Abstinence Actions

These actions helped us become abstinent and stay abstinent. Maybe they will work for you too.
• Accept your humanness, and let go of striving for perfection.
• Ask another member to sponsor you, and call your sponsor every day.
• Ask your HP for help whenever you need it.
• At meetings, express your gratitude to your HP for abstinence.
• Attend a Step meeting each week.
• Attend share-a-thons, workshops, and OA celebrations.
• Become a sponsor and remember that we only sponsor up to the level of our experience. “We give it away to keep it.”
• Before you eat over feelings, share them at meetings or with other OA members.
• Before you take a compulsive bite, call your sponsor. Call other members.
• Let the secretary of your group know when you will observe a recovery or abstinence birthday
• Buy The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., and For Today. Read them.
• Call members from the “We Care” sign-in sheet during the week.
• Call newcomers to welcome them. Call members you haven’t seen at recent meetings and let them know they are missed.
• Choose a home meeting, join it, and attend regularly.
• Develop a plan of eating with the help of a nutritionist or your sponsor; commit to following it. Identify and avoid your trigger foods and compulsive behaviors.
• Discuss OA literature with other OA members.
• Go to as many OA meetings each week as you can.
• Help set out or put away the literature at meetings.
• Take a service position.
• Meet OA members before the meeting or ask members out afterward for coffee, sharing, and fellowship.
• Put your chair back where you found it and clear away any trash left after meetings.
• Read the Just For Today wallet card every day.
• Seek your Higher Power’s will for you each day, and try to follow it.
• Share with other OA members by email, remembering anonymity.
• Subscribe to Lifeline magazine, in print or online (or both).
• Take the first three Steps each morning and ask your HP for abstinence.
• Tell still-suffering compulsive eaters about OA and how it works. Invite them to a meeting or give them a meeting list.
• Use the Tool of writing each morning by listing five things for which you are grateful. Each evening, write down three things you did well that day and three things you’d like to do better.
• Visit your intergroup meeting to experience OA above the group level.
• Volunteer to lead your meeting for a month. Volunteer to be the speaker.
• Volunteer to read at meetings or share about a Tool.
• Welcome a member you haven’t met before (remember how you felt at your first meeting). Participate in newcomers meetings.
• When you feel resentment toward another member, talk to the person about it, and ask your Higher Power for help in letting it go.
• Write an article for Lifeline—OA’s “Meeting on the Go.” Give away copies of Lifeline and leave them in waiting rooms and on buses.
• Write down what and when you are going to eat each day, and eat only those foods at those times.
• Write down your feelings. Try to identify your resentments. • Always keep coming back.

Abstinence Benefits

When I’m abstinent, I am:
• celebrating my journey.
• delighting in movement and exercise.
• doing things for others.
• eating what I need for good health.
• feeling peaceful and serene.
• finding challenging activities to add zest to my life.
• free from food abuse and addictive behavior.
• free from obsession and preoccupation with dieting.
• functioning with new clarity and focus.
• growing spiritually.
• open to a Power greater than myself.
• letting go of circumstances over which I have no control.
• lively in the morning, not suffering the aftereffects of a binge.
• motivated and energized; I can persevere in spite of difficulties.
• not manipulating my caloric intake to produce a high.
• following a plan of eating, such as planning and eating three moderate meals a day.
• regaining the capacity to experience joy and satisfaction.
• sharing the gift of abstinence with others.
• spontaneous and able to enjoy unexpected pleasures.
• turning weaknesses into strengths.

Abstinence Is

“Abstinence in Overeaters Anonymous is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight. Spiritual, emotional, and physical recovery is the result of living the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve-Step program” [Business Conference Policy Manual 1988b (amended 2002, 2009, 2011)]. OA members have also shared that abstinence is:
• “ability when I’m able to control anger and settle differences without resorting to food for comfort. I can make a commitment and stand by it despite heavy opposition or discouraging setbacks.”
• “capacity when I face unpleasantness, discomfort, or frustration without complaint or collapse. I can keep my word and come through in a crisis.”
• “willingness when I pass up immediate pleasure in favor of my longterm goals.”
• “the art of living in peace with anything I cannot change, using courage to change what I can, and praying for wisdom to know the difference.”

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