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Bariatric Surgery

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I am having bariatric surgery. Is there an OA bariatric surgery support group?

There is no bariatric surgery support group in OA. While “Bariatric Surgery” is listed as a special focus meeting type in Find a Meeting at oa.org, there are currently no OA meetings registered with this special focus.

OA has a policy statement on bariatric surgery: “In keeping with Tradition Ten, Overeaters Anonymous has no opinion on bariatric (weight-loss) surgery. In the spirit of Tradition Three, Overeaters Anonymous welcomes anyone with a desire to stop eating compulsively, including those who have had bariatric surgery or are contemplating it” (Business Conference Policy Manual, 2018b). Bariatric surgery, like other health issues, is considered an outside issue in OA. We focus on compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors in OA meetings.

I personally know many OA members who have undergone bariatric surgery, but they don’t talk about it in the meetings. They leave it outside the doors. Conversely, in “No Wrong Door” (Lifeline, January 2019, p. 20), it states, “It is inappropriate to tell someone it’s a mistake if they’ve undergone or are considering weight-loss surgery, which can be deemed by a doctor to be medically necessary . . . . These judgments could well [drive newcomers] from the rooms of OA.”

There are probably a few members within your own OA community who have had bariatric surgery. One way I would suggest to connect with them would be to ask aloud after the close of a meeting, “Would anyone here with experience with bariatric surgery please give me your phone number or email so that I can contact you for support?” Perhaps someone will approach you, and you will have the beginning of your own Bariatric Surgery special topic group.

My search also shows that Lifeline back issues from February 2016 and April 2016 include recovery stories that mention bariatric surgery experiences. These articles reflect the authors’ own experiences but not that of OA as a whole. Lastly, I would encourage you to enlist the help of your sponsor and OA friends to start a meeting with this special topic.

I have always found that service, “giving it away,” is a great way to strengthen my own recovery. Let your Higher Power and the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions be your guide.

— Members of the Board of Trustees provide answers to Ask-It Basket questions

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