According to OA World Service: “Abstinence in Overeaters Anonymous is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight. Spiritual, emotional and physical recovery is the result of living the Overeaters Anonymous Twelve-Step program.”

For me, abstinence is the act or practice of self-restraint from certain pleasurable activities for a greater spiritual, emotional and physical purpose.

It is a way of BEING and DOING which connects me to “the Great Reality deep down within me” (AA BB, 55:2) — the God of my understanding.  It is not so much what I refrain from doing, but what I choose to do in order to move towards something better, “a life of sane and happy usefulness.” (AA Big Book: 130)

When I am abstinence, I refrain from blindly following my instinctual urges and choose to behave in a way that connects me to my soul.

Abstinence is so much more than just abstaining from my compulsive eating behaviors. It is whatever I do to become God-centered and refrain from being self-centered.

The tools of the program and personally taking and teaching others the 12 Steps of program are the best way to maintain abstinence. However, it starts with following my food plan, surrendering my ego, and then taking the next right step, in conscious contact with the God of my understanding.


There is a wealth of information available online on abstinence and following a food plan. The links to OA are always being changed or broken. Therefore, if you are interested in seeing any information from OA on abstinence, please go to their website and contact them directly. Please look for their Strong Abstinence Checklist.

Reference: In addition to the links to OA World Service, the picture above was found online here.

The other pictures were created by me, from the following information and from my own experience in program.

The Recovery Group

Getting The Newcomer Started 

This document can also be found here.


This is a wonderful YouTube introductory video about OA. The content is good, although the sound quality can be a bit distracting. Please check it out!

With blessings for recovery and peace,