Do I have to speak at an OA meeting?
No. We will only ask you to share your first name so we may welcome you.
Is it okay to mention food at an OA meeting?
OA has no specific guideline about mentioning food at meetings. Tradition Four gives each group the freedom to decide this issue for itself. If you or others in your group are concerned about this, ask the group to discuss the issue during a group conscience meeting.
May I share at my first meeting?
Yes. There are no requirements for sharing at any OA meeting—face-to-face or virtual.
What goes on at an OA meeting?
We gather around a table or in a circle of chairs. Our meetings follow a format (like a script) that a volunteer leader reads. The format usually includes reading the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Other OA literature may also be read. The leader may ask “Is there is anyone here attending their first, second, or third OA meeting?” Members are asked to introduce themselves using first names only. The meeting may present a speaker or read from OA literature or the OA magazine. Then the meeting is opened for “shares.” These are often timed so everyone at the meeting who wishes to can share. You do NOT have to share, but you can. Halfway into the meeting (most meetings are one hour long), we pass the basket for contributions to pay the rent and support OA and make announcements. Newcomers are encouraged to consider buying literature rather than contribute as you do not yet know if you are planning to join OA. Then the meeting opens for shares again. The point of shares is to talk about our issues and how working the Twelve Step program of OA is helping us recover. The meeting ends with an OA closing and everyone who wishes to join hands in a circle does so. As the meeting breaks up, this is a great time to ask members questions you may have about OA and what you heard. A member may offer to call you to follow up and answer any more questions you have once you have had a chance to look at the newcomer brochure “What Do I Do Now?”
What if I have special needs, am hearing or visually impaired, or need wheelchair accessibility?
Contact your local service body to find out what is available in your area. Virtual meetings may be useful if there are limited options for assistance.
What is a special topic meeting?
Within the OA fellowship there are many diverse ways of working the program. Special topics indicate what you will share about in these meetings; the literature that will be read, what a speaker will talk about, if the members have a specific way of working their program. Each member—and subsequently each group—may adopt whatever method they choose to share their recovery as long as they meet the definition of a group. The best way to determine if a group is a registered OA group is to select it from the Find A Meeting search.
What is a special-focus meeting?
Within the OA fellowship, there are members who have discovered they are more comfortable meeting with other members who share similar experiences. The list of special focus meetings include: 100 Pounders; Anorexic/Bulimic; Asian Pacific Islanders; Atheist/Agnostic/Secular; Bariatric Surgery; Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; Health Issues; LGBTQ+; Men; Women; Young People.
What is cross talk at a meeting?
Cross talk during an OA meeting is giving advice to others who have already shared, speaking directly to another person rather than to the group, and questioning or interrupting the person speaking at the time.
What is the difference between an open group and a closed meeting?
The designation of open and closed meetings have to do with the level of anonymity the group has chosen.
If you think you have issues with food and are interested in exploring OA, you are welcome at any meeting—open or closed.
If you are interested in OA for another reason, like you are studying to be a nurse, doctor, or therapist, or are a concerned family member, we ask that you only attend open meetings.
What is the format of an OA meeting?
There are suggested formats for face-to-face, newcomer, telephone, Step Study, young people, and Lifeline meetings. Details on formats may be found on the OA.org documents page. We recommend attending six different meetings to decide which one works for you.
What kinds of meetings are there?
There are two ways of attending an OA meeting: face to face and virtually. Face-to-face meetings are where members travel to the meeting location and are in the same physical space while sharing and hearing what each of the members has to say.
Virtual meetings are newer and depend on technology to provide the location/space for the meeting. Telephone meetings, online meetings, video conference meetings, and meetings that use text or social media applications are all a part of the OA virtual world.
Who goes to special topic meetings?
Special topic meetings are open to any OA member but feature a focus on different aspects of the program or life that people feel impacts their program. It is still an OA meeting and it still means we use the Twelve Steps to recover from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors.