What is OA?
Overeaters Anonymous is a Fellowship of individuals who, through shared experience, strength and hope, are recovering from compulsive overeating. We welcome everybody 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 overeating and to carry this message of recovery to those who still suffer.
How did OA start?
The idea of OA came to cofounder Rozanne S. at a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meeting she attended with a compulsive gambling friend in 1958. As GA members shared their stories, she heard her story – not of gambling, but of compulsive overeating. She knew then that the Twelve-Step and Twelve-Tradition programme founded by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and modeled by GA offered her a chance to change her life and reduce her to 152-pound body to a size that would fit her 5-foot-2-inch frame. Not until 1960, when her weight had increased to 161 pounds, could she find other people who shared her convictions.
Her chance meeting with a new neighbor, Jo S., gave Rozanne strength in numbers, even if it was only one person. Together they found another compulsive overeater, Bernice S., and convened the first OA meeting in Hollywood, California, January 19, 1960.
Today, about 6,500 OA groups meet each week in over 65 countries. With OA divided into 10 regions worldwide and approximately 400 intergroups, it helps thousands of compulsive overeaters find themselves through a threefold recovery: physical, emotions and spiritual.
Who Belongs to OA?
In Overeaters Anonymous, you’ll find members who are extremely overweight, even morbidly obese; moderately overweight; average weight; underweight; still maintaining periodic control over their eating behaviour; or totally unable to control their compulsive eating.
OA members experience many different patterns of food behaviours. If you think you may have a problem take the Am I a Compulsive Overeater quiz on How it Works
Each member belongs to a group consisting of two or more people. Each group practices the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. No member of a group is required to practice any actions to remain an OA member or to have a voice at a meeting.
Two or more groups can form an intergroup (IG). The intergroup provides services to existing groups within its geographical area and spreads the OA message of recovery to those who still suffer.
Regions sponsor local conventions and assemblies. Regional assemblies also nominate trustee candidates to serve on OA’s Board of Trustees (BOT), whose members are elected at the World Service Business Conference (WSBC).
World Service Office (WSO)
The WSBC, attended by delegates from around the world, meets annually each May to conduct the business of OA and to elect the 16-member Board of Trustees (BOT). The board acts on behalf of all members of the OA Fellowship. The World Service Office (WSO) works with the BOT to provide quality support and services to the entire OA Fellowship
I.D.E.A. - International Day Experiencing Abstinence
Since 1992, on the third Saturday in November, members of Overeaters Anonymous worldwide observe an International Day of Experiencing Abstinence (IDEA). The OA Fellowship created IDEA Day to encourage members and newcomers to abstain from compulsive overeating.