Tools of Recovery

Tools of Recovery

We use tools—a plan of eating, sponsorship, meetings, the telephone, writing, literature, action plan, anonymity and service—to help us achieve and maintain abstinence and recover from our disease. Many of us have found we cannot abstain from compulsive eating unless we use some or all of OA’s nine tools of recovery to help us practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

A Plan of Eating

A plan of eating helps us abstain from compulsive eating. (See the pamphlet Dignity of Choice.) This tool helps us deal with the physical aspects of our disease and achieve physical recovery.


We ask a sponsor to help us through our program of recovery on all three levels: physical, emotional and spiritual. Find a sponsor who has what you want and ask that person how he or she is achieving it.


Meetings give us an opportunity to identify our common problem, confirm our common solution through the Twelve Steps and share the gifts we receive through this program. In addition to face-to-face meetings, OA offers telephone and online meetings.


Many members call, text or email their sponsors and other OA members daily. Telephone or electronic contact also provides an immediate outlet for those hard-to-handle highs and lows we may experience.


Putting our thoughts and feelings down on paper helps us to better understand our actions and reactions in a way that is often not revealed to us by simply thinking or talking about them.


We read OA-approved books, pamphlets and Lifeline magazine. Reading literature daily reinforces how to live the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

Action Plan

An action plan is the process of identifying and implementing attainable actions that are necessary to support our individual abstinence. Just like our plan of eating, it may vary widely among members and may need to be adjusted to bring structure, balance and manageability into our lives.


Anonymity guarantees we will place principles before personalities and assures us that only we have the right to make our membership known within our community. Anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television and other public media of communication means that we never allow our faces or last names to be used once we identify ourselves as OA members. Within the Fellowship, anonymity means that whatever we share with another OA member will
be held in respect and confidence. What we hear at meetings should remain there.


Any form of service that helps reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery. Members can give service by getting to meetings, putting away chairs, putting out literature and talking to newcomers. Beyond the group level, a member can serve as intergroup representative, committee chair, region representative or Conference delegate. As OA’s responsibility pledge states: “Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion; for this, I am responsible.”