Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is OA?
  2. How can I lose weight?
  3. How is OA different from commercial weight-loss programs?
  4. Is OA affiliated with AA or any other anonymous fellowship or medical group interested in obesity?
  5. If I have friends or family members who need OA, will you send them information?
  6. How does OA define abstinence and recovery?
  7. What is the difference between an open group and a closed group?
  8. I’m anorexic/bulimic. Will OA help me?
  9. Can young people join OA?
  10. How can I get more information about a meeting before attending?
  11. Who belongs to OA?
  12. How do I find a meeting near me?
  13. Are there telephone or on-line meetings?
  14. When can I give service?
  15. What is a sponsor? How do I get one?
  16. Why is OA anonymous?
  17. Is OA a religious organization?
  18. When am I ready to sponsor?
  19. Can I speak to a member today?

1. What is OA?

Overeaters Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women from all walks of life who meet in order to help solve a common problem – compulsive eating. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

2. How can I lose weight?

The concept of abstinence is the basis of OA’s program of recovery. By admitting inability to control compulsive eating in the past and abandoning the idea that all one needs is “a little willpower,” it becomes possible to abstain from overeating—one day at a time. OA offers the newcomer support in dealing with both the physical and emotional symptoms of compulsive overeating. For weight loss, any medically approved eating plan is acceptable.

3.How is OA different from commercial weight-loss programs?

OA is not a diet club, and we do not endorse or recommend any particular plan of eating. While OA does make available to its fellowship a pamphlet which contains sample food plans OA members have chosen as plans of eating (Dignity of Choice), OA members are free to follow the food plan of their choice. It is strongly recommended that the members contact a health care professional before embarking on any particular plan of eating. The OA program works, not by following a particular food plan, but by working the Twelve Steps.

4. Is OA affiliated with AA or any other anonymous fellowship or medical group interested in obesity?

No. OA is not affiliated with any other organizations of any sort. While someone’s first contact with the program may come from a treatment facility, OA itself is not affiliated with treatment centers.

5. If I have friends or family members who need OA, will you send them information?

Anyone may order literature from the World Service Office of Overeaters Anonymous (oa.org bookstore),however, it will not send unsolicited literature to anyone. If you have a friend or family member who needs OA, perhaps you can share literature with them or recommend that they checkout this website for information that might help them.

6. How does OA define abstinence and recovery?

WSBC Policy 1988b, (Amended 2002, 2009 and 2011) “Abstinence in Overeaters Anonymous is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight.  Spiritual, emotional and physical recovery is the result of living the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve-Step program.”  Recovery for each OA member is highly personal. There are no rules, just suggestions. Those of us who choose to recover one day at a time practice the Twelve Steps. In so doing, we achieve lasting freedom from our food obsession and a new way of life.

7. What is the difference between an open group and a closed group?

The following policy statement defining open and closed groups was adopted at WSBC 1982 and revised in 1989:
• Open group is a group which is open to anyone.
• Closed group is a group that is open to anyone with a desire to stop eating compulsively, or anyone who thinks they may have a problem with compulsive overeating.

8. I’m anorexic/bulimic. Will OA help me?

OA is a worldwide Fellowship, open to all who have the desire to stop eating compulsively. Compulsive eating behaviors may include overeating, undereating, anorexia, bulimia, laxative or drug abuse, overexercising, or any combination of these actions. You may feel that you are alone, struggling with feelings of powerlessness and shame over your compulsive eating, body image and weight. You may wonder if anyone else feels the way you do. We can tell you that many people in OA have found recovery and freedom from the crippling effects of compulsive overeating. Members of all ages have discovered that the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous offer a common solution for all who wish to recover. See Focus on Anorexia and Bulima Packet or OA Members Come in All Sizes for more information.

9. Can young people join OA?

Yes, sometimes they attend meetings open to all who have a desire to stop eating compulsively and sometimes they attend special meetings targeted for teens and young people. A pamphlet written especially for teens is available.

 10. How can I get more information about a meeting before attending?

If you will click here for our current local meetings list, you’ll find a contact number associated with each meeting. Feel free to call that person and ask questions about the format or any other concerns you might have. You may also write to Central New Mexico Intergroup at oacnmi@gmail.com with your questions about OA, in general, or specific local meetings. We’ll happily answer your questions.

11. Who belongs to OA?

No one ‘joins’ OA in the usual sense of the word. There are no dues to pay or membership applications to be completed. Once we have heard about OA and believe we have an eating problem, we simply attend local OA meetings of our choice. Anyone who says he/she is a member of OA is a member.

12. How do I find a meeting near me?

You may find meetings anywhere in the world at the Overeaters Anonymous World Service website (www.oa.org). To find a meeting in the Central New Mexico area click here. The Central New Mexico Intergroup can be reached at oacnmi@gmail.com or 505-261-3553.

13. Are there telephone or online meetings?

Yes, there are both telephone and online meetings available if face-to-face meetings are not available in your area or the scheduled meeting times conflict with your schedule. You can access or download a list of online meetings and telephone meetings from the Overeaters Anonymous World Service website. You also can request this information by calling 505-261-3553 or e-mail us at oacnmi@gmail.com. For OA Meetings in the Central New Mexico area, click here.

14. When can I give service?

You can give service as soon as you declare yourself a member of OA. Any form of service that helps reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery. Members can give service by getting to meetings, putting away chairs, putting out literature and talking to newcomers.

As OA’s responsibility pledge states: “Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion; for this, I am responsible”

15. What is a sponsor? How do I get one?

Sponsors are OA members committed to abstinence and to living the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to the best of their ability. Sponsors share their program up to the level of their experience and strengthen their recovery through this service to others. To find a sponsor, look for someone who has what you want, and ask how he or she is achieving it.

16. Why is OA anonymous?

Anonymity allows the Fellowship to govern itself through principles rather than personalities. Social and economic status have no relevance in OA; we are all compulsive eaters. Anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television and other public media of communication provides assurance that OA membership will not be disclosed.

17. Is OA a religious organization?

No. OA is not a religious organization since it requires no religious belief as a condition of membership. OA has among its membership people of many religious faiths as well as atheists and agnostics. OA is, however, a spiritual program based on each members’ personal interpretation of a higher power.

18. When am I ready to sponsor?

It is important to realize that there is no one, perfect way to sponsor. A sponsor is simply one OA member working with another to better understand and live the Twelve-Step program. There are as many different methods of sponsoring as there are OA members. The key to being a sponsor is to share one’s experience, strength and hope as it relates to OA’s Twelve-Step program. If you have maintained any length of abstinence and are working the Twelve Steps, you have something to share. There is no graduation date when members magically become ready to sponsor. As we learn in OA, all progress is worth sharing. The Sponsorship Kit contains helpful resources to get you started.

19. Can I speak to a member today?

It’s possible. Call us at 505-261-3553. or e-mail us at oacnmi@gmail.com.. We will try to get back to you today. You may also call the OA World Service Office in Rio Rancho, New Mexico at 1-505-891-2664.

FAQ’s taken or adapted in part from Overeater’s Anonymous Inc.’s reprintable materials. Copyright to these materials is held by Overeater’s Anonymous Inc. For more questions and answers see oa.org FAQ’s.