Overeaters Anonymous 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.

Welcome to OA HOW

What is OA/HOW? Do I belong? How do I join?....Read through the questions below to decide if the program is right for you.



What is Overeaters Anonymous?
OA is a fellowship of men and women who meet to share their experience, strength and hope. OA offers a 12-step program of recovery from all types of under and overeating, anorexia and bulimia.

Is OA/HOW part of Overeaters Anonymous?
Yes. OA/HOW is a subgroup of OA. It is considered a special focus group that offers a structured approach to working the 12 Steps of OA.

What is the difference between OA and OA/HOW?
OA/HOW is for people seeking a structured way of working the OA program.  HOW members use a weighed and measured food plan that they get from a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist.  HOW members abstain from sugar, unless it is listed 5th or beyond on the ingredients label.  HOW members work the steps with a HOW sponsor and use all 9 tools in support of their program.  

What does HOW stand for?
Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness

What is its purpose?
The purpose of OA/HOW is to help ourselves and others who suffer from the self-destruction of compulsive eating.

How do I begin? 
We encourage newcomers to go to a meeting and get a sponsor. Sponsors are other compulsive overeaters who have completed 90 days of continuous abstinence from compulsive overeating and completed at least 70 days of assignments. Sponsors are willing to share their recovery with other members of the Fellowship and are committed to abstinence.

Is there a cost for membership?
There are no dues or fees for membership. We are self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. OA, OA/HOW, HVIG, and the VR all have expenses. OA suggests $3.00/day on days you attend virtual meetings.

Do you have to be overweight to be a member of OA/HOW?
No. Obesity is just one of many symptoms of the deadly disease of compulsive eating. It is not how much we weigh or even how much we eat or don’t eat that brings us to OA/HOW; it is the ways we have desperately tried to control our food, eating and weight.

What if I have only a little weight to lose?
The amount does not matter; if you need help with compulsive food thoughts and behaviors you are in the right place!

Do we have a diet?
No, OA is not a diet club. OA/HOW members follow a food plan obtained from a doctor, nutritionist or dietician.

Is OA/HOW a religious group?
No. It aims at spiritual growth, but it is not limited to any sect or denomination. It is open to all who want recovery. Recovery is targeted at three levels: Physical, Spiritual and Emotional.

What is compulsive eating?
A compulsion is an irresistible urge. Please see these questions to determine for yourself if you are a compulsive eater.

What happens at meetings?
You will hear positive shares from recovering compulsive eaters. They will talk about how they used the 12 Steps and the Tools of Recovery of the OA/HOW program and became able to cope with life without eating compulsively. Please see the Meetings page for more details.

How do I start?
Come to a meeting (see schedule) and listen. We will welcome you, answer any questions and help you get started. We all began the same way.