Home Abstinence Clear Definitions

Clear Definitions

3 min read
0

What is abstinence with respect to food? It’s a good question.

Overeaters Anonymous defines abstinence as “The act of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working toward or maintaining a healthy body weight” (Business Conference Policy Manual, 1988b (amended 2002, 2009, 2011, and 2019). This sounds reasonable . . . except it doesn’t define compulsive eating or compulsive food behaviors or healthy body weight. It leaves those definitions in the hands of its members, members who hear and read and say the First Step at every meeting they attend: “We admitted we were powerless over food and that our lives had become unmanageable.”

Insane people are not the folks to go for a definition of sanity, are they?

Addicts can’t be trusted to define what constitutes compulsive eating, compulsive food behaviors, or healthy weight. We are powerless over food. As such, we can’t think rationally when it comes to our food, our food behaviors, or our weight. We need clear definitions given to us by appropriate others. Who are these appropriate others? The OA-HOW two-hour structured meeting format specifies them:

We get our food plan from a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist. It is a weighed and-measured food plan, so there is no guess work. If a food on our plan becomes a problem, we let our nutritionist and our sponsor know, and we avoid it.

Though the meeting format doesn’t spell this out, I think it should also read: ”a healthy weight is a small range, say, a number plus or minus 3 pounds (1.4 kg), given to us by our physician.”

This meeting format erects barriers and supports around my food. It insists I make no food decisions entirely on my own. It tells me how to rely on appropriate others to make these decisions for me.

This, for me, is abstinence.

It is a definition that OA members who follow this format share. And, for me, it is the only relief I have found, the only thing that grants me serenity with food.

— John C. R., Weybridge, Vermont USA

  • Eight Other Tools

    Here I sit, self-quarantined in the middle of a viral pandemic after returning home from t…
  • Able to Identify

    A simple definition of insanity is “unsound reasoning and judgment.” Where has my reasonin…
  • Surrender Happens 24/7

    When I came into OA, I was on the edge of a mental breakdown. I’d tried everything to stop…
Load More Related Articles
  • Low-Tech Outreach

    I am on my intergroup’s public information committee. We make flyers with a tear-off porti…
  • Available to Everyone

    Here are a few ways I carry the message to other compulsive overeaters. I print out OA’s C…
  • Radio-Active

    I was listening to a commentary about obesity on our local radio station. The commentator …
Load More By admin
  • Daily Contact

    Looking back to my life one year ago, I would have never thought that I would be as conten…
  • Spiritual Growth

    By the time I reached Overeaters Anonymous in December of 2005, I weighed 110 pounds (50 k…
  • Steps to Abstinence

    Abstinence is the most important thing in my life. The OA program and the spiritual Twelve…
Load More In Abstinence
Comments are closed.

Check Also

Low-Tech Outreach

I am on my intergroup’s public information committee. We make flyers with a tear-off porti…