Family/Concerned Adult


Concerned about the way your loved one eats? Answering “yes” to several of these questions may indicate a loved one has problems with food and may be a compulsive eater. He or she is not alone. Since 1960, compulsive eaters have found a solution through OA. OA meetings are held worldwide. You can search for a meeting for yourself or your loved one on the FIND A MEETING page.

What can you do?

  • Learn more 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.

A Story of Improved Relations

Family Afterward

Since joining OA and finding recovery, I can see the damage I have done when I see a family living in my former life. When I am on the outside looking in, I can see the hurt and harm family members have experienced—the fear and rejection. When I was living in my addiction, my family had to learn to tiptoe around me because they didn’t want the consequences of upsetting me. (MORE)

The look in their eyes would say, “How is she today?” “When will she get mad or sad?” “Will she blame me for what is going on in her life?” My family felt like they had to take emotional care of me, or they would think, “I have to get out of here. I can’t take anymore.” When I was on a mission, they knew peace would not exist until I was done.

In recovery we live in “The Family Afterward” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., Chapter 9, pp. 122–135). We remember how it was living with us when we were not abstinent versus abstinent, and self-centered versus God-centered. We remember what it was like to live with us when we sought to make others do our will versus seeking to know and do God’s will.

A friend in recovery shared that her father was waiting for her to exhibit one of the negative behaviors she used to do as a teenager. She is now 30. The people around us still live in our old lives. Just think what we must have been like when people still expect us to blast them 15 years later!

What is it like living with me today? Would I want to be around me 24/7? Yes, most of the time. When I find myself saying things in my old way, I am aware of it. I often catch myself before I say those things. For example, I wanted to give my opinion the other day.

I heard God say, “Don’t do it,” and I kept my mouth shut. I’ve discovered God’s way always works for the best. My fight against doing his will has lessened. I live a God-centered instead of self-centered life. I am now in harmony with God, others and myself. That means I am no longer out there by myself, looking out for only myself and not caring about others. I am no longer demanding that people do it my way.

When we recover, our actions reflect the Big Book. Principles guide our lives. We have the map to harmony, and we reflect on peace and love. We are no longer tornadoes destroying people in our paths. How many husbands ask with hope, “Are you going to a meeting?” It must be tough living with us if they hope we attend a meeting just so we get out of the house and get centered again. When self is running wild, husbands want us to get help. But they take their lives into their own hands by suggesting we “go to a meeting.” Thank God they see the difference a meeting makes. For today, I will seek to know and do God’s will for my life. – reprinted from Lifeline

Helpful OA Literature

About the Disease


About the Solution