Group Of Overweight People Attending OA meeting.

Find Overeaters Anonymous Meetings near You − Start Eating Healthy

The term “addiction” is modernly linked to the abuse of psychoactive substances. However, considering the biochemical nature of the human brain, virtually any pleasurable experience can become addictive.

Food can be one of these pleasurable experiences as it excites the reward circuits for the brain to like and want specific snacks or meals, leading us to assume that the concept of “comfort food” has a scientific basis, after all. But when the brain is under stress, these reward circuits get disrupted, making it harder to find pleasure in a healthy amount of food intake and potentially causing overeating or binge eating disorder (BED).

Since many adults overeat as a result of stress, Overeaters Anonymous (OA) was founded to offer tools and a 12-step program to address the underlying emotional causes of stress eating, helping people return to healthy eating habits. Find AO meetings near you here.

How Does OA Work?

Food addiction is still not reflected as an official mental health or behavioral disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria.

Unofficially, we can consider eating disorder as a perceived disorder due to its functional negative consequences, associated distress and potential risks to psychological and physical well-being. These adverse health consequences are being suffered by the 2.03 million Americans with binge eating disorders and the 2.42 million suffering from another type of eating disorder.

Overeaters Anonymous (OA) was founded in 1960 to provide support and service for these groups, helping them to overcome problematic relationships with food and unhealthy eating habits.

OA and the 12-Step Program

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provide a structured approach to recovery, emphasizing the acceptance of addiction as a chronic condition.

These steps include admitting weakness over alcohol or drugs, having moral accountability, admitting wrongs, making amends and fostering spiritual growth through helping others. Participation in AA offers support for remaining substance-free, a social network (“fellowship”) and a set of guiding principles to follow in the recovery process.

The most important actions of the 12-Step program are:

  • Don’t drink or use drugs
  • Go to meetings
  • Ask for help
  • Get a sponsor
  • Join a group
  • Get active

This AA peer-supported program inspired Overeaters Anonymous, and currently, the organization has a 9-tool standard framework that can be applied by any person with an eating disorder.

The OA 9-tool standard framework includes:

  • Sponsorship

Following the mantra of the AA program of “spiritual growth through helping others,” OA offers a similar approach in which a sponsor with significant abstinence time and experience in working all 12 steps guides and supports the newcomer.

This sponsor becomes the primary source of emotional support and psychological advice.

  • Plan for Eating

The OA food plan, also known as the plan for eating, is one of the program’s essential tools to help its members achieve their goals. The aim is to help individuals identify harmful and counterproductive eating patterns, such as compulsive and binge eating, guiding them toward healthier food decisions.

The OA newcomer should make this eating plan and send it to the sponsor.

  • Meetings

As a peer-supported program, meetings and social support are the core effective values of Overeaters Anonymous.

Regular in-person or virtual meetings are safe spaces that allow overeaters to identify challenges, discover solutions, gain support, and share success stories. Both meetings and social support enable a helpful emotional experience.

Meetings typically last between 60 and 90 minutes and may be scheduled once or multiple times weekly. The group size may vary.

  • Writing

This is another one of the explicit tools of OA, as writing about their life story will help the sponsor know their sponsored individual better.

However, this tool is also used as journaling since it is a form of psychotherapy encouraging members to write in detail about their journey, feelings, challenges and triumphs.

  • Literature

Accompanying writing, new OA members have an extensive approved library of written, audio and video OA resources that are freely available to all members.

The literature used by the OA is based on the guidelines set by the book Alcoholics Anonymous and renamed the “Overeaters Anonymous Big Book.” It was the original 12-step program and lays the groundwork for many of the tenets upheld by OA today.

Other reading resources include the “Twelve Traditions of OA,” “For Today,” and “Lifeline” books, magazines and pamphlets on eating recovery.

  • Telephone calls

This tool is used after the first meeting.

If the newcomer wants to continue the program, they can start using phone calls with the sponsors they trust the most. These regular check-ins serve as a way to share successes and support. OA believes this is where newcomers start feeling the “power of belonging.”

  • Action plan

As with any other personal goal, having a plan of action outlining strengths, weaknesses, and objectives helps everyone stay on the path to recovery without losing motivation or direction. An action plan emphasizes a one-day-at-a-time approach and consistency to the Overeaters Anonymous program.

  • Anonymity

Honoring its name, the OA assures and guarantees all its members complete anonymity and confidentiality, ensuring that everything shared during meetings is held in confidence. This privilege extends to everyone who is part of the program.

  • Service

After completing all the steps, the not-anymore newcomer will be in a “withdrawal” phase and will go back to read their Life Story to their sponsor to be considered as “abstinent.”

This person can later serve the program by becoming a sponsor, helping set up meetings and events, guiding new members, and serving as representatives or committee chairs for any group’s events.

