OA Tools of Recovery

In Overeaters Anonymous, we have tools of recovery that help us to recover on a daily basis. These tools of recovery are a plan of eating, sponsorship, meetings, the telephone, writing, literature, anonymity, service, and action plan. Many of us have found that we can’t abstain from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors unless we use OA’s nine tools of recovery.

Plan of Eating

A plan of eating helps us abstain from compulsive eating to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. For specific dietary or nutritional guidance, OA suggests working with a doctor, dietitian or nutritionist who can create an individualized meal plan that fits your needs. This tools addresses the physical aspects of our disease so we can move beyond the food to a happier, healthier, more spiritual life.


Sponsors are OA members who are living the the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to the best of their ability, and are committed to abstinence. We ask a sponsor to help us through our program of recovery on all three levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual.


Meetings are gatherings of two or more compulsive eaters who come together to share their personal experience, and the strength and hope OA has given them. Meetings give us an opportunity to identify our common problem, confirm our common solution, and share the gifts we receive through this program. OA offers face-to-face, online and telephone meetings, all of which can help us break through the isolation of food addiction. Find a meeting


Connecting with other OA members is another tool that helps us get out of isolation. Many members talk with their sponsors and other OA members on a daily basis. Calling, texting, or messaging another OA member can provide an immediate outlet for those hard-to-handle highs and lows we all experience.


Many of us have found that writing is an essential tool for working the Steps. Putting our thoughts and feelings down on paper (or digitally) often helps us better understand our actions and reactions more than by simply thinking or talking about them.


We read OA-approved books, pamphlets, and other literature. Many OA members finding that reading from our literature daily helps reinforce our commitment to recovery. The literature also offers us insights into our eating problem and gives us hope that there is a solution for us.


Anonymity offers each of us freedom of expression and protects us from gossip. Anonymity guarantees we will place principles before personalities and assures us that only we have the right to make our membership known within our community. Within our fellowship, anonymity means that whatever we share with another OA member will be held in respect and confidence. In OA, we have no stars or VIPs. We come together simply as fellow compulsive eaters.


Any form of service—no matter how small—that helps reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery. There are many kinds of service: leading and speaking at meetings, calling newcomers, sponsoring other members, serving as an Intergroup representative, answering calls to our hotline, planning an OA workshop, and more. “A life of sane and happy usefulness” is what we are promised as the result of working the Twelve Steps. Service helps to fulfill that promise.

Action Plan

An action plan is the process of identifying and implementing the actions that are necessary to support our individual abstinence and recovery on all three levels—physical, emotional, and spiritual. One action plan might include moderate exercise and mediation, while another might balance work, family, social, and self-care—especially important in the time of COVID-19.