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Overeaters Anonymous

Do you sit on the couch with your best friend potato chips beside you as you cry out your heartache and bitterness in the world? There are times where we eat more than what our body needs. We eat not only to be full and to gratify our physical needs. More often, we eat because it makes us feel good for a moment. We eat because it is our way of running away from the negative emotions we feel. We eat when we are depressed. We use food as oursanctuary, a sort of security blanket amidst our insecurities towards the world.

Our life’s physical, emotional, and social condition can be affected by the simple habits of eating and eating. Overeating can sooner or later lead to food addiction. There is no happy effects on food addiction and that is a fact.

Obviously, with too much intake of food or overeating, one becomes overweight. Having an undesirable figure is not jus the peril of being overweight. It also would mean a possible health risk such as heart problems.

With overeating or compulsive overeating, people tend to use eating as a way to hide from their emotions, to fill a void they feel inside, and to cope with daily stresses and problems in their lives. Men and Women who are compulsive overeaters will at times conceal behind their physical appearance, using it as a blockade against society common in survivors of sexual abuse. They feel at fault for not being “good enough,” shame for being overweight, and generally have a very low self-esteem. They use food and eating to cope with these feelings, which only leads into the cycle of feeling them ten-fold and trying to find a way to cope again. With a low self esteem and often constant need for love and validation he/she will turn to obsessive episodes of binging and eating as a way to forget the pain and the desire for affection.

Overeaters Anonymous came into being because of the sad reality being faced by people who overeat. Overeaters Anonymous is a twelve-step program for people with problems related to food including, but not limited to, compulsive overeaters, those with binge eating disorder, bulimics and anorexics. Anyone with a problematic relationship with food is welcomed, as their third tradition states that the only requirement for memberships is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

The sharing of experiences and the giving of hope are what the members of Overeaters Anonymous gets. The members give aid to each other in facing their individual battles with overeating. Of course, this is done with the help of the famous 12 Steps of the Overeaters Anonymous:

1. We admitted we were powerless over food – that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

There is also a custom which is being lived by Overeaters Anonymous Members. They are:

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon O.A. unity.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for O.A. membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or O.A. as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.

6. An O.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the O.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every O.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Overeaters Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. O.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Overeaters Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the O.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Overeaters Anonymous promotes the action of refraining from eating compulsively. With the support from group and the recovery tools used, the individual may not only attain the desire to be able to control eating habits but also the will power to be in control in one’s life and improve self-esteem.

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