Other Eating Disorder Support Groups Near Me

The Overeaters Anonymous program is undoubtedly one of the most popular eating disorder support groups, but its restrictive practices over potentially “triggering” foods without clearly defining what this may be has received criticism.

If you don’t feel attracted to this program, several other organizations provide similar help and support:

  • Center for Discovery
  • EDCare
  • 18percent
  • F.E.A.S.T. Around the Dinner Table Forum
  • Morningside Chats in the Living Room
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
  • Alsana
  • The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness
  • Recovery Record
  • The Eating Disorder Foundation

Overeaters Anonymous − Finding Eating Disorder Support

The research concludes that we need further evidence to assess OA program effectiveness. It’s suggested that combining medical assistance and psychological interventions within the OA framework could offer long-term recovery.

The OA approach promotes healthy eating habits and avoids harmful behaviors instead of counting calories and weight loss. If you or anyone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), talk to a specialist who will guide you to the best treatment option.

For more information about Overeaters Anonymous, search online or contact any of the programs listed above.

People Also Ask

How do overeaters work?

Overeaters consume excessive quantities of food due to various psychological, emotional or physiological factors, often leading to obesity and health complications. Treatment typically involves therapy, nutritional guidance and lifestyle changes.

How do I find overeaters anonymous near me?

Many people ask how to find OA meetings near me. To do so, visit the official OA website and use the “Find a Meeting” tool. Enter your city, state, or ZIP code to search for meetings by location and type, such as in-person, online, or telephone meetings. Review the results for meeting times, locations, and formats.

Is OA like AA?

Yes, Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in its twelve-step program and support group structure, providing a framework for those struggling with compulsive eating to find recovery.

Which disease is caused by overeating?

Overeating can lead to various health issues, including obesity, which increases the risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and several types of cancers.

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  • Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Monday
    12:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Wednesday
    13:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Thursday
    12:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Saturday
    11:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Alano Club Building
    568 W Sycamore St, Fayetteville, AR, 72703

    Saturday
    09:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Alano Club
    2800 Harris Grade Rd, Lompoc, CA , 93436

    Wednesday
    17:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Unity Church
    3205 N 12th St, Grand Junction, CO, 81506

    Monday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    New Life Church
    1350 N 7th St, Grand Junction, CO, 81501

    Thursday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Unity Church
    3205 N 12th St, Grand Junction, CO, 81506

    Thursday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Evergreen Ministries
    4512 48th Ave, Hudsonville, MI, 49426

    Thursday
    10:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Evergreen Ministries
    4512 48th Ave, Hudsonville, MI, 49426

    Saturday
    08:00:00
    Direction
  • Ossippe Overeaters Anonymous

    CrossRoads Church
    West Ossipee, NH, 3890

    Tuesday
    17:45:00
    Direction
  • Black,Mountain Overeaters Anonymous

    St James Episcopal Church
    120 Fortune St, Black Mountain, NC, 28711

    Saturday
    09:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Wimberley Presbyterian Church
    100 Carney Ln, Wimberley, TX, 78676

    Wednesday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Cresent Ig Office

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Thursday
    17:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters anonymous

    St Joseph's Hospital
    400 Water Ave, Hillsboro, WI, 54634

    Tuesday
    17:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous Meeting

    Thousand Oaks
    275 E Hillcrest Dr Suite 105, Thousand Oaks, CA, 91360

    Wednesday
    18:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous Meeting

    Calabasas, CA
    4389 Willow Glen St, Calabasas, CA, 91302

    Friday
    18:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Crossroads Club
    canyon_lake, TX, 78132

    Wednesday
    20:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Seventh-day Adventist Church
    10399-10351 N Government Way, Hayden, ID, 83835

    Tuesday
    18:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Hayden Lake Seventh-Day Adventist Church
    10399-10351 N Government Way, Hayden, ID, 83835

    Tuesday
    18:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Seventh-day Adventist Church
    10399-10351 N Government Way, Hayden, ID, 83835

    Tuesday
    18:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    SHARE Culver City
    6664-6640 Green Valley Cir, Culver City, CA, 90230

    Monday
    18:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Alano Club Building
    568 W Sycamore St, Fayetteville, AR, 72703

    Wednesday
    10:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Monday
    12:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Wednesday
    13:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Thursday
    12:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Saturday
    11:00:00
    Direction
  • Monday Eve OA Dartmouth Cole Harbour NS Canada 2 Circassion Dr

    Church of StAndrew beside Can Tire off Forest Hill Pkwy
    102 Circassion Dr, Dartmouth, NS

    Monday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Alano Club Building
    568 W Sycamore St, Fayetteville, AR, 72703

    Saturday
    09:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Alano Club
    2800 Harris Grade Rd, Lompoc, CA, 93436

