OA is a non-profit international organization with approximately 8,500 meeting groups in over 50 countries throughout the world. Patterned after the Twelve-Step Alcoholics Anonymous program, the OA recovery program addresses physical, emotional and spiritual recovery aspects of compulsive overeating.

What can you expect from OA?

When you arrive at the meeting, you will find men and women who share a common malady — compulsive eating — and have found a common solution: the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous.


The meeting usually opens with the Serenity Prayer, and you may hear a reading called “Our Invitation to You,” which describes the disease of compulsive overeating and the Twelve-Step solution. Meeting formats may vary, but all OA groups are the same in that they seek recovery on three levels — physical, emotional and spiritual — through the Twelve Steps, and the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.


You will have an opportunity to introduce yourself as a newcomer, if you like. You will find that you are not alone, that there is a way out of your desperation.


Because anonymity is a critical principle of the OA program, you are assured that what you share will be held in confidence. This provides the safety you need to share your experiences honestly.


You may recognize your own story when you listen to others share. Listening will help you find others who have what you want, whether it be weight loss, clarity, joy or recovery from the obsession.


You may want to ask someone to be your sponsor. A sponsor will help you work the Steps of the program to achieve the recovery you seek.


What is OA? (Preamble)

Overeaters Anonymous is a Fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength, and hope are recovering from compulsive overeating. We welcome everyone who wants to stop eating compulsively.


There are no dues or fees for members; we are self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. OA is not affiliated with any public or private organization, political movement, ideology, or religious doctrine; we take no position on outside issues.


Our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors and to carry the message of recovery through the Twelve Steps of OA to those who still suffer.

Is OA for you?

Only you can decide that question. No one else can make this decision for you. We who are now in OA have found a way of life which enables us to live without the need for excess food. We believe that compulsive overeating is a progressive illness, one that, like alcoholism and some other illnesses, can be arrested. Remember, there is no shame in admitting you have a problem; the most important thing is to do something about it.

How does an individual join OA?

No one “joins” OA in the usual sense of the word. There are no membership applications to be filled out. Once we have heard about OA and believe we have an eating problem, we simply attend local OA meetings of our choice. Our Third Tradition states, “The only requirement or OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.” Nothing else is asked or demanded of anyone.

How much does OA mebership cost?

There are no financial requirements to be a member of OA. This recovery program is available to all who want to stop eating compulsively, no matter how much or how little money they may possess. We are self-supporting through members’ voluntary contributions and literature sales.

Is OA a religious society?

No. OA is not a religious society, since it requires no religious belief as a condition of membership. OA has among its membership people of many religious faiths as well as atheists and agnostics. OA is, however, a spiritual program based on each member’s personal interpretation of a higher power.