Overeaters Anonymous® (OE) is a group dedicated to helping people stop compulsive eating. Compulsive eaters may gorge on food to compensate for other problems in their lives. A meeting hosted by Overeaters Anonymous® can give a person who suffers from compulsive eating a place to gather tips on how to stop and to vent his or her feelings. If a person feels uncomfortable going to a meeting in person or lives in a rural area where there is not a local group, he or she can instead attend an Overeaters Anonymous® online meeting. An OE online meeting will provide a person with all the benefits of an in-person meeting from the comfort of his or her home.
Meetings conducted for Overeaters Anonymous® online can be hosted using a computer chat room, Internet calling, a group instant-messaging chat session or a private website. Overeaters Anonymous® meetings should always be free, so new members should not be tricked into paying to attend false meetings. A group leader, usually a former overeater who has been in recovery for some time, will lead and moderate the session. People can introduce themselves to the group using their real name or a nickname. People should not be afraid to be truthful when sharing stories and asking questions, because everything said at a meeting is to remain confidential.
The program leader will usually start an Overeaters Anonymous® online meeting by saying or typing The Serenity Prayer and going over the 12 steps on which members should focus to stop compulsive eating. Some meetings may be very structured and focus on a specific aspect of overeating. Other sessions may be very open and the leader will allow members to tell personal stories for most of the meeting.
It is important for people who are considering attending their first Overeaters Anonymous® meeting to remember that it is not a diet or exercise program. There is no need for new members to fear having to share their exact weight or to be scared of ridicule. The sole purpose of the meeting is for overeaters to find support and comfort by meeting others who go through the same daily struggles.
New members should go into Overeaters Anonymous® online with an open mind. If a meeting is conducted through video chat so members can see each other, there may be people of all different sizes and shapes. Anyone who struggles with compulsive eating is welcome to attend, including people who are currently thin because they've been in recovery for a long time, are compulsive exerciser or also suffer from bulimia.