For Family and Friends

Watching our friends and loved ones suffer from compulsive eating can be painful, confusing, and even frustrating.

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Understanding Compulsive Eating Family and friends quiz.

As an adult, guardian, or friend, you may feel responsible. (MORE) We believe that compulsive overeating is a disease that can be arrested through working the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous. We do not believe that willpower alone can be the answer. If that were the case, we would have easily followed through. While no one is responsible for the disease of compulsive overeating, it is possible to enable continued destructive behavior. Some of us can trace our addiction back to our experiences in our childhood and teen years.

Below is a list of some of our experiences that one may consider when deciding what actions to take with their young person.

  • We used food to comfort ourselves (MORE) during times of high family stress where expressing our emotions were not validated or acknowledged.
  • We used food and weight as a blanket to protect us (MORE) from unwanted attention or behaviors from particular family members, friends, or those in authority.
  • We used food to cope (MORE) with the stress and confusion of puberty and acceptance of our sexuality, regardless of our gender or sexual orientation.
  • Some of our parents tried to control our eating (MORE) through diets, encouragement, shaming, or any other tactic with the hopes that we will stop hurting ourselves with food or compulsive food behaviors.
  • We had a disproportionate focus on the importance of physical perfection (MORE) causing excessive focus on body image and ways to control our weight.
  • Some of us have witnessed our own parents struggle (MORE) with compulsive overeating or other addictions as a way to cope with the pressures of life.


Learn more about what you can do to support your loved onefamily-friend2

  • Learn about the disease of compulsive overeating and the SOLUTION offered by Overeaters Anonymous by reading OA literature
  • Attend an open meeting.
  • Attend meetings of family groups for other Twelve-Step programs. Although no groups currently exist for families and friends of compulsive eaters, you might find help by attending Twelve-Step family programs related to other addictions. An internet search can help you find such programs.