I am an eating disorder sufferer who had sought relief from my problems in every imaginable group, therapy, and medical treatment in Ontario. Despite an honest desire to recover, I struggled to find a solution, even in the 12-step program of Overeaters Anonymous. This was discouraging for me because, as a sober alcoholic in A.A., I had come to place tremendous faith in the process of the 12 Steps.
Eventually, I discovered Eating Disorders Anonymous, a younger 12-step fellowship (founded in 2000 by members of A.A.). E.D.A. has proven to be a hopeful option and has come to my rescue, as well as to that of many other eating disorder sufferers across the United States, Canada, and beyond. It was the key to recovery from my Anorexia and Bulimia. I am now two years free of my eating disorder.
The opening of Toronto’s first E.D.A. meeting in 2016 symbolized new hope in the G.T.A. for those suffering from food and body-image-related disorders. The E.D.A. program of recovery is designed to work well in tandem with other medical and therapeutic treatments and has been effective for people dealing with anorexia, bulimia, OSFED, binge eating disorder (BED), and emotional eating.
Here are answers to some common questions:
- How is EDA different from food addiction?
The focus on food addiction is recognition that food itself can be a trigger for relapse into compulsive eating. The very substance (typically sugar, flour, grains) can overwhelm the reward circuitry of the brain, launching an addictive pattern of eating that will overwhelm the behavioural or psychological mechanisms a person has to control their eating. This means that food addicts have to foremost abstain from those triggering foods before they can work on any other issues that may complicate their eating pattern.
This is very different from an eating disorder, where the focus is on the psychological dynamics that can impair eating behaviors. Once these dynamics have been successfully addressed, most foods in moderation can be tolerated.
2. How does E.D.A. differ from O.A.?
Both are 12 -Step groups led by members seeking solutions to similar problems, but EDA and OA provide very different answers. In OA, food addicts are required to abstain from specific foods that may be triggering and to adopt specific disciplines around eating. In EDA, any rigidity around food is avoided. Members are devoted to helping each other build more resilient relationships with themselves, others and food. The only solution discussed is a spiritual solution through the 12 Steps. EDA members discuss disordered thinking so that we can better recognize life choices, try to make them responsibility, and learn from them as we go.
3. I have tried other programs and would like to learn more about this one.
For more information, please visit www.eatingdisordersanonymous.org
If you are wondering whether E.D.A could be right for you, or if you are unsure whether you have an eating disorder, please read the brochure titled “Could you be one of us?” available on the Literature page.
If you would like to contact the Toronto Resilience Group of E.D.A, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to thank Dr. Tarman for allowing me to appear on her site as a guest contributor. I reached out to Dr. Tarman, who is a prominent figure in the food recovery community of Toronto, to pass along information about E.D.A. as I assumed she would encounter many eating disorder suffers. Her support and offer to broadcast this information is an act of service that we hope will be helpful to many.
To view the information poster of E.D.A., click here.
– Jasmine S., Toronto Resilience Group of E.D.A.th: