As we work the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve Step program of recovery from compulsive eating, we have a number of Tools to assist us. We use these Tools—a plan of eating, sponsorship, meetings, telephone, writing, literature, action plan, anonymity, and service—on a regular basis, to help us achieve and maintain abstinence and recovery from our disease.
A Plan of Eating
As a Tool, a plan of eating helps us abstain from compulsive eating, guides us in our dietary decisions, and defines what, when, how, where, and why we eat. (See the pamphlet A New Plan of Eating for more information.) This Tool helps us deal with the physical aspects of our disease and achieve physical recovery.
We ask a sponsor to help us through all three levels of our program of recovery: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Find a sponsor who has what you want and ask that person how they are achieving it.
Meetings give us an opportunity to identify our common problems, confirm our common solution, and share the gifts we receive through this Twelve Step program. In addition to face-to-face meetings, OA offers telephone and other types of virtual meetings that are useful in breaking through the deadly isolation caused by distance, illness, or physical challenges.
Many members call, text, or email their sponsors and other OA members daily. Telephone or electronic contact also provides an immediate outlet for those hard-to-handle highs and lows we may experience.
Putting our thoughts and feelings down on paper, or describing a troubling or joyous incident, helps us to better understand our actions and reactions in a way that is often not revealed by simply thinking or talking about them.
We read OA-approved literature, which includes numerous books, study guides, pamphlets, wallet cards, and selected Alcoholics Anonymous texts. All this material provides insight into our disease and the experience, strength, and hope that there is a solution for us.
Creating an action plan is the process of identifying and implementing attainable actions to support our individual abstinence and emotional, spiritual, and physical recovery. This Tool, like our plan of eating, may vary widely among members and may need to be adjusted as we progress in our recovery.
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities (Tradition Twelve). Anonymity assures us that only we, as individual OA members, have the right to make our membership known to others. Anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television, and other public media of communication means that we never allow our faces or last names to be used once we identify ourselves as OA members (Tradition Eleven).
Within the Fellowship, anonymity means that whatever we share with another OA member will be respected and kept confidential. What we hear at meetings should remain there.
Any form of service—no matter how small—that helps reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery. Members who are new to OA can give service by attending meetings, sharing, and putting away chairs. All members can also give service by putting out literature, welcoming newcomers, hosting a virtual meeting, or doing whatever is needed to help the group. Members who meet specified requirements can give service beyond the group level by serving at the intergroup, service board, region, or world service level.
As OA’s Responsibility Pledge states, “Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion; for this, I am responsible.”
See the full Tools of Recovery pamphlet for more information.
Podcasts & Literature
- Tools of Recovery (abridged)
- Reading of Tools of Recovery pamphlet
- OA Nine Tools of Recovery (Sound Bites from Overeaters Anonymous series)
- Tools of Recovery pamphlet