NEW TO AEA
About Addictive Eaters Anonymous Meetings
An Addictive Eaters Anonymous (AEA) meeting is where AEA members meet on a regular basis to share their experience, strength and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from addictive eating. An AEA meeting may take many different forms. Generally, you will find addictive eaters talking about their powerlessness over food and other substances and the unmanageability of their lives, what actions they have taken to help them find freedom from this, and how they are living their lives today. There is an emphasis on the solution, rather than the problem, with members focusing on carrying the message of sobriety to the addictive eater who still suffers, as this is the primary purpose of an AEA meeting.
In our experience, regular attendance at AEA meetings is essential for us to attain and maintain sobriety. Sharing at meetings allows us to hear how we each practise the programme in our daily lives. Listening to one another offers identification with other addictive eaters and helps provide a sense of belonging. AEA meetings are a safe place to share openly and honestly. What we choose to share at an AEA meeting stays in the meeting, due to the tradition of anonymity. Anonymity is an important principle of the AEA programme and when we share we usually identify by first name only.
Walking into our first meeting can be a little bewildering as there are no rules and no one appears to be in charge. No one seems to tell anyone else what to do. This is because AEA members simply share what has worked for them. The meetings are informal, but structured in a way that works. There is usually a chairperson who leads the meeting and he or she will invite people to share. Meetings will have readings from AEA and Alcoholics Anonymous literature. Most of us, when new to AEA, found it helpful to listen for the similarities, rather than focus on the differences, when attending meetings.
Many of us felt nervous when attending our first meeting, or when picking up the phone to make that first call to an AEA member. We’ve all been there. We found there was no need to worry. We were welcomed by people who understood our problem, who did not judge us, and who offered a solution in the Twelve Steps of Addictive Eaters Anonymous. Meetings are equally as important for AEA ‘old-timers’ as they are for newcomers. Members find they need regular meetings to maintain emotional sobriety, and to experience the joy of carrying the message of recovery to another addictive eater.
There are no dues or fees for attending an AEA meeting. We are self supporting through our own voluntary contributions. At some point during each meeting we pass the basket to help cover expenses, such as the cost of rent and literature. Members are not obliged to contribute, but we usually do so to the extent we are able.
Meeting service positions are usually decided at a group conscience, (a group discussion on how the meeting is structured and run, usually held monthly), and may include secretary, chairperson, treasurer and other roles as needed. Regular rotation of service positions is encouraged as no one person is in charge. Doing service at meetings offers members the chance to give back to the fellowship.
Many AEA members find attendance at open or closed meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, whichever is appropriate, to be helpful to their recovery, especially in areas where there are no AEA meetings. AEA also hosts regular online web events which enable members to carry the message to one another around the world. This is particularly helpful to members who live in areas where they are a sole member or where there are very few members. These events are not designed to replace face to face meetings; rather it is hoped that face to face meetings will grow as a result of having regular web events. For information on how to attend a web event, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or register for the AEA web event.
While the only requirement for AEA membership is a desire to stop eating addictively, AEA meetings are open to anyone with an interest in the disease of addiction. This includes family members, friends or partners of addictive eaters and healthcare professionals. We also welcome media enquiries. The primary purpose of an AEA meeting is to carry the message of sobriety to the still suffering addictive eater.
Our primary purpose is to recover from addictive eating and help others to achieve sobriety.