Addictions can take many forms, and some people struggle with addictions to food rather than drugs or alcohol. Treating a food addiction is considerably different from treating many other types of addiction because people need food. One helpful tool that many people use to get past their food addictions is the 12-step approach offered by Overeaters Anonymous.
Although overeating is different from abusing drugs and alcohol, there are a lot of similarities in how these issues can be treated. The 12-step approach to addiction was originally developed by Alcoholics Anonymous, and that approach has been adapted by many different groups, including Overeaters Anonymous.
The 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous
The 12-step approach used by Overeaters Anonymous consists of 12 steps that are tied to a spiritual ideal. While working your way through these 12 steps, you will allow yourself to embrace ideals ranging from honesty to humility. As you change your life to include these ideals or principles, you may find it easier to stop overeating.
The 12 steps as defined by Overeaters Anonymous and their corresponding spiritual ideals are as follows:
- Honesty: Admitting you are powerless over food
- Hope: Believing that a higher power can help you obtain control over your addiction
- Faith: Turning your life over to God or another higher power
- Courage: Creating a personal moral inventory
- Integrity: Admitting to God, yourself and others that you have made mistakes and admitting the exact nature of those mistakes
- Willingness: Being ready to ask God to remove the flaws you found in your personal moral inventory
- Humility: Asking God for help in dealing with your flaws
- Self-discipline: Making a list of all the people you have hurt and asking them to forgive you
- Love: Making amends to the people you have hurt except in cases where making amends would hurt them even more
- Perseverance: Continuing to take personal moral inventories and making changes to your life as needed
- Spiritual awareness: Working to improve your relationship with God and praying to understand his will for your life
- Service: Carrying this message to other people who are addicted to food so they can learn how these principles may change their lives
Do You Need Help with Overeating?
“If you want to learn more about the 12-step approach used by Overeaters Anonymous, we would love to talk with you. “
Many people want to lose a few pounds, but being overweight does not necessarily mean that you need the 12-step approach to compulsive eating that is offered by an organization like Overeaters Anonymous. The people who will benefit the most from this type of program are those who tend to eat compulsively.
According to Overeaters Anonymous, the following symptoms may indicate that you or someone you love needs help:
- Eating even when you are not hungry
- Eating when you already feel full or eating until you reach the point of feeling sick
- Feeling guilty or embarrassed about how much you eat
- Eating while alone to avoid the embarrassment of eating in front of others
- Eating to deal with your emotions
- Using laxatives, diet pills, fasting or other intense or unhealthy methods to control your weight after eating
- Fantasizing about losing weight
- Feeling like you need to be chewing something all the time
- Eating food that is unappetizing, including burnt food, moldy food or even food out of the garbage can
- Having one bite and feeling like you just have to keep eating until it is all gone
- Rotating fasting or periods of control with periods of binge eating
- Spending an unhealthy amount of time thinking about what to eat or when you are going to eat next
Taking the First Step Towards Recovery
“Admitting you need help and want to make a change can be the most critical part of the recovery process. “
The first step in the Overeaters Anonymous 12-step recovery program is admitting you have lost control. Admitting you need help and want to make a change can be the most critical part of the recovery process. If you are ready to take that step, we are ready to talk with you. When you call us at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? , we can help you to get started on your road to recovery.