Q: My son is 12 years old and weighs 227 pounds (103 kg). I need to find help for him because he has no control when it comes to eating and no regard for his self-image.
A: The literature resources we have to offer younger children include Billy’s Story and The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions: A Kid’s View. Both of these items can be downloaded for free from the “Young Persons in OA” page on our website at oa.org/newcomers/youth-in-oa/. Also, the new Young Person’s Packet is available for purchase in the OA bookstore at bookstore.oa.org. Reading this literature, even at a young age, can plant a seed, and as a result, a young compulsive eater may eventually embrace the program and recover.
If you are not a member, you may find it helpful to attend an open OA meeting to learn about the solution offered in OA. It may also help for you and your child to attend a meeting together. For face-to-face meetings, we suggest that an adult accompany a young person who is under legal age. While some meetings have a minimum age requirement, you can find an appropriate meeting using OA’s meeting finder at oa.org/membersgroups/find-a-meeting/.
People who do not suffer from the disease of compulsive overeating sometimes ask about starting a group for youth. This is not possible; by definition, an OA group is composed only of those who have the disease and come to share their personal experience, strength, and hope. The strength of this program rests in our common bond and common interest in recovering from this disease. The only requirement for joining OA is the desire to stop eating compulsively. This is simple, but we also know that a true desire to stop eating compulsively usually cannot be instilled in a child by a concerned parent, no matter how lovingly and tenderly she or he tries. Similarly, we in the OA Fellowship cannot give anyone the desire to stop the compulsive behavior. The willingness to do so must come from within for recovery to begin.
— Members of the Board of Trustees provide answers to Ask-It Basket questions
Ask-It Basket Archive
Click on the link below to see an archive of previous Ask-It Basket questions and answers. Remember that these answers are the opinions of individual members of the Board of Trustees and others may have different opinions. It’s a good idea to read other OA materials that address an issue and ask around in meetings for more opinions. Also keep in mind that circumstances change and opinions are refined over time. Ask-It Basket Archive