Twelve Steps
It is our experience that many people walk into an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, read the Twelve Steps off the wall, and try to do them. That's like seeing a complex set of algebra problems and deciding that (2x-3y)x equals z, without knowing what x or y are, or even how algebra works. (You're not alone, trust us.) Or, alternatively, it's like thinking that you need a desk, buying a nice Swedish one with a funny name like Bjørn, arranging it in the order it comes out of the box and trying to hammer things without figuring out how to put it together.

That's okay -- the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous, helpfully contains instructions. We recommend that you find a recovered sponsor who will walk you through the steps in the way outlined by the authors of the Big Book. If you do not know someone who can do that, we will be happy to assist you further. Please contact us at


It is our experience, as stated in the Big Book, that, to recover, you should take these steps rapidly. We took them in a matter of days rather than weeks, and our lives improved literally overnight.

A few points on wording to contemplate:

      • the unmanageability referred to in Step 1 does not necessarily mean that we were lying on a bed surrounded by food, empty boxes, packaging and other detritus, though some of us were. It refers to the fact that we as compulsive eaters simply cannot manage the decision to not eat compulsively.

      • the italics in Step 3 are important: we refer to our personal concepts of the divine, our Higher Power, as "God" for clarity and brevity. (There aren't that many three-letter words left, after all.) We encourage you to discuss your personal beliefs and understanding of the Power greater than yourself with your recovered sponsor and other recovered compulsive eaters.

      • being written in 1939, some of the meanings have changed over time. The word "moral" in Step 4 is one of these -- rather than "righteous", it then had a more common meaning of "truthful".

      • similarly, in Step 11, "meditation" did not mean sitting on a rock going "om". (Many of us like to sit on rocks going "om", of course. Whatever works for you.) Rather, it meant thinking, reflecting, and planning. Generals meditate over their plans on the evening prior to battle, and in the morning before action. It is our experience that meditation as intended by the authors of the Big Book is a genuine asset to our lives.