problem, confirm our common solution, and share the gifts we receive through this program. In addition to face-to-face, face-to-face meetings, OA offers telephone and online meetings that are helpful in breaking the deadly isolation caused by distance, illness, or physical impairment.
These tools help us learn to contact other binge eaters, ask for help, and offer our help to others.
The contact of one member with another helps to share one by one and avoid the isolation that is so common among us. Many members call, write, or email their sponsors and other OA members on a daily basis. As a part of the surrender process, these tools help us learn to contact other binge eaters, ask for help, and offer our help to others. Telephone or electronic contact also provide us with an immediate outlet for those difficult-to-handle ups and downs that we may experience. Members must respect anonymity when leaving a voice or email message.
When we write our problems down on paper, we can see situations more clearly and perhaps better see any action needed in this regard.
In addition to writing our inventories and the list of people we have hurt, many of us have found that writing has been an indispensable tool for working through the steps. Furthermore, writing our thoughts and feelings on paper, or describing a disturbing incident, helps us better understand our actions and reactions in a way that is revealed to us simply by thinking or talking about them.
In the past, compulsive eating was our most common reaction to life. When we write our problems down on paper, we can see situations more clearly and perhaps better see any action needed in this regard.
Many OA members find that reading literature daily further reinforces the way of living the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
We read OA-approved books such as Binge Eating Anonymous, The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Binge Eating Anonymous, Voices of Recovery and Just For Today; and the book Alcoholics Anonymous, (the “Libro Grande”). We also study and read OA approved brochures, and Lifeline, our recovery magazine. We also study our program. Many OA members find that reading literature daily further reinforces the way of living the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. All of our literature provides us with an understanding of our binge eating problem, the strength to cope with it, and the real hope that there is a solution for us.
Along with the work of the Steps, an action plan can incorporate other OA tools to achieve structure, balance and governance in our lives.
An action plan is the process of identifying and taking the possible actions, short-term and long-term, that are necessary to support our abstinence and our individual emotional, spiritual, and physical recovery. Although the plan is ours, designed for our own recovery process, most of us consider it important to work with a sponsor, a partner in OA and / or professional to help us create it. This tool, like our meal plan, can vary widely between members and may need to be readjusted as we progress in our recovery.
For example, the action plan for a newcomer might focus on planning, shopping, and preparing food. Some members may need a regular exercise routine to improve strength and health, while others may need to limit their exercise to achieve greater balance. Some of us may need an action plan that includes time for meditation and relaxation or provides strategies to balance work, social interactions with family and friends, and our schedule. Others may need to organize their houses; dedicate yourself to your finances; and take care of your medical, dental or mental health conditions.
Along with the daily work of the Steps, an action plan can incorporate the other OA tools to achieve structure, balance and governance in our lives. By using this tool, we find that we are developing a sense of serenity and continue to grow emotionally and spiritually as we visibly progress one day at a time.
Protecting anonymity gives us freedom of expression and safeguards us from gossip.
Anonymity, referred to in Traditions Eleven and Twelve, is a tool that ensures that we will put principles before personalities. Protecting anonymity gives us freedom of expression and safeguards us from gossip. Anonymity gives us the assurance that only we have the right to allow our membership of OA to be known in our community. Anonymity at the press, radio, film and television level means that we never allow our faces or surnames to be used once we identify ourselves as OA members. This protects both the individual and the Brotherhood.
Within the Brotherhood, anonymity means that whatever we share with another OA member will be respectfully and confidentially. What we hear in meetings should stay there. However, we understand that we must not allow anonymity to limit our effectiveness within the Brotherhood. It is not an anonymity break to use our full name within the OA service body. It is also not an anonymity break to put our name on a Twelfth Step list to help group members who are having difficulties, as long as we are careful to avoid discussing specific personal information.
Another aspect of anonymity is that we are all equal before in the Brotherhood, whether we are newcomers or seasoned veterans. And our external status means nothing in OA; We do not have stars or VIPs (Very Important People). We come together just like compulsive eaters.
Any service, no matter how small, that helps us reach out to a suffering partner adds quality to our own recovery.
The primary purpose of our Brotherhood is to carry the message to the compulsive eater who still suffers; thus, this is the most basic form of service. Any service, no matter how small, that helps us reach out to a suffering partner adds quality to our own recovery. Members new to OA can serve by going to meetings, setting up chairs, taking out literature, talking to newcomers, doing whatever is needed in a group. Members who meet the abstinence requirement can serve beyond the group level, in activities such as; intergroup representative, committee chairs, region representative or conference delegate. There are many ways to give back what has been so generously given to us. We are encouraged to do what we can when we can. “A life of healthy and happy utility” is what he promises us as a result of working the Twelve Steps. Service helps fulfill that promise.
As OA’s liability statement states; ”Always extend the hand and heart of OA to all those who share my compulsion; I am responsible for this ”.