Addiction and the desire for recovery are common reasons people seek out counseling and twelve-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Due to public education, more laypeople and professionals are gaining understanding about the similarities between alcohol and drug abuse and process addictions like sex, gambling and workaholism. Some substances can be avoided completely–like alcohol or drugs–but one addiction involves a necessity to our existence that we cannot live without–FOOD.
Finding a Food Balance
One accessible and effective tool for people with an unhealthy relationship with food is Overeaters Anonymous (OA). Despite its name, the twelve-step program of OA is applicable to individuals with a variety of eating difficulties, from anorexia and bulimia, to binge-eating and overeating. Similar to AA and NA, OA utilizes support group meetings, peer sponsorship and OA-approved and -produced literature to help participants learn how to manage their addiction behaviors around food, and to provide an understanding and empathic environment for people to begin their individual recovery plans. While some twelve-step programs approach abstinence with an universal agreement of its definition, OA is unique in its approach of supporting each individual in customizing her commitment to abstinence based on one’s type of eating disorder, medical diagnosis or personal dietary needs. If you think you may have a disordered or disruptive relationship with food, or are concerned with how much food occupies your mind and daily tasks of living, consider consulting with a clinician who specializes in eating-related treatment, or seek out an OA meeting in your area. Food is a requirement for life, but it need not be a source of pain, anxiety or anguish.