How to Start an Eating Disorders Anonymous Group
Eating Disorders Anonymous is committed to helping individuals struggling with eating disorders to find help, comfort and support as they begin the long road to recovery. These meetings are often begun by individuals who are currently working on their own recovery or have been "recovered" for years and want to help others. While it can take a lot of time and energy to start a new Eating Disorders Anonymous group, the emotional and physical rewards will make it worthwhile. Go to the Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA) website for information (see Resources below). This site lists all current meetings and groups, as well as important details such as the purpose of EDA and its rules and regulations. If you want to start a new meeting group, choose the "Start a Meeting" option from the main page, and it will take you to all of the information you need to get going. Order the "Getting Started" kit from EDA. This includes all of the brochures and paperwork you need to get your fledgling group off the ground. You will also receive points and tips on how to run meetings and advertise for them, as well as a guide on how each meeting should go. Find a place to hold your meetings. Hospitals, churches and schools often have rooms available that you can rent out to use for group meetings. Availability will be dependent on which other groups are using the space, and you may have to schedule your EDA meetings around this schedule. You can also check with coffee shops, libraries and even bookstores to see if they have space available for use, though many people recovering from eating disorders may not feel comfortable in a place that is too public. Advertise your new group. Print fliers and post them in places like clinics, hospital bulletin boards and wellness centers. Community health organizations may also be willing to post fliers for you or carry brochures with information and your meeting schedule. It is also a good idea to list your meeting times and location on the Eating Disorders Anonymous main website, as well as the resources sections of other eating disorder organization websites. You can also post ads in local newspapers if they list a community section and on the community calendar that many TV news stations provide during their newscasts. If you network with other people recovering from eating disorders, let them know you will be holding meetings, and perhaps they will not only attend but can also help out with planning and running the meetings. Begin holding meetings. They may start out small with only a couple of people in attendance, but with word of mouth and continued advertising, they will grow. In the beginning you may follow the manuals provided by EDA almost exclusively, but as time goes on and you become more comfortable with your meeting group, you will be able to branch out into your own style.