The Spiritual Principles of the OA Program

The Overeaters Anonymous Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts of OA Service have Principles related to them. They are listed here:

The Principles in the Twelve Steps
(as listed in Step Twelve of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition)

  • Step One: Honesty
  • Step Two: Hope
  • Step Three: Faith
  • Step Four: Courage
  • Step Five: Integrity
  • Step Six: Willingness
  • Step Seven: Humility
  • Step Eight: Self-discipline
  • Step Nine: Love
  • Step Ten: Perseverance
  • Step Eleven: Spiritual Awareness
  • Step Twelve: Service

The Principles in the Twelve Traditions

(as listed in the The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition)

  • Tradition One: Unity
  • Tradition Two: Trust
  • Tradition Three: Identity
  • Tradition Four: Autonomy
  • Tradition Five: Purpose
  • Tradition Six: Solidarity
  • Tradition Seven: Responsibility
  • Tradition Eight: Fellowship
  • Tradition Nine: Structure
  • Tradition Ten: Neutrality
  • Tradition Eleven: Anonymity
  • Tradition Twelve: Spirituality

The Principles in the Twelve Concepts of OA Service

(as listed in The Twelve Concepts of OA Service)

  • Concept One: Unity
  • Concept Two: Conscience
  • Concept Three: Trust
  • Concept Four: Equality
  • Concept Five: Consideration
  • Concept Six: Responsibility
  • Concept Seven: Balance
  • Concept Eight: Delegation
  • Concept Nine: Ability
  • Concept Ten: Clarity
  • Concept Eleven: Humility
  • Concept Twelve: Guidelines
    • (a) Selflessness
    • (b) Realism
    • (c) Representation
    • (d) Dialogue
    • (e) Compassion
    • (f) Respect

Blessed Beyond Anything

“Having worked the Twelve Steps, what did I learn about the Principles?

Honesty. I learned to look truthfully at ugly things that I am powerless over yet make my life unmanageable.  It takes honest vision to fully understand there is a problem and that I have no way to solve it myself.

Hope. I came to believe I can have a relationship with a Higher Power who can do things for me that I can’t and that I can be restored to sanity.  There is hope that the painful parts of my life can change and that HP has a better plan for me.

Faith. It was a leap of faith that something would sustain me when I stopped my way of doing things.  But what I couldn’t imagine doing forever, I could do for one day.  Those days added up to a miracle.  Aligning my will with God’s and going through scary places in recovery is faith working in my life.

Courage and Integrity. Note the word “fearless” in “fearless moral inventory”; fear and faith don’t coexist.  It takes courage and integrity to look back at unflattering moments and share them with another person.  To overcome my fear, become vulnerable, and present my true self is the basis for real relationships and connection.

Willingness. It’s the whatever-it-takes clause in the contract with God and being ready, in God’s time, to let go not only of hurtful things we want to change but also defects we enjoy.  That’s a scary concept.  It’s also one filled with honesty, hope, faith, courage, and integrity – amazing how these Principles work together.

Humility.  When I earnestly ask for help, God goes to work, but not necessarily in ways I expect. Humility is acceptance of who we really are and the need to live in harmony with God’s will to find serenity.

Self-discipline and love for others. Life is easier when I avoid doing things that make me owe amends and when I admit my part as soon as possible.  The “my part” piece is a revelation – no matter what, I can act with a loving approach.

Perseverance. Even when God’s plan feels difficult, by saying “I can do it today” and doing the next right thing, the todays add up.  If I turn back, I’ll never get to the destination.

Spiritual awareness. I came to understand that God is with us always.  Spiritual awakening is having a living God in my life; I am taken care of and will get what I need.  We are enough and are loved for who we are.  I experience God in my connecting with God in others.  Connection with God requires work and practice.  To hear and understand God’s will, I need to clear my mind.

Service. I don’t only carry the message – I am the message.  I don’t need to sell program.  I just need to live these Principles.  And to keep this recovery, I need to share my experience, strength, and hope with others.

I came to OA thinking I had a problem with food yet learned I had a problem with life.  I’ve been blessed beyond anything I ever thought to wish for.”
Lifeline, April 2015


Podcasts you might enjoy

Principles of the Twelve Steps (Primary Purpose Series)
In All Our Affairs (Sound Bites Series)