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. In EDA, we help one another identify and claim milestones of recovery.
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. EDA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution. EDA does not wish to engage in any controversy. We neither endorse nor oppose any causes.
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 our members to work with qualified professionals, such as registered dieticians and therapists trained in treating eating disorders.
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.
What happens in a meeting?
When you arrive at the meeting, you will find men and women and/or boys and girls who share a common malady — an eating disorder — and have found a common solution: the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of EDA. You will see anywhere from 2 - 20 people at the meeting. An average meeting has about 8. You will be warmly welcomed. We check the shame and guilt at the door when we walk in. You may feel instantly bonded with the other people because we all share the same common problems and disease.
The meeting usually opens with the Serenity Prayer, and you may hear a reading called “More On Eating Disorders” which describes the disease of our eating disorder in greater detail. The 12 Steps and traditions will be read.
You may hear a speaker open the meeting and speak for 10 to 15 minutes about what life was like before EDA, what happened, and what he or she is like now; or someone might read from EDA or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) literature. Other members will share their experience, strength and hope. You will have an opportunity to introduce yourself as a newcomer, if you like. You will find that you are not alone. Because anonymity is a critical principle of EDA, you are assured that what you share will be held in confidence. This provides the safety you need to share your experiences honestly.
You may recognize your own story when you listen to others share. Listening will help you find others who have what you want, which is recovery from the obsession of food, weight and body image.. You may want to ask someone to be your sponsor or buddy. A sponsor or buddy will help you work the Steps of the program to achieve the recovery you seek.
When members share, you may hear them refer to a Higher Power or to God. EDA is not a religious program and does not subscribe to any specific religious ideology. It is a program that practices spiritual principles, and members individually approach these principles with a Higher Power of their understanding.
A list may be passed around for all to sign their names and phone numbers and email addresses, so people can offer each other support between meetings.
Meetings usually last about an hour.
Because EDA is self-supporting through member contributions, a basket will be passed for donations. You will not feel you HAVE to give a donation.
There will be time for EDA announcements and questions.
We will talk about our Milestones, which is a self-defined marker on our journey in recovery. It is important to recognize that even on our worst days we do things that are right and good and supportive of our recovery.
The meeting usually closes with a reading like the EDA Promises and then a closing prayer .