Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa, are associated with a strong feeling of…
What Are Eating Disorders Anonymous Meetings Like?
Eating Disorders Anonymous is a nonprofit, self-help organization that was founded more than 70 years ago. Eating Disorders Anonymous is based on the 12-step structure of self-help groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous. Many people find that attending Eating Disorders Anonymous meetings is an effective way of treating an eating disorder or supplementing treatment. Here’s what you can expect when you attend an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting.
Principles of Eating Disorders Anonymous
Like other 12-step groups, Eating Disorders Anonymous meetings revolve around a few key principles. First, no matter what you believe or where you are in life, the only requirement for membership is a dedication to recovering from an eating disorder. This is the pinnacle principle of Eating Disorders Anonymous.
Second, to begin the process of recovery, Eating Disorders Anonymous asks members to admit that they are unable to control their addictions or compulsions by themselves. As a result, the third principle asks members to recognize that a higher power can give them the strength necessary to overcome an eating disorder.
With the help of other Eating Disorders Anonymous members and one’s own higher power, members can progress through the various stages of recovery. These stages include examining past behaviors and problems with the help of a sponsor, making amends for any wrongdoing, adopting a new code of behavior and living life by that code, and dedicating oneself to helping others who also suffer from eating disorders. During an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting, members will discuss these principles in detail and share where each member is in the process of completing the 12 steps.
Eating Disorders Anonymous Meeting Structure
Most Eating Disorders Anonymous meetings follow a similar structure. First, members greet one another before joining together to recite the Serenity Prayer. Next, a meeting leader or volunteer will read the Eating Disorders Anonymous literature that explains the purpose of Eating Disorders Anonymous. Group members will read other pieces of literature, which may include information about eating disorders, case studies of successful recovery or inspiring messages.
Some Eating Disorders Anonymous meetings spend the majority of the time allowing members to speak to the group about their experiences, struggles and successes. Other meetings will propose a topic and ask members to discuss their thoughts. On special occasions, an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting may host a guest speaker to talk to the group or the group will discuss a book the members have been asked to read.
The meeting will close with a request for donations to support the self-sustaining 12-step meetings, followed by a reading of the 9th Step Promises literature. Many members stay after the meeting to talk, find sponsors or offer additional support.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, consider attending an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting. There is no commitment to join, so take some time to attend a few meetings to see if Eating Disorders Anonymous is right for you.
Eating Disorders Anonymous. (2017). EDA Meeting Guide. http://www.eatingdisordersanonymous.org/publications/EDA%20Meeting%20Guide.pdf
Eating Disorder Hope. (2012). Overview of 12-Step Program for Eating Disorders. https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/recovery/self-help-tools-skills-tips/the-12-step-program-of-recovery-and-eating-disorders