    Wednesday
    17:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Unity Church
    3205 N 12th St, Grand Junction, CO, 81506

    Monday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    New Life Church
    1350 N 7th St, Grand Junction, CO, 81501

    Thursday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Unity Church
    3205 N 12th St, Grand Junction, CO, 81506

    Thursday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Evergreen Ministries
    4512 48th Ave, Hudsonville, MI, 49426

    Thursday
    10:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Evergreen Ministries
    4512 48th Ave, Hudsonville, MI, 49426

    Saturday
    08:00:00
    Direction
  • Ossippe Overeaters Anonymous

    CrossRoads Church
    West Ossipee, NH, 3890

    Tuesday
    17:45:00
    Direction
  • Black,Mountain Overeaters Anonymous

    St James Episcopal Church
    120 Fortune St, Black Mountain, NC, 28711

    Saturday
    09:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Wimberley Presbyterian Church
    100 Carney Ln, Wimberley, TX, 78676

    Wednesday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Golden Cresent Ig Office

    Golden Crescent Overeaters Anonymous
    Navarro St, Victoria, TX, 77901

    Thursday
    17:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters anonymous

    St Joseph's Hospital
    400 Water Ave, Hillsboro, WI, 54634

    Tuesday
    17:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous Meeting

    Thousand Oaks
    275 E Hillcrest Dr Suite 105, Thousand Oaks, CA, 91360

    Wednesday
    18:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous Meeting

    Calabasas, CA
    4389 Willow Glen St, Calabasas, CA, 91302

    Friday
    18:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Crossroads Club
    canyon_lake, TX, 78132

    Wednesday
    20:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Seventh-day Adventist Church
    10399-10351 N Government Way, Hayden, ID, 83835

    Tuesday
    18:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Hayden Lake Seventh-Day Adventist Church
    10399-10351 N Government Way, Hayden, ID, 83835

    Tuesday
    18:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Seventh-day Adventist Church
    10399-10351 N Government Way, Hayden, ID, 83835

    Tuesday
    18:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    SHARE Culver City
    6664-6640 Green Valley Cir, Culver City, CA, 90230

    Monday
    18:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Alano Club Building
    568 W Sycamore St, Fayetteville, AR, 72703

    Wednesday
    10:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Alano Club
    568 W Sycamore St, Fayetteville, AR, 72703

    Wednesday
    10:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters anonymous

    Community center
    1199-1125 9th St, Wenatchee, WA, 98801

    Wednesday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    New Life Church
    1350 N 7th St, Grand Junction, CO, 81501

    Saturday
    09:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Christ Lutheran Church
    1306 Wilcox St, Menomonie, WI, 54751

    Thursday
    19:00:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    Fairfield Cordelia Library
    5050 Business Center Dr, Fairfield, CA, 94534

    Thursday
    19:30:00
    Direction
  • Overeaters Anonymous

    First Baptist Church of Clinton
    300 Market St, Clinton, TN, 37716

    Monday
    17:30:00
    Direction
  • Half Moon Bay Overeaters Anonymous Meeting

    Methodist Church
    777 Miramontes St, Half Moon Bay, CA, 94019

    Saturday
    10:00:00
    Direction

Please note that AA meeting locations and schedules tend to change often and quickly. Please always check these times to be accurate. If you have new information about an AA meeting, please inform us at [email protected]

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Page Sources

  1. Berridge, K. C., Ho, Y., Richard, J. M., & DiFeliceantonio, A. G. (2010). The tempted brain eats: Pleasure and desire circuits in obesity and eating disorders. Brain Research, 1350, 43. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainres.2010.04.003
  2. Razzoli, M., Pearson, C., Crow, S., & Bartolomucci, A. (2017). Stress, overeating, and obesity: Insights from human studies and preclinical models. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 76(Pt A), 154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.01.026
  3. Vasiliu, O. (2021). Current Status of Evidence for a New Diagnosis: Food Addiction-A Literature Review. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.824936
  4. Statista. (2023, November 29). Number of U.S. individuals with eating disorders in 2018-2019 by condition. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1230170/eating-disorder-number-people-united-states-by-condition/
  5. Donovan, D. M., Ingalsbe, M. H., Benbow, J., & Daley, D. C. (2013). 12-Step Interventions and Mutual Support Programs for Substance Use Disorders: An Overview. Social Work in Public Health, 28, 313. https://doi.org/10.1080/19371918.2013.774663
  6. Rodríguez-Martín, B. C., & Gallego-Arjiz, B. (2018). Overeaters Anonymous: A Mutual-Help Fellowship for Food Addiction Recovery. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01491
Retrieved on April 10, 2024.
María José Petit-Rodríguez

About Author

María José Petit-Rodríguez

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Norman Chazin

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