FAQ – Groups

The OA Program

There are suggested meeting formats for Face to Face, Newcomer, Telephone, Step Study, Young Persons, and Lifeline Meetings that may be found on OA.org – documents – Group Secretary Materials.
OA is not affiliated with any other organization of any sort. Our policy is “cooperation but not affiliation.”
The following policy statement defining open and closed groups was adopted at WSBC 1982 and revised in 1989 and 2018: 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. This includes newcomers.


It's easy to start a meeting. Two or more people who seek recovery and want to carry the message to others are all that's needed. For more information, read How to Start a Meeting.
Within the OA family there are many diverse ways of working the 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 according to OA Bylaws, Subpart B, Article V. For more information, see Policy 1992a in the Business Conference Policy Manual. Read the Third and Fourth Traditions for further understanding. The best way to determine if a group is a registered OA group is to select it from the Find A Meeting search. If you want to know what the special-topic groups are, use the advanced search option.


In most groups the secretary is elected/appointed for a specific period of time. The Secretary coordinates group activities, may call steering committee/business/group conscience meetings and preside at them. For more information OA Handbook for Members, Groups, and Service Bodies: Recovery Opportunities. For more information view the Secretary Materials page.

Intergroups and National/Language Service Boards

Contact WSO. Search for meeting information online, and click on “Find Service Body. To identify the areas served by regions, go to the Regions page in the Members section.


The need for liability insurance for a meeting varies. You may want to contact your local intergroup/service board for information.
The word “anonymous” in our name implies a promise of privacy. To those compulsive eaters who feel ashamed and guilty and who are afraid friends, family, or employers will criticize, we say, “Welcome. See Traditions 11 & 12.
Your local intergroup/service board may have information or contact a local insurance agent or broker about this matter.

Tax-Exempt Status

IRS provides forms and instructions for non-profit status.
Unfortunately, the Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. tax ID number is specifically for the corporation (which includes the Board of Trustees, the World Service Office and the World Service Business Conference). If another entity were to use that ID number, it would jeopardize both OA and the other entity (the meeting group).

Board of Trustees


Members may give at their meetings by contributing to the 7th tradition as it is being passed. Groups may contribute according to the informed group conscience. Read the Seventh Tradition pamphlet for more information or Contribute online by clicking here.

Mail donations to your intergroup and region to their offices. To mail contributions to the World Service Office, use the contribution form, or you may contribute online here.

Give what you can afford at every meeting you attend. Give as if your life depends on it! A member may contribute up to 5,000 USD per year to the general fund, up to 5,000 USD per year to any special fund, and up to 5,000 USD per year to honor the memory of the deceased member. OA, Inc. will accept a bequest in any amount from the will of a deceased member. (Read the Seventh Tradition of OA pamphlet for more information.)

Ordering Literature

You can order by mail with a check or money order or by phone, fax, or online using MasterCard, Visa or Discover. All orders must be prepaid so payment must accompany your order.
Allow 10–14 business days for delivery in the US , three to four weeks for delivery outside the US.
Need it sooner? Call the WSO to have your order expedited. The WSO will let you know the expedited shipping cost and will also add an additional $10 handling fee.
Please make any returns of goods within 90 days of your original order date. Include a copy of the invoice. Items returned must be in saleable condition. A credit will be issued to your account which will be valid for one year.
Yes. You can purchase the soft cover version of Alcoholics Anonymous (the Big Book) in English by phone, fax or online using a credit card or by mailing a check to the WSO.
Conference-approved literature has received the Conference Seal of Approval by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the voting delegates at the World Service Business Conference. All original publications for use by the OA Fellowship as a whole must be Conference approved. Board-approved literature are publications that have been approved by the Board of Trustees, and may be either one or both of the following:
  • Literature that has originated from a Board or Conference Committee and is not intended for the Fellowship as a whole.
  • Literature that has been compiled from existing Conference-Approved Literature or Lifeline magazine. In either case the items are OA-approved literature as defined by the World Service Business Conference Policy 2010a and may be displayed and/or sold at OA meetings.
All OA Conference-approved and Board-approved literature is copyrighted by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. To assist members in carrying the message of recovery, OA groups and service bodies may reprint some items without having to submit a written request to the WSO. Go to Copyright Requests to learn more and to obtain copyright permission forms.
Logo permission must be obtained in advance from the WSO for any reproduction or use of the Overeaters Anonymous, Inc., logo. The OA logo may only be used in connection with the official OA business of a registered group or service body. Anytime the OA logo is used, the material must include the name of the service body to distinguish the item as being from a service body rather than from Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. Go to Copyright Requests to learn more and to obtain logo permission forms.

World Service Events

The World Service Business Conference (WSBC) is the annual business meeting of Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. WSBC serves as the collective conscience of the Fellowship of Overeaters Anonymous. Held annually in April or May, this week-long meeting is attended by delegates representing OA service bodies around the world. It is held to elect trustees, amend bylaws, adopt new business policies and provide information to delegates through presentations and workshops on issues that affect OA as a whole. Check WSBC World Service Business Conference for specific details.
Delegates from service bodies around the world attend the WSBC to represent the group conscience of OA as a whole.
Unity Day was created to reaffirm the love and understanding shared by members of our Fellowship – with an emphasis on Tradition One, “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on OA unity.” Unity Day is observed annually in OA worldwide with a moment of silence on the last Saturday of February in even years and the last Sunday in February in odd years at 11:30 a.m.
IDEA International Day Experiencing Abstinence takes place annually on the third weekend of November. This day encourages OA members worldwide to begin or reaffirm their abstinence from compulsive overeating.
December 12 (12/12) each year is designated as OA’s International Twelfth Step Within Day. The purpose is to encourage OA service bodies, meetings, and individual members to reach out to those within the Fellowship who are still suffering from compulsive eating behaviors.

World Service Office (WSO)

The legal and official business of OA is conducted by paid professional staff, working together with the Board of Trustees.
By mail: PO Box 44727, Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87174-4727 USA. By telephone: 505-891-2664. By fax: 505-891-4320. CLICK HERE.
Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. mountain time. The WSO is closed on major US holidays.
Sure! If you are in the Albuquerque area, come by during office hours, and the staff will be delighted to give you a tour.
Some staff members are members of OA and some are not. All are hired for their professional expertise and their desire to serve the OA Fellowship.
The WSO does not have a toll-free phone number. However, most information is available on the website, and the staff is happy to answer your inquiry by email.
The World Service Office does not make decisions on policy for the Fellowship. The staff serves the Fellowship and follows its direction as set by the annual World Service Business Conference and the Board of Trustees.