Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is a 12-step programme for people with problems related to food including, but not limited to, compulsive overeaters, those with binge eating disorder, bulimics and anorexics. 

Anyone with a problematic relationship with food is welcomed, as OA’s Third Tradition states that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively. There are no dues or fees for membership.

OA was founded by Rozanne S and two other women in January 1960. The organisation’s headquarters, or World Service Office, is located in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. 

‘I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness, no longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours, and as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams’  – The OA Promise, by Rozanne S

OA estimates its membership at over 60,000 people in about 6,500 groups meeting in over 75 countries. OA has developed its own literature specifically for those who eat compulsively but also uses the Alcoholics Anonymous books ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’ and ‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions’. 

The First Step of OA begins with the admission of powerlessness over food; the next 11 steps are intended to bring members ‘physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.’ 

Are you a Compulsive Overeater? 

Now that you have found out more about OA, you may want to make sure the programme is right for you. Many people have found it useful to answer the following questions to help determine if they have a problem with compulsive eating:

Fifteen Questions

  1. Do I eat when I’m not hungry, or not eat when my body needs nourishment?
  2. Do I go on eating binges for no apparent reason, sometimes eating until I’m stuffed or even feel sick?
  3. Do I have feelings of guilt, shame, or embarrassment about my weight or the way I eat?
  4. Do I eat sensibly in front of others and then make up for it when I am alone?
  5. Is my eating affecting my health or the way I live my life?
  6. When my emotions are intense – whether positive or negative – do I find myself reaching for food?
  7. Do my eating behaviours make me or others unhappy?
  8. Have I ever used laxatives, vomiting, diuretics, excessive exercise, diet pills, shots or other medical interventions (including surgery) to try to control my weight?
  9. Do I fast or severely restrict my food intake to control my weight?
  10. Do I fantasise about how much better life would be if I were a different size or weight?
  11. Do I need to chew or have something in my mouth all the time: food, gum, mints, sweets or beverages?
  12. Have I ever eaten food that is burned, frozen or spoiled; from containers in the grocery store; or out of the garbage?
  13. Are there certain foods I can’t stop eating after having the first bite?
  14. Have I lost weight with a diet or ‘period of control’ only to be followed by bouts of uncontrolled eating and/or weight gain?
  15. Do I spend too much time thinking about food, arguing with myself about whether or what to eat, planning the next diet or exercise cure, or counting calories?
  16. Have you answered ‘yes’ to several of these questions? If so, it is possible that you have, or are well on your way to having, a compulsive eating or overeating problem.

If you’re looking for freedom from food obsession, without the need for diet pills, excessive exercise, dieting, calorie-counting, or medical procedures, then you are welcome to contact OA Qatar. Welcome home!

A Brief History of OA Qatar 

• The group was formed by two ladies at the end of the 1990s. 

• In the beginning, meetings were in members’ homes.

• In 2006, Starfish Lane Kids nursery provided the first official OA venue in Doha; this ran for several years with one meeting per week until the venue was no longer available. 

• In 2013, a new meeting started at Hamad Medical Corporation’s Psychiatric Hospital where it continues to this day.

 Are you a compulsive eater?

No matter what your problem with food – compulsive under or overeating, food addiction, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating or overexercising – OA can help. 

OA Qatar is currently unavailable. However, visit oa.org for to schedule a meeting online or via telephone. For further information, contact Rob who previously ran QA Qatar at 5512 7252.

Author: Sarah Palmer

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