OA 12 Steps: The 12 Provocations Will Strike A Nerve!

OA 12 Steps…some of the best literature in the rooms.

Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is a fellowship rich with enthusiasm and hope. They zealously target a niche that not many dare tread but they do so with answers and compassion.

That’s what I love about this fellowship. They are not shy to pitch you the truth; there are no pulling punches. One concept in particular, which is controversial, demonstrates their direct and unflinching nature. Before I introduce this concept to you, let me present the 12-Steps as laid out in OA.

The OA 12 Steps Are As Follows: 

Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous

We of Overeaters Anonymous have found in this Fellowship a way to recover from the disease of compulsive overeating. After years of guilt over repeated failures to control our eating and our weight, we now have a solution that works. Our solution is a program of recovery — a program of twelve simple steps. By following these steps, thousands of compulsive overeaters have stopped eating compulsively. Here are the steps as adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous:

  1. We admitted that 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 whenever 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 the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

This the exact wording as found in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous

OA 12 Steps

Nothing out of the ordinary here, at least in terms of 12-Step groups; it’s a standard issue twelve step jamboree, no doubt.


What’s striking about OA, and what made me fall in love with their literature is a little tidbit I discovered while reading “OA Big Book Study Guide: For Compulsive Overeaters” by Lawrie C. 

What exactly got my neurons firing?

Something called The Twelve Provocations. 

The Twelve Provocations

The following is taken directly from Lawrie C’s Big Book Study Guide.

As I’ve been taught, the Big Book stands for the following concepts. Each one of them is controversial in some OA (AA, NA) groups. They are simply intended to create some interest in what follows. They are not intended to be offensive,


  1. I am a recovered compulsive eater (alcoholic, addict), not a recovering one.
  2. Abstinence is not the most important thing in my life without exception; the consciousness of the presence of God is.
  3. Although a sponsor, if available, is very important for recovery, a sponsor is not necessary to recover.
  4. You can recover in weeks.
  5. The Tools of Recovery (Living Sober Book, Living Clean Book, Slogans, etc.) are not an essential part of the OA program.
  6. You don’t take Steps One and Two.
  7. Steps Three, Six, Seven, and Eight, should not take a long time to get through
  8. You don’t make amends to yourself.
  9. You cannot carry the message until after you have completed Step Nine.
  10. Service is not slimming (abstinence).
  11. Food (alcohol, drugs, etc.)  can be discussed at meetings.
  12. Every person who wants to be a member of OA should know exactly what having “a desire to stop eating compulsively” means.

What do you think?

Too radical? Or right on the money?

You decide.

OA 12 Steps - 12 provocations