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What to Expect at a Typical OA Meeting

First, know that you will be welcome and that you are not alone anymore. Everyone in the meeting knows where you’re coming from regarding your unhealthy relationship with food. They’ve all experienced their own pain and suffering due to their addiction and have found a common solution: the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous. They will immediately understand and extend a hand to you.

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 may hear a speaker open the meeting and speak for 15 to 20 minutes about what life was like before OA, what event/s brought them to OA, and what he or she is like now. You will hear members sharing their experience, strength and hope, and you will begin to learn more about OA. You will have an opportunity to introduce yourself as a newcomer if you like. Because anonymity is a critical principle of the OA program, you are assured that what you share will be held in confidence.


Participate as much or as little as you want. You are welcome to share something about yourself but are in no way obligated. 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. By asking for help, you are taking an important step toward recovery. 


Because OA is self-supporting through member contributions, a basket will be passed for donations, or instructions will be given on how to donate online.


The meeting usually closes with a reading like the OA Promise, "I Put My Hand in Yours". If you find that the meeting you attended does not feel right, try a different group at another time and location. It is a good idea to attend at least six meetings before deciding on a meeting that is right for you.


What you WON'T find at OA meetings are weigh-ins, packaged meals, dues, fees, "shoulds," "musts" or judgment.


What you WILL find at meetings is:

  • Acceptance of you - as you are now, as you were, as you will be

  • Understanding of the problems you now face - problems almost certainly shared by others in the group

  • Communication that comes as the natural result of our mutual understanding and acceptance

  • Recovery from your illness

  • Power to enter a new way of life through the acceptance and understanding of yourself, the practice of the Twelve-Step recovery program, the belief in a power greater than yourself, and the support and companionship of the group


If you decide that you are one of us, we welcome you with open arms. Whatever your circumstances, we offer you the gift of acceptance. Welcome to Overeaters Anonymous. Welcome home!


If you have questions, you can talk with individual members before or after meetings. A list may be passed around (or a Chat Box may be used) for all to sign their names and phone numbers, so people can offer each other support between meetings. 

We hope you take that big first step toward recovery and start living a life beyond your wildest dreams.

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