We’re glad you’re here.
Watching friends and loved ones suffer from compulsive eating can be painful, confusing, and even frustrating. You’re not alone and neither is your loved one. But first, let’s find out if your instincts are correct.
Quiz for Family and Concerned Adults
- Do you notice that food is inexplicably gone?
- Does the person try to sneak food?
- Do you find hidden food and wrappers?
- Are all the “goodies” gone?
- Does the person often eat alone?
- Does the person visit the bathroom after eating, and you hear water running?
- Are people often suggesting the person go on a diet?
- Does the person seem to have more food and less money?
- Does the person’s weight affect how he or she lives?
- Is the person routinely using laxatives or water pills?
- Is the person unhappy about his or her appearance?
- Is the person or other people in the person’s life unhappy about his or her eating behavior?
If you answered YES to any or most of these questions, your loved one may benefit from OA. So, what can you do? Here are some good ways to begin:
- Read Overeaters Anonymous literature to learn more about compulsive overeating and how Overeaters Anonymous (OA) can help your loved one. (Tip: To the Family of the Compulsive Eater pamphlet is a good one.)
- Attend an open meeting to observe a meeting and meet members.
Common questions asked by loved ones
I am concerned about my child/spouse/friend … what can I do?
Please fill out the contact form, so we can send you a packet of information, including the pamphlet To the Family of the Compulsive Eater. This information may help you understand compulsive eating as a disease and its effects on your loved one. If this person has not already found OA, it could also help bring him or her into the program. Your loved one is lucky to you have you in their life.
Can OA refer me to professional help for my family member?
As a Twelve-Step program, we must adhere to certain Traditions. One prohibits us from affiliating with or endorsing an outside organization, so we are unable to refer you to anyone outside OA. The OA program has helped thousands of compulsive eaters globally for more than 50 years. If your family member would like to attend a meeting, they will be welcomed and supported there. They can find a meeting here.
Are there OA meetings for teens?
In most meetings you will find a room of adults. There are few meetings designed especially for teens, but all ages are welcome at any meeting (we can’t say that enough!). In meetings members will share about their disease and the solution they have found in OA. We suggest that anyone under 18 is accompanied by a parent or other adult.
Search for face-to-face meetings in your area or call us at 505-891-2664 if you need further help. If there are no face-to-face meetings in your area, telephone meetings are a great alternative. For internet safety purposes, we discourage teen attendance at online meetings.
How can I help my pre-teen child who struggles with weight?
A desire to stop eating compulsively sounds simple, but we have learned that there are light-years of difference between wanting to change weight or eat normally and being able to surrender to achieve these goals. The true “desire to stop eating compulsively” usually cannot be instilled in a child by a concerned adult or parents–no matter how lovingly and tenderly they try. The willingness to do so must come from within. This may take years of painful experience of trying to stop on one’s own. Younger people are also often dealing with peer pressure, which can make it more difficult for them to follow a food plan. If you are not an OA member, attending an OA meeting to learn about the solution offered in OA can be helpful. If you’re an OA member, it may be helpful for you and your child to attend a face-to-face meeting together. We suggest that young people under the age of 18 be accompanied by a responsible adult if they wish to attend a face-to-face OA meeting. Please note that a few meetings have a minimum age requirement.
Would you please send my family member or friend information on OA?
In order to respect OA’s Principles of “anonymity” and “attraction rather than promotion,” the World Service Office can’t send material to anyone other than the party making the request. For this reason, we are unable to mail anything to your friend or family member.