Food addict or compulsive eater?

Hi, I’m _______, and I’m a _______. That’s a staple of 12-Step culture. It’s one of the ways we remain equals in our meetings and put principles before personalities. In some fellowships, the second blank probably doesn’t have much variation: alcoholic for example. OA is a little different in this way because there are as many food compulsions as there are members. Here are a few of the many self-descriptions that members in our area and elsewhere use:

  • Compulsive overeater
  • Compulsive eater
  • Food addict
  • Compulsive eater and food addict (or vise verse)
  • Binge eater
  • Sugar addict
  • Sugar and flour addict
  • Anorexic
  • Bulimic
  • Exercise bulimic.

It doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, we still get to be members as long as we have a desire to stop eating compulsively. The important thing is that we are in a meeting, seeking a solution, and no longer in denial about what our problem is. There are as many names for this disease as there are members. No matter what we call ourselves, we all belong, we can all be loved unconditionally by this fellowship, and we can all find a path to abstinence that meets our own personal needs if we keep coming back. That’s what OA’s new Unity in Diversity Checklist is all about. In OA we’re all the same, yet we’re all different. It’s what gives us strength and the ability to help members with a wide range of compulsive food behaviors. The Unity in Diversity Checklist is now linked on our Meetings Resources page.