The 12 Traditions of CEA-HOW

The Twelve Traditions are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.  Permission to reprint and adapt this material does not mean that AA is in any way affiliated with this program. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only. Use of the Twelve Traditions in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after AA, but which addresses other problems, or in any other non-AA context, does not imply otherwise.


Tradition 1 – Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon CEA-HOW unity.

Tradition 2 – For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

Tradition 3 – The only requirement for CEA-HOW membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.

Tradition 4 – Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or CEA-HOW as a whole.

Tradition 5 – Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the compulsive eater who still suffers.

Tradition 6 – A CEA-HOW group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the CEA-HOW name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

Tradition 7 – Every CEA-HOW group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

Tradition 8 – Compulsive Eaters Anonymous-HOW should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

Tradition 9 – CEA-HOW, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

Tradition 10 – Compulsive Eaters Anonymous-HOW has no opinion on outside issues; hence the CEA-HOW name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

Tradition 11 – Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television, and other public media of communication.

Tradition 12 – Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.



The 12 Steps of CEA-HOW

The Twelve Steps are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt this material does not mean that AA is in any way affiliated with this program. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs and activities which are patterned after AA, but which addresses other problems, or in any other non-AA context, does not imply otherwise.

Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over food-that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step 2.   Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step 7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step 10. Continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

Step 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

12 Steps of CEA-HOW


The CEA-HOW Concept

The Compulsive Eaters Anonymous-HOW Concept has been formed to offer the compulsive eater who accepts the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions as a program of recovery a disciplined and structured approach. The CEA-HOW Groups have been formed in the belief that our disease is absolute and therefore only absolute acceptance of the CEA-HOW Concept will offer any sustained abstinence to those of us whose compulsion has reached a critical level.

Therefore, the CEA-HOW plan of eating, steps, traditions and tools of recovery are not suggested. Rather, we accept them as requirements for our recovery.

Meetings are dedicated to the concept of remaining Honest, Open-minded, and Willing to listen – this is the HOW of the program. We pray that the collective group conscience and love that these ideals offer us will promote a strong sense of security that will enable us to experience a new unity and wholeness with all those around us and that the CEA-HOW ideal will help us to progress in our program of recovery on a daily basis.

To be certain, much of our strength is found in the structure of meetings and in the daily adherence to the program as it is written in our literature.

Each Group also firmly understands that after our recovery has begun through abstinence and the taking of the first three steps, our further surrender to the additional steps of recovery offers us a promise of happiness, contentment, and achievement in all areas of our lives.

We ensure our continued and sustained abstinence from compulsive eating by being forever aware that God is doing for us what we have never been able to do for ourselves.

May God, as each of us understands Him, open our minds and hearts to the love which is manifest in this room.




The Seven Tools

The primary purpose of Compulsive Eaters Anonymous-HOW is “…to abstain from compulsive eating and to carry the message of recovery to those who still suffer.” The tools help us to recover on all three levels – physical, emotional, and spiritual. The following tools are used to enhance our program of recovery through working the twelve steps of CEA-HOW.

  1. CEA-HOW ABSTINENCE FOOD PLAN: Three meals daily, weighed and measured, with nothing in between except sugar-free soda, no-calorie beverages, and sugar free gum. Food is written down, called in, and committed, so we can get on with our recovery and “out” of the food. It is recommended that you obtain your physician’s or health care professional’s approval before beginning your abstinence using the CEA-HOW food plan. Any recommendations your physician or health care professional makes will be accepted.
  2. LITERATURE & WRITING: We use Alcoholics Anonymous’ “The Big Book” and A.A.’s “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” as tools of examination and release. Our writing assignments for the first 30 days are taken from them. When we substitute the words “compulsive eater” for “alcoholic” and “food” for “alcohol”, we feel we identify absolutely. We believe that negative thinking is a large part of our disease, so we are learning, one day at a time, to abstain from negative thinking.
  3. ANONYMITY: Who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here, let it stay here. When we meet another member in the outside world, we do not mention that they are members of CEA-HOW.
  4. TELEPHONE CALLS: We are required to make four calls a day-one to our sponsor and three to other CEA-HOW members. The phone is like a lifeline; we need the contact; it can be like a mini-meeting.
  5. MEETINGS: We must attend three meetings a week. Those members who have at least 30 days of continuous CEA-HOW abstinence may pitch. Those members who have at least seven days of continuous CEA-HOW abstinence may pitch if their pitching has been discussed with their sponsor.
  6. SERVICE: Service is abstinence-the greatest service to ourselves. Service is coming to meetings on time; being a leader or speaker; volunteering to be a service person such as a program chairperson, coffee person, treasurer, secretary, literature person, intergroup representative, etc. Service is CEA-HOW. Service is putting away chairs when necessary, picking up after the meeting, being quiet when a member is sharing. Service is one way to get involved in the program. Service is needed at all levels and at every meeting. Service is giving of ourselves to help CEA-HOW continue to function. Let’s all get involved to help CEA-HOW, because we all know that: Service is freedom from bondage of self.
  7. SPONSORSHIP: A sponsor is a compulsive eater who–thank God– has 30 days of back-to-back CEA-HOW abstinence. A sponsor will help you work through the 12 Steps. Everyone in CEA-HOW is sponsored according to the same guidelines. Sponsors MUST have 30 days of abstinence, have completed 30 days of questions, and have taken the first three steps.                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Seven Tools of CEA-HOW


The Serenity Prayer

GOD, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.


The Third Step Prayer Page 63 AA Big Book

God, I offer myself to Thee – to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy Will always!


The 7th Step Prayer – Page 76 AA Big Book

My creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.

11th Step Prayer – AA Big Book Page 86-88

When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest, or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.

On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Under these conditions we can employ our mental faculties with assurance, for after all God gave us brains to use. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our
thinking is cleared of wrong motives.

In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.

What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it.

We usually conclude the period of meditation with a prayer, but we ask that we be shown all through the day what our next step is to be, that we be given whatever we need to take care of such problems.

As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.”

It works – it really does.

St. Francis Prayer – AA 12 & 12 Page 99

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace — that where there is hatred, I may bring love — that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness — that where there is discord, I may bring harmony — that where there is error, I may bring truth — that where there is doubt, I may bring faith — that where there is despair, I may bring hope — that where there are shadows, I may bring light — that where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted — to understand, than to be understood — to love, than to be loved. For it by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.



Just for Today

Just for Today: I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for Today: I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

Just for Today: I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my “luck” as it comes, and fit myself to it.

Just for Today: I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought, and concentration.

Just for Today: I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and not get found out; if anybody knows of it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I don’t want to do–just for exercise. I will not show anyone that my feelings are hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not show it.

Just for Today: I will be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything, and not try to improve or regulate anybody except myself.

Just for Today: I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

Just for Today: I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax. During this half hour, some time, I will try to get a better perspective of my life.

Just for Today: I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe that as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.” I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just For Today