Family and Friends
To the Family and Friends of the Compulsive Eater
You may have found this page because you are concerned about someone’s behavior with food.
Consider the following questions:
- Do you notice that food is inexplicably gone?
- Does the person try to sneak food?
- Do you find hidden food and wrappers?
- Are all the “goodies” gone?
- Does the person often eat alone?
- Does the person visit the bathroom after eating, and you hear water running?
- Are people often suggesting the person go on a diet?
- Does the person seem to have more food and less money?
- Does the person’s weight affect how he or she lives?
- Is the person routinely using laxatives or water pills?
- Is the person unhappy about his or her appearance?
- Is the person or other people in the person’s life unhappy about his or her eating behavior?
Answering “yes” to several of these questions may indicate a loved one has problems with food and may be a compulsive eater. He or she is not alone. Since 1960, compulsive eaters have found a solution through OA. OA meetings are held worldwide. You can search for a meeting for yourself or your loved one on the Find a Meeting page.
The effects of the compulsive eater’s abnormal preoccupation with food, such as health issues and mood swings, can harm the family. People who are eating abnormally can demoralize and devastate everyone around them. But there is hope: you can read the inspiring stories of OA members who have greatly improved their relationships with their families.
Although no groups currently exist for families and friends of compulsive eaters, you might find help by attending Twelve-Step family programs related to other addictions. An internet search can help you find such programs.
What you can do for yourself:
- Learn more about the disease of compulsive overeating through literature such as Compulsive Overeating: An Inside View and the 15 questions.
- Read other Overeaters Anonymous literature.
- Attend an open meeting of Overeaters Anonymous (find a meeting here).
- Learn more about recovery from compulsive eating through literature such as To the Family of the Compulsive Eater.
- Attend meetings of family groups for other Twelve-Step programs.
If you would prefer to receive the introductory literature by mail, email your request for a Family Packet to the World Service Office of Overeaters Anonymous.
To order other literature about compulsive eating and the OA program, visit the online catalog or call the World Service Office; you can order by phone or request a printed catalog. These items would be helpful: