Thursday, September 23, 2010

H.O.W. F.A.Q.

Hi Friends... My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I've had a few people asking about about H.O.W. Here is a helpful F.A.Q. (Frequently Asked Questions) from the HOW/OA Northern California Intergroup:

What is Overeaters Anonymous?

O.A. is a fellowship of men and women who meet to share their Experience, Strength and Hope.

What is its purpose?

To help ourselves, and others, who suffer from the self-destruction of compulsive eating.

What is HOW/OA?

Overeaters Anonymous H.O.W. meetings have been formed to offer the compulsive overeater who accepts the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions as a Program of Recovery a disciplined and structured approach.  The HOW/OA program is formed in the belief that our disease is absolute, and therefore only absolute acceptance of the OA Program will offer any sustained abstinence to those of us whose compulsion has reached a critical level.

What does HOW stand for?

Honesty, Open-mindedness and Willingness

Is HOW/OA part of Overeaters Anonymous?

Yes.  HOW/OA is a subgroup of OA.  It is considered a special focus group that offers a structured approach at working the 12 Steps of OA.

How do I begin? 

We encourage newcomers to go to a meeting and get a sponsor.  A sponsor is the newcomer's guide during their first thirty days and a continuing helping hand in their recovery program.

How much is the cost for membership?

There are no dues or fees for membership. We are self-supporting through our own contributions, neither soliciting nor accepting outside donations. Contributions are optional.  Newcomers are encouraged not to contribute for their first three meetings.

Do you have to be overweight to be a member of OA?

No.  Obesity is just one of the many symptoms of the deadly disease of compulsive eating.  It is not how much we weigh or even how much we eat or don't eat that brings us to OA.  It is the ways in which we have desperately tried to control our food, eating and weight.

Do we have a diet?

No!  O.A. is not a diet club.  However, O.A. H.O.W. does have a food plan.

What is the differentce between OA and OA/HOW?

HOW members are rigorous in our adherence to the food plan as it is written.  It is what works for us.  However, we urge all newcomers to consult with their health care professional.  Any modifications of the plan by your doctor will certainly be acceptable.

How do I change myself?

Your recovery is targeted at three levels - Spiritual, Physical and Emotional.

Is OA a religious group?

No!  It aims at spiritual growth, but it is not limited to any sect or denomination.  It is open to all who want recovery.

What if I have only a little weight to lose?

The amount does not matter- what does matter is that you are eating compulsively and you need help!

What is compulsive eating?

A compulsion is an irresistible urge to do an irrational act.  If you over eat or under eat to try to satisfy an emotion such as loneliness or anger, and are overweight or underweight as a consequence, then you are a compulsive eater.

What happens at meetings?

You will hear positive shares from recovering food addicts about their successes in their every day living.  How they applied the “tools” to their lives and became able to cope with distressing events without eating  compulsively.  People will demonstrate that positive thinking and actions are statements of growth and recovery and are examples of living in the solution rather than in the problem.  Dwelling in the problem is a symptom of our disease.

What do I have to do to start?

Come to a meeting, relax and listen.  You will not be asked to talk.  You will merely introduce yourself.  The rest is up to you.  There will be many people able and willing to answer your questions.  Don’t forget-we all started exactly the same way.

Does the program really work?

You bet your life it works!  At a meeting you will hear many success stories.  Not only will you be recovered to a normal weight, but you will gain a great deal of serenity and clarity that will amaze you!  Many of us came to H.O.W. to get to a normal weight, that our first and primary goal.  In the beginning it was our focus, but we soon came to discover the Twelve Step Program offers so much more!

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