The first seven steps of Overeaters Anonymous encourage members to look within themselves. They include admitting powerlessness over foods, believing in a greater power, turning will and life over to that higher power, making an honest moral inventory of self, admitting to greater power, self and others the nature of wrongs, being ready to get rid of character defects and asking a higher power to remove shortcomings. The first seven steps force members to think of their roles in food addiction and the importance of relying on a higher power.
The last five steps of Overeaters Anonymous include making amends with others in order to recover from food addiction. As any addiction, compulsive overeating causes pain for friends and family. Food addicts should make lists of the people they've harmed and to whom they be willing to make amends; contact these people directly, if possible; continue taking self inventory and admit with they've done wrong; pray or meditate; and experience spiritual awakening after completing other steps. According to the Overeaters Anonymous website, following these Twelve Steps has helped millions overcome compulsive eating.
The Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, as the Twelve Steps, originated with 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. The common goals of all Overeaters Anonymous groups are making recovery the cornerstone of their organization, sending a message to members about the realities of compulsive overeating, and respecting member anonymity. The organization never releases the name of Overeaters Anonymous members to third parties. The only requirement to join the groups is the determination to stop compulsive overeating.
Other traditions state that spirituality is the cornerstone of the Overeaters Anonymous; group leaders answer to a higher power; the organization is financially self-sustaining; except for a few special workers, the organization remains non-professional; the organization does not have a board of directors; members never draw attention to themselves; and public relations representatives maintain anonymity when speaking to the media.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeating Anonymous want to create a safe place for people suffering from compulsive eating. The organization provides tools to assist members in their recovery process. These tools include an eating plan to abstain from compulsive eating, sponsors to help new members, meetings of two or more members, one-on-one telephone access to other members, encouragement to write as they go through steps and organizational literature. According to Overeaters Anonymous website, the organization has approximately 54,000 members worldwide.