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Dual Addictions

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Can people who use drugs or alcohol participate in Overeaters Anonymous meetings and pursue food abstinence? Is there a ban on this?

If you are asking if someone can have recovery from food addiction while they are acting out behaviors of other addictions, I believe that through working the Twelve Steps with a sponsor to stop eating compulsively, they will understand that they need to work the Steps with other addictions as well.

According to the Third Tradition of Overeaters Anonymous, “The only requirement for OA membership is the desire to stop eating compulsively.”

According to the Third Tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous, “The only requirement for AA membership is the desire to stop drinking.”

If your friend considers alcohol as part of liquid food and has the desire to stop drinking alcohol compulsively, they could eventually be helped by the Overeaters Anonymous program. AA could offer them more identification. However, OA could also be an interesting support, especially if no AA groups exist in their city and they use OA and AA literature.

The Twelve Step programs are like trains: if you are taking them, you always have an interesting journey of new life. It is for the passenger to choose their journey, destination, and direction with the Twelve Steps. I have seen compulsive eaters who were working the Twelve Steps in OA experience collateral benefits, like stopping smoking, obtaining degrees, changing work, stopping drinking, or other life improvement. After all, Rozanne, the OA founder, was inspired by a Twelve Step program for gambling!

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


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