Overeaters Anonymous, also known as OA, grew out of Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 Step groups when people working other programs discovered they could use to the same principles to end their addiction to over eating.
The OA program uses the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, substituting the word food for the word, alcohol. The OA program is spelled out in their basic text, Overeaters Anonymous, often referred to as the OA Big Book.
OA meetings or groups are found more than 52 countries. They range in size from a few people, to as many as 50 or more. Most groups meet once a week. Meeting styles include: speaker meetings where one or two members share the story of their addiction and recovery from a podium; discussion meetings where members share their experience with a particular topic, and step studies where members discuss their experience working with the 12 Steps. There are also Big Book studies and meetings for special interest groups like women only, men only, gay and lesbian only, etc. All meetings are based, one-way or another, on the sharing of members experience, strength and hope.
Membership in OA is informal. A person becomes a member when they decide they want to stop abusing food and begin attending meetings. There is no registration; no attendance is taken, although the group's secretary may note the number of people in the room. The commitment to anonymity is taken seriously and people can attend OA meetings with little fear that others, outside the meetings, will find out they have joined.
OA meetings can be found in various ways. There are meeting lists on the web. In the United States, Overeaters Anonymous can be found in the white pages of most telephone books; a call to information will also usually result in a phone number where meetings can be located. Meetings in most western countries, and some non-western countries can be found in similar ways.