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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.