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Sponsors and Food Plans

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Q.
I am an OA member who has embraced a specific way of eating. My current sponsor suggested I try to find a sponsor who may be more familiar with this particular way of eating because she is not familiar with it and wants me to get the most out of the program and a sponsor. Do you have any suggestions on how to best go about that?

A.
You pose an interesting question. There are probably as many different plans of eating as there are OA members, and almost as many different types of sponsors. I have had a sponsor since 1993 and have been a sponsor almost as long. Every day, I call my sponsor and tell her what I ate yesterday and what I plan to eat today. I do not eat what my sponsor eats, nor do my sponsees eat what I eat. I have sponsored many people, all with their own plans of eating and some who included things I don’t eat, such as sugar.

Many sponsors have no opinion on what their sponsees eat as long as they abstain from the foods and behaviors that trigger them to eat compulsively. Some people have a single sponsor who deals with all aspects of recovery, while others have multiple sponsors—for food, Steps, maintenance, service, etc. The primary responsibility of any sponsor isn’t to monitor a sponsee’s food but to help the sponsee work through all Twelve Steps so that he or she may find lasting recovery. Furthermore, we aren’t professionals, and many sponsors don’t have a lot of knowledge of nutrition. We often recommend that you seek the guidance of a professional, such as a registered dietitian, to help with questions about your plan of eating. It works best if you also work with a sponsor familiar with the Principles of the program since many dietitians aren’t familiar with OA’s Twelve Steps.

So I am not certain if you specifically want or need a sponsor who has the same plan of eating you do, or just a sponsor who isn’t disturbed by your particular plan of eating. You can look for another sponsor in either face-to-face or virtual (phone, online, or voice-over-internet) meetings. However, remember Tradition Ten says that we have no position on outside issues, including food plans. It wouldn’t be appropriate to announce in a meeting that you are looking for a sponsor who follows your specific plan since that would seem to be an endorsement of an outside issue. You might just state generally that your former sponsor didn’t feel comfortable sponsoring you because of your plan of eating and then privately discuss the issue. You could also take down numbers of available sponsors, contact them, and see if they are willing to work with you while you follow your plan.

— Members of the Board of Trustees provide answers to these questions

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