First of all, thank you!
We are glad you are thinking about starting an EDA meeting. It is not an easy task, often requiring much patience and persistence, yet effort put into sharing our honest experience, strength and hope helps us recognize, celebrate and deepen our recovery. We sincerely hope your recovery will be strengthened through your efforts to carry the message of recovery. We have compiled a list of suggestions and answers to Frequently Asked Questions below from EDA Traditions and collective EDA member experience:
A few things to keep in mind before starting a new meeting
- Per our Traditions, EDA meetings can only be run by EDA members, not treatment professionals (unless doing so as an EDA member)
- Once a group is formed it must follow our primary purpose, which states “Our primary purpose is to recover from our eating disorders and to carry this message of recovery to others with eating disorders.”
- There are no dues or fees for EDA membership
- Anyone with a desire to recover from an eating disorder can be an EDA member.
- If you have no experience in other 12-step programs you may find it very helpful to attend EDA on-line or phone meetings prior to and while starting a new group
- EDA is guided by its 12 Traditions; please read the Traditions prior to starting your group!
Getting a new meeting started
- Review suggestions for starting a new meeting in the EDA Meeting Guide in the compressed WinZip format EDA Meeting Starter Kit.zip
- Remember to keep your anonymity at the level of press, radio, film and web.
- Contact info should be something like YourCityEDA@gmail.com instead of a personal address (you can forward the email to whoever will be answering email in the future).
- Avoid giving out personal phone numbers to the general public.
- Locate a facility to hold the meeting.
- Public libraries are often available for meetings.
- Try to find a central location to increase likelihood of attendance.
- Pick a time and day of week for the meeting that you can reliably make.
- Try to select a time that should be convenient for others.
- Let EDA’s support staff know about your meeting.
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the information so we can put it on our “EDA Meetings” web page.
- Please include an email address for the group (please do not use a personal email), meeting address, date, time and any other details attendees should know
Attracting new members
- Make up flyers. Flyers should include, “For more information, see www.4EDA.org.”
- Please be careful to share information without “promoting” EDA. It is easy to get overzealous. Our program is based on attraction, not promotion, but it is essential to “carry the message”. Half of EDA’s primary purpose is to carry the message of recovery to others with eating disorders. When we share information about meetings and about our own experience, strength and hope we are doing just that.
- Provide flyers/information to local therapists/psychologists/psychiatrists that treat eating disorders.
- Ask such resources if they know anyone in recovery who could help run meetings and ask them to pass on your contact information (if you feel safe in so doing)
- Provide information to halfway houses/treatment centers
- Post flyers in health centers of local universities
- Contact newspapers about listing your meeting. Community pages often list 12-Step meeting information free of charge.
- Call your friends and let them know about the meeting
For people chairing new meetings
- Be prepared to serve as the meeting chairperson for the first six months
- Be prepared for low attendance during the first six months
- Attend online and phone EDA meetings (and/or attend other 12 Step meetings if applicable to you) while your fellowship is growing. You need to be healthy too!
- Work the 12 Steps: they are the unifying foundation of recovery
- Follow the 12 Traditions: they help us create and maintain safe meetings
- Be patient. It sometimes takes great perseverance to get a new meeting up and running.
- Be punctual. People tend not to return if no one greets them and make them feel welcome. Make sure someone can be at the meeting at least five minutes early to open the doors.
Once the meeting gets started, hold regular business meetings and rotate service positions
- A chairperson responsible for facilitating meeting, greeting newcomers, and making sure other positions are filled
- A General Service Representative (GSR) to carry information to and from EDA’s General Service Board. This person is responsible for getting General Service Board email (sign up for email with email@example.com)
- A Treasurer to collect 7th Tradition funds and pay the rent
- A Literature Representative to make copies of EDA literature (available at meetings), from http://www.4EDA.org/literature/
- Service positions, such as chairperson and treasurer, generally rotate every three to six months
- The group conscience (group vote) can determine how long service terms should last
- It is important to emphasize importance of sharing service commitments
- It is good for our recovery to accept and carry out service commitments to ourselves and others
- EDA members involved in service work say service (chairing meetings, answering email, writing literature) helps build recovery and good coping skills
- According to our 7th Tradition, each EDA group ought to be fully self-supporting through its own contributions
- Each meeting should take a collection
- Once your group has established a prudent reserve of 2-3 months’ rent, it should decide (by group conscience vote) what to do with the surplus, bearing in mind that each group’s purpose is to carry the message of recovery
- We suggest a percentage of the surplus be sent to EDA’s General Service Board to help fund public information dissemination and web site
- A 7th Tradition Contribution Form is included in the compressed EDA Meeting Starter Kit: Please send in a copy with each contribution or use PayPal to send in your meeting’s contribution.
- We suggest the balance be used to carry the message of recovery to others with eating disorders in your local community, setting up a local EDA service office and hotline, or whatever group conscience dictates
- Sometimes meetings just can’t seem to get off the ground
- If you have been trying hard for six months and no one is showing up regularly at your meeting or if no one else is willing to accept responsibility for the meeting, it is all right to call it quits.
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the location, day of week and time of any meeting you know of that is closing
- When a meeting does not succeed it is sometimes indicative that other things in life need attention
- Failure of a meeting should not be taken as a personal failure
- Remember, EDA’s motto is “Effort, not results”
- We are responsible for our efforts
- The results of our efforts are not our responsibility; we try to accept them with as much grace and dignity as possible.
Whatever happens, don’t lose heart: you are not alone!
Thank you and best wishes for the success of your meeting!
If you have any questions not answered here, please don’t hesitate to ask email@example.com. One of EDA’s volunteer support staff will respond as soon as possible.
The General Service Board of Eating Disorders Anonymous