12 Steps & 12 Traditions & 12 Concepts

Here are the 12 steps as adapted for Overeaters Anonymous:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over food--that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Spiritual Principles in the Twelve Steps

A spiritual principle is associated with each of the Twelve Steps.

The Principles in the Twelve Steps (as listed in Step Twelve of The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous)

Step One: Honesty

Step Two: Hope

Step Three: Faith

Step Four: Courage

Step Five: Integrity

Step Six: Willingness

Step Seven: Humility

Step Eight: Self-discipline

Step Nine: Love for others

Step Ten: Perseverance

Step Eleven: Spiritual Awareness

Step Twelve: Service

Here are the 12 Traditions as adapted for Overeaters Anonymous:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority— a loving God as he may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other group or OA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose--to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.
  6. An OA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the OA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every OA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Overeaters Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. OA, as such, ought never be organized: but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Overeaters Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues: hence the OA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion: we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio films, television, and other public media of communication.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all these Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Spiritual Principles in the Twelve Traditions

A spiritual principle is associated with each of the Twelve Traditions.

Tradition One: Unity

Tradition Two: Trust

Tradition Three: Identity

Tradition Four: Autonomy

Tradition Five: Purpose

Tradition Six: Solidarity

Tradition Seven: Responsibility

Tradition Eight: Fellowship

Tradition Nine: Structure

Tradition Ten: Neutrality

Tradition Eleven: Anonymity

Tradition Twelve: Spirituality

Twelve Concepts

In Overeaters Anonymous, the Twelve Steps serve as the spiritual principles that support our personal recovery from compulsive overeating. The Twelve Traditions aid us, individually and collectively, in maintaining unity of purpose within the Fellowship. The Twelve Concepts of OA Service, adopted by the World Service Business Conference (WSBC) in 1994, help us apply the Steps and Traditions in our service work, which is an important part of the OA program. The Concepts define and guide the practices of the service structures that conduct the business of OA.

These Concepts depict the chain of delegated responsibility we use to provide service throughout the world. Although they focus on OA world services, the Concepts direct all OA’s trusted servants to well-considered actions for group participation, decision making, voting and the expression of minority opinions. The Twelve Concepts support our primary purpose of carrying OA’s message of recovery to the still-suffering compulsive overeater.

The Twelve Concepts of OA Service

Concept One

The ultimate responsibility and authority for OA world services reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.

Concept Two

The OA groups have delegated to World Service Business Conference the active maintenance of our world services; thus, World Service Business Conference is the voice, authority and effective conscience of OA as a whole.

Concept Three

The right of decision, based on trust, makes effective leadership possible.

Concept Four

The right of participation ensures equality of opportunity for all in the decision-making process.

Concept Five

Individuals have the right of appeal and petition in order to ensure that their opinions and personal grievances will be carefully considered.

Concept Six

The World Service Business Conference has entrusted the Board of Trustees with the primary responsibility for the administration of Overeaters Anonymous.

Concept Seven

The Board of Trustees has legal rights and responsibilities accorded to them by OA Bylaws, Subpart A; the rights and responsibilities of the World Service Business Conference are accorded to it by Tradition and by OA Bylaws, Subpart B.

Concept Eight

The Board of Trustees has delegated to its Executive Committee the responsibility to administer the OA World Service Office.

Concept Nine

Able, trusted servants, together with sound and appropriate methods of choosing them, are indispensable for effective functioning at all service levels.

Concept Ten

Service responsibility is balanced by carefully defined service authority; therefore, duplication of efforts is avoided.

Concept Eleven

Trustee administration of the World Service Office should always be assisted by the best standing committees, executives, staffs and consultants.

Concept Twelve

The spiritual foundation for OA service ensures that:

(a) No OA committee or service body shall ever become the seat of perilous wealth or power;

(b) Sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, shall be OA’s prudent financial principle;

(c) No OA member shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority;

(d) All important decisions shall be reached by discussion, vote and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity;

(e) No service action shall ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; and

(f) No OA service committee or service board shall ever perform any acts of government, and each shall always remain democratic in thought and action.

Spiritual Principles in the Twelve Concepts

A spiritual principle is associated with each of the Twelve Concepts.

Concept One: Unity

Concept Two: Conscience

Concept Three: Trust

Concept Four: Equality

Concept Five: Consideration

Concept Six: Responsibility

Concept Seven: Balance

Concept Eight: Delegation

Concept Nine: Ability

Concept Ten: Clarity

Concept Eleven: Humility

Concept Twelve:

(a) Selflessness

(b) Realism

(c) Representation

(d) Dialogue

(e) Compassion

(f) Respect

For more information about the Twelve Concepts, read the pamphlet The Twelve Concepts of OA Service, available from our online catalog.