What is EDA?
Eating Disorders Anonymous (EDA) is a fellowship of individuals (founded in February 2000 by members of AA in Phoenix) who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover from their eating disorders. People can and do fully recover from having an eating disorder.
Are there dues or fees for membership?
The only requirement for membership is a desire to recover from an eating disorder. There are no dues or fees for EDA membership. We are self-supporting through our own contributions.
Is there a food plan?
There are no food plans in EDA. EDA endorses sound nutrition and discourages any form of rigidity around food. Food is nourishment for mind, soul and body. Balance — not abstinence — is our goal. We encourage anyone looking specifically for a food plan to work with whatever trusted and reliable resources are available, such as a registered dietician trained in addressing the special concerns of eating-disordered clients, as needed.
How do people recover?
We believe an eating disorder is a mechanism for coping with stress. We binge, purge and/or starve to feel better about our shame, anger, fear, loneliness, tiredness and ordinary human needs. As we learn to address stress through other mechanisms, the symptoms of the eating disorder tend to fade away. It is a process, not an event. In EDA, we share our experience, strength and hope with each other to help one another come to terms with and change how we deal with life.
Recovery means living life on life’s terms, facing pains and fears without obsessing on food, weight and body image. In our eating disorders, we sometimes felt like helpless victims. Recovery means gaining or regaining the power to see our options, to make careful choices in our lives. Recovery means rebuilding trust with ourselves, a gradual process that requires much motivation and support. There are bound to be setbacks and moments of fear and frustration. Support — professional, group and family — helps us get through such trials safely, when we are honest about them. Support groups such as EDA provide inspiration and opportunity for turning the most deeply painful and humbling experiences to useful purpose. As we learn and practice careful self-honesty, self-care, and self-expression, we gain authenticity, perspective, peace and empowerment.
How do I find a meeting?
You can see all of our meetings on the meeting listing page.
What happens in an EDA meeting?
We would like to encourage you to join a (free, anonymous) online meeting to get a good idea of what EDA meetings are like. You can also review the Suggested Meeting Format here.
Are there sponsors in EDA like in other 12-Step groups?
Yes. In EDA, a sponsor helps sponsees work the Twelve Steps, and is one part of their support network. A sponsor’s experience, strength and hope can provide the insight and inspiration needed to successfully work a Twelve Step program of recovery. For more information about sponsorship, please see the brochure New to 12-Step Programs & Sponsorship in EDA.
How do people identify themselves in EDA meetings?
In EDA meetings, identifying as “anorexic,” “bulimic,” “compulsive overeater,” “eating disordered,” et cetera is completely optional. Some of us say, “Hi, I’m Jane. I’m fully recovered from anorexia.” Others say, “Jane, eating disordered,” or “Hi, I’m Jane. I have a desire to recover from an eating disorder.” Still others may simply say, “Hi, I’m Jane,” and leave it at that. There are good reasons pro and con why some of us claim labels and others do not. We want to encourage everyone to follow their conscience in deciding what is right for them and most helpful to others.
May anyone attend an EDA meeting?
An open EDA meeting is not limited to EDA members. People attending an open EDA meeting are not required to identify themselves as members. Participants at a closed meeting, limited to EDA members only, are assumed to have a desire to recover from an eating disorder.
What is the difference between EDA and other 12-Step groups?
Unlike other 12-Step groups, EDA does not endorse abstaining from anything. Our organization is devoted to helping our members develop more resilient relationships with ourselves, others, food, and exercise.
- Balance, not abstinence
- Milestones, not numbers
- Feelings, not food, weight, exercise, or body image
- Full recovery!
- A desire to recover is the only requirement for membership
- The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
- The heart of the Twelve Steps is a spiritual solution, yet anyone (including atheists and agnostics) can work the Steps through reliance on something greater than themselves (a higher purpose)
- Support through sharing experience, strength, and hope
As we focus on positive goals (what we really need) instead of what we don’t want (old behaviors), we get stronger. A focus on abstinence can lead to the very rigidity that is the hallmark of a classic eating disorder. As we use the Steps to bring peace and perspective–and take small, careful risks to build trust with ourselves–we find that recovery, like happiness, is a by-product of thinking and doing the next right thing (whatever that may seem to be at the moment). Freedom from eating-disordered thinking and behaviors is a lagging–not leading–indicator that we are working a solid program of recovery.
How To Recover
- Attend meetings
- Work the steps
- Help others