What Have You Heard in a Meeting – the Wisdom of OA

There's a lot of experience, hope and strength in OAThe wit, wisdom and human-ness of OA is captured in the sayings we share with each other at meetings like:
Easy does it.

OA Slogans

The slogans have been called the handrails to the 12 Steps.

  • One Day at a Time
  • Let Go and Let God
  • Easy Does It.
  • First things first.
  • Live and let live.
  • But for the grace of God.
  • Think think think.
  • Came in for the Vanity, Stayed for the Sanity
  • When I stopped living in the problem, the problem went away. Acceptance is the answer… AA Big Book
  • If you pray, don’t worry. If you worry, don’t pray.
  • Holding a Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
  • Expectations = Resentments under construction.
  • Release what does not bless you.
  • Imperfect but trying.
  • Progress, not perfection.
  • I don’t think less of myself, I think of myself less.
  • Sobriety is not about getting sober, it’s about staying sober.
  • Recovery = a lifetime of work. That’s why we’re given a lifetime to do it.
  • Serenity is a feeling of stability within.
  • Don’t give up until the miracle happens.

OA Member Virginia W. brought the following, MASSIVE, list to our attention. Get a cup of tea and snuggle up by the fire while you peruse this serious dose of OA & Program wisdom!


  • Abstinence frees me to choose healthy foods, healthy friends, and healthy thoughts.
  • Abstinence is a life style.
  • Abstinence is a state of grace by which I am balanced physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Abstinence is all GOD is asking of me today.
  • Abstinence is the #1 action in my life, so that GOD can be in the center.
  • Abstinence keeps me present for life and joy.
  • Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
  • Abstinence takes care of the fat on my body.
  • My abstinence becomes three meals a day with “life” in between.
  • Remember: GOD has done abstinence for us.
  • Since abstinence; my only “To Do List” is life!
  • The only time I have ever been satisfied is when I am abstinent.
  • To be or not to be abstinent? That is the question.  GOD is the answer.
  • To keep abstinence alive, I have to be constantly aware of it.
  • When we are abstinent, we can truly be present for other people who are in pain.


  • GOD = Good Orderly Direction
  • GOD= Group Of Drunks
  • GOD= Gift Of Desperation
  • FEAR = FEverything And Run, OR
  • FEAR = Face Everything And Recover
  • FEAR is not fact!
  • SHIT = Special High Intensity Thinking
  • Full of Food vs. Full of God
  • Spread the message not the mess.
  • AM vs. FM Dial ?  Is my dial Against Me or For Me?
  • Let go or get dragged.
  • The ISM of alcoholism = ISelf Me
  • The ISM of alcoholism = Insane Story Machine
  •  ACT myself into ways of thinking.
  • Disease feeds the disease.
  • Isolation is the dark room where I develop my negatives.
  • Tough shit. Don’t eat!
  • Together we get better.
  • Head Trip = my head, thoughts, and unfinished issues that lead me to food.
  • Life becomes more than food.
  • Food is fuel. It is not my lover or friend.
  • Before 12 Step Recovery, I was a piece of shit that the world revolved around.
  • Being right is not as important as being FREE!
  • The less I come to OA Meetings, the less I want to come.
  • There are two times when you go to an OA Meeting: when you want to and when you do not want to!
  • Don’t believe everything you think!
  • Focus less on food and more on people.
  • How I feel about my body has nothing to do with how I look.
  • When the pain of where I am, overwhelms the fear of where I am going; then, I am ready and willing to grow and change is OA.


  • God’s will is a loving thought and a loving action.
  • GOD is more powerful than _________________________! ! !
  • Don’t tell GOD how big your problems are, tell your problems how big GOD is.
  • GOD, if you can put the stars in the sky with the sweep of your hand; then, maybe, You can help me with my compulsive eating.
  • Wait on GOD! And, