OA Newcomers




FAQ for newcomers:

These questions are here to help you if you are new to this website.  The website it large with many sections, each of which contains more detail than we can provide here.  At the bottom of this page are a number of links you might find useful, or you can just have a look through the site in your own way.


What is a Compulsive Eater (COE)?

Only you can decide if you are a compulsive eater.  Answering OA’s 15 questions can help you decide.  Click here to learn if you are a COE and, if so, the only requirement for becoming a member of OA and The Recovery Group is to have the desire to quit eating compulsively. 


What is the Recovery Group?

The Recovery Group (TRG) is a large 12 Step Community providing many e-mail support groups, OA registered Online Meetings every three hours every day, Big Book and Twelve Step Studies,  A Sponsor Program, Telephone Angels, a website of over 1000 pages of interest to compulsive eaters, a special 3 month Newcomer Orientation program offered four times a year  and so much more.  Information about TRG can be found at our Main Website.


What is a 12-step programme?

You may have heard of AA, or Alcoholics Anonymous?  Well the same principles and guidance can be used for a number of addictions including Compulsive Overeating.  The 12-step programme is made up of the 12-steps, 12 traditions and Tools of Recovery.  We also use the book entitled “Alcoholics Anonymous” (also known as the Big Book, BB) as inspiration and as a study aid.


What is Overeaters Anonymous (OA)?

OA is an umbrella group which supports local face-2-face meetings across the world and websites, including this one, The Recovery Group. They also produce approved literature which can help in all areas of recovery. 


OA sees compulsive overeating as a problem whose solution lays in emotional, physical and spiritual development.  You choose how you want these to develop with the help of a Sponsor and the 12-steps. This is why OA is different from slimming or weight loss organisations, which only concentrate on physical recovery.


Where do I get a diet or food plan?

OA does not provide diets or tell you how to eat, or ask you to disclose your weight.  The 12-steps can help you build the foundations to achieve life-long inner change, lifting the obsession with food, and with that comes abstinence from compulsive eating.  There is a process to help you achieve this which a sponsor will work with you.  It might sound unachievable to you now, but compulsive overeaters do recover.

How do I join OA?

OA does not have members in the same way that a diet club might.  If you decide you are a COE you can attend a face-2-face meeting, or join an email loop. You can leave these as easily as you can join. The only requirement is a desire to stop eating compulsively. It does not cost you anything as there are no membership fees or costs involved. People provide this service as one of their 12-steps to recovery.



As you will see there is ‘language’ associated with the 12-steps.  Words such as ‘recovery’, ‘steps’, tool’ take on different meanings.  Also, the computer language associated with web-based services can be different, especially the use of acronyms (such as ODAT - one day at a time).  This new language can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed but please be patient! As with any language understanding comes with practice, and others will help you.


What is a face-2-face meeting?

Abbreviated to f2f, these are groups of COE’s who have organised themselves to meet regularly and discuss recovery.  In this sense they are ‘real’ in that they meet physically. At a meeting you may sit in a circle, with a secretary leading, and you share their thoughts, although there is no pressure to do this. All the services provided by TRG are ‘virtual’ in that they are based on the internet. There is a link at the bottom of this page to help you find a f2f meeting.


What is a loop?

A loop is an email group. A loop is used to share experience, strength and hope (ESH).  If you want to join a loop, you can subscribe by registering your email address.  Once registered you will receive a copy of all emails sent to the loop.  If you send an email to the loop, everyone else will receive it.  You can easily unsubscribe if you change your mind. 


Why are there so many loops – what is the difference?

As people look at their compulsive overeating they find there are all sorts of issues they wish to discuss and share with other like minded people, so you are able to use the loops you feel relevant to your needs.  We recommend you start with the OA Newcomers loop which is there to help orientate you to TRG and the idea of recovery.  You will receive a welcome letter which gives useful, practical advice on how to share, and start to introduce the other loops.  As the days progress, you will receive TOPIC Information from the co-ordinators with questions for you to consider, and answer.  It is not a test though, they are just there to help you focus and reflect on what you want, and what TRG can  and can not offer.


What is an online meeting?

Online meetings take place in chat rooms on the internet. They follow a similar format to f2f meetings.  Someone will lead the meeting online.  You can attend an online meeting and just read other peoples comments - or shares as we call them – or you can share you thoughts.  To help the meeting run smoothly, and to be fair to all, there are some guidelines we ask you to follow.


Why are there separate online meetings for newcomers?

To help newcomers get used to how online meetings are best used, there are special ones just for newcomers where you can ask questions as well as share you thoughts.  They are more informal and so a good place to learn and build your confidence. 


What if I am not religious?

It doesn’t make a difference.  OA comprises people who are Atheists, Agnostics, as well as from religious groups.  All members are respectful of one another as human beings and all are truly welcome.


What is a Sponsor?

Sponsors are other COE’s who have experience of the 12-step programme.  They do not pass a test or exam but use their experience to support you in a more personal way.  They must be abstinent and be committed to the programme. Sponsors can be contacted through this website or you could ask at a f-2-f meeting.


What if I want to speak to someone in person?

Telephone angels?  In most countries, there is a telephone number you can call to find out more about OA – e.g. on the back of the meetings list I have for my local meetings, there is a UK National Helpline.   In the U.S., you can contact OA directly by e-mail, FAX or telephone.  You will find these contact numbers and addresses at ww.OA.org.


What if I can’t attend online meetings because of the schedule?

Try and attend if you can.  Online meetings are every 3 hours.  You can also try and find a local face-2-face meeting, or just start with a loop.


What if I don’t feel confident to attend an online meeting?

We are pleased to let you know that we have four Newcomer online meetings every week.  These meetings are informal discussion sessions and attended mainly by newcomers.  Some commit to attending 30 of these meetings in 30 days.  It’s a good way to familiarize  yourself with the protocol of regular meetings which are held every three hours every day of the year. Many people are nervous of attending meetings, as they don’t know what to expect.  Consider attending an online meeting but just observe and read what the others share, until you feel more confident?  Or you could share you concerns about attending in the newcomers loop? The protocol for the meeting is posted at the beginning of each meeting, and it explains how the meeting works so as long as you read that, you shouldn't go wrong.

What do I do next?

Look at the links below.  You could answer the questions and to help you decide if you are a COE?  Or you could subscribe to a loop, or look at one of the newcomer meetings?  Or just have a closer look at this website?  Whatever you decide, if you feel this might be the right place for you please Keep Coming Back!


Links to: