Virtual Meetings

Just wanted to share with you guys that the Telephone Meetings and Online Meetings are a blessing in my life. I am visually impaired and have difficulty walking. These meetings are a lifesaver and a treasured gift to me.  Thank you OA.

—S. C.

OA virtual meetings consist of telephone, online, and non-real-time meetings. Using telephone or online technology, OA members from around the world may attend meetings together. These meetings take place in “real time” and are fully interactive. Also included are non-real-time meetings, which do not meet in real time. Virtual meetings make recovery from compulsive eating possible for those who are unable to physically attend meetings, and also serve as a valuable program supplement to those who attend face-to-face meetings.

Like all registered OA meetings, virtual meetings welcome all who have the desire to stop eating compulsively, do not require members to practice any actions to remain a member or to share at a meeting, have no affiliations other than OA, and practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about Virtual Meetings

Different online meetings have different sign-in instructions. There is a meeting URL listed for each online meeting. Enter that URL into your Internet browser. Then, refer to “Login Procedures” under the “Open Details” link for specific instructions. An email address and/or a telephone number is listed, if would like more information.
They are similar to face-to-face meetings. Every meeting practices the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, guided by the Twelve Concepts of OA Service, and is committed to welcoming any member who has the desire to stop eating compulsively. Telephone Meetings: The individual meeting description will include a telephone bridge phone number and a meeting access code. Dial the telephone number and when prompted, key in the meeting access code. The phone bridge is not typically a toll free number, and each member is responsible for the long distance charges incurred (if any) while the member is attending the meeting. When calling into a phone meeting, a member’s phone is usually muted. At the start of each meeting, members are told how to mute (*1 or *6) and how to unmute a call. When it is time for open sharing, members are encouraged to unmute and say their name. The leader/moderator will acknowledge the name heard, and the member will have time to share. After sharing, the member mutes their phone line and returns to listening to others. Online Meetings: When members wish to share, they key in an asterisk (*) and wait for the meeting leader to acknowledge that it is their turn. If multiple members enter an asterisk at the same time, the leader will encourage each to share in the order the requests appeared on the screen. Note that online meetings have a different pace, in that some people key quickly, while others key slowly. What is unique to an online meeting is that previous members’ shares are still visible on the screen until the end of the meeting, so that while a person may be keying slowly, a member reading can view the entire stream of the meeting from the start until the current share. When the share is finished, the member keys the word “Pass” to open the floor to another speaker. Usually the shares are visible only during the meeting and are not archived.

Each telephone and online meeting has its own meeting practices and protocols. These will become clear when you attend them.

The numbers may vary from a few members to over 200. You can attend a variety of virtual meetings to find one that you are comfortable with.
Yes. Many members have found recovery through virtual meetings. Many others find that a combination of virtual and face-to-face meeting attendance in the course of a week works best for them.
Many virtual meetings ask available sponsors to identify themselves, and maintain sponsor coordinators with lists of available sponsors. You ask someone if he or she would be willing to be your sponsor. You may ask anyone whether or not he or she identifies himself or herself as a sponsor.
Telephone meetings usually use no-cost conference call services, meaning that the company doesn’t charge a fee to hold the meeting. It is not typically toll free, however. You use your personal telephone plan to attend telephone meetings, so your regular long distance charges would apply. Members are responsible for their own long distance charges. If it were a face-to-face meeting, you would pay the costs to get to the meeting (i.e., gas, bus or subway fares, etc.), but you do not have to pay to actually attend the meeting itself.
Registered OA telephone meetings are listed on the OA website on the Find A Meeting page. The meeting description will include the phone bridge number with the access code. If a meeting is not listed on the OA website, it is NOT a registered OA meeting, and the group has not agreed to practice OA's Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, guided be the Twelve Concepts or OA Service.
Most virtual meeting formats are similar to face-to-face meeting formats. Although meeting formats vary, the differences between telephone and face-to-face meetings are not significant.
Yes. There are no requirements for sharing at any OA meeting, face-to-face or virtual.
There are no required membership fees in OA. Our program is open to all who have a desire to stop eating compulsively, regardless of personal financial condition. While virtual meetings have no direct expenses, our Seventh Tradition reminds us of the importance of supporting our Fellowship as a whole.
We are self-supporting through member contributions. In addition sales of our literature provides funds to support OA and its primary purpose to carry the message of recovery that is possible through the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous.
This is not an official OA meeting. The “parking lot” is similar to what happens after a face-to-face meeting is closed and members gather informally to chat in the parking lot. It is a term used to describe what happens when members stay after a virtual meeting to chat. At this informal gathering members may not adhere to the meeting protocols and uphold the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts of OA Service.
Click on “Find a Meeting” and select the type of meeting you are looking for. You may select face-to-face, telephone or online meetings. You can search by day, time of day, language, open or closed, special topic and special focus. For virtual meetings, because they are not geographic, be sure to select your time zone before you hit the search key. The meeting may then be sorted by day and time by hitting the Day icon. Only meetings listed on the OA Web site are registered OA groups. Be alerted to the fact that some members stay past the designated meeting and share similar to a “parking lot” gathering of members after a face-to-face meeting. These gatherings are NOT affiliated with OA. Attend at your own risk.

Overeaters Anonymous has more than 400 recovery meetings each week for compulsive overeaters, bulimics and anorexics and the numbers continue to grow. Meetings are available every day and almost any time during the day or night. Average attendance per meeting is 39 members. Anyone with a desire to stop eating compulsively is welcome.