Where Do I Start?

Everything A Newcomer Needs to Know

OA’s popular newcomer pamphlet Where Do I Start? has been updated and made available as a free download from OA.org.

Newcomers are now able to download a PDF copy of the pamphlet.

This 32-page pamphlet includes key information about OA’s Twelve Step program of recovery such as the Fifteen Questions to help determine if a newcomer has a problem with compulsive eating; sample Plans of Eating; and answers to frequently asked questions.

Print copies of Where Do I Start? can be purchased for US$1 each at bookstore.oa.org, and digital copies are also available from Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble Nook.

What does OA offer?

We offer unconditional acceptance and support through readily available OA meetings, which are self-supported through voluntary contributions.

We in OA believe we have a threefold illness – physical, emotional and spiritual. Tens of thousands have found that OA’s Twelve-Step program effects recovery on all three levels.

The Twelve Steps embody a set of principles which, when followed, promote inner change. Sponsors help us understand and apply these principles. As old attitudes are discarded, we often find there is no longer a need for excess food.

Those of us who choose to recover one day at a time practice the Twelve Steps. In so doing, we achieve a new way of life and lasting freedom from our food obsession.

For more, please read Our Invitation to You, which summarizes what OA offers and how it can help the still suffering compulsive eater find recovery.

Why is OA anonymous?

Anonymity allows the Fellowship to govern itself through principles rather than personalities. Social and economic status have no relevance in OA; we are all compulsive eaters. Anonymity at the level of press, radio, television and other media of communication provides assurance that OA membership will not be disclosed.

How did OA start?

The idea of OA came to founder Rozanne S. at a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meeting she attended with a compulsive gambling friend in 1958. As GA members shared their stories, she heard her story – not of gambling, but of compulsive overeating. She knew then that the Twelve-Step and Twelve-Tradition program founded by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and modeled by GA offered her a chance to change her life and reduce her 152-pound (69-kg) body to a size that would fit her 5-foot-2-inch (157-cm) frame. Not until 1960, when her weight had increased to 161 pounds (73 kg), could she find other people who shared her convictions.

Her chance meeting with a new neighbor, Jo S., gave Rozanne strength in numbers, even if it was only one person. Together they found another compulsive overeater, Bernice S., and convened the first OA meeting in Los Angeles, California, January 19, 1960.

Today, about 6,500 OA groups meet each week in over 75 countries. With OA divided into 10 regions worldwide and over 60,000 members worldwide, it helps thousands of compulsive eaters find new life in recovery.

Where can I find OA?

You can find a list of all the meetings that are registered with NHI on our Find a Meeting page. When you are outside of our geographic area, you can find more meetings through the OA World Service website.

Is OA a religious organization?

OA is not a religious society, since it requires no definite religious belief as a condition of membership. OA has among its membership people of many religious faiths as well as atheists and agnostics.

The OA recovery program is based on acceptance of certain spiritual values. Members are free to interpret these values as they think best, or not to think about them at all if they so choose.

Many individuals who come to OA have reservations about accepting any concept of a power greater than themselves. OA experience has shown that those who keep an open mind on this subject and continue coming to OA meetings will not find it too difficult to work out their own solution to this very personal matter.

How Is OA funded?

Overeaters Anonymous has no dues or fees for membership. It is entirely self-supporting through literature sales and member contributions. Most groups “pass the basket” at meetings to cover expenses. OA does not solicit or accept outside contributions.

This website is maintained by the New Hampshire Intergroup (NHI) of Overeaters Anonymous®.
Opinions expressed are not the opinions of NHI or OA as a whole. Comments about site content, or suggestions, should be sent to the NHI Webmaster.

Permission to use the Overeaters Anonymous logo was granted by the World Service Office of Overeaters Anonymous on March 30, 2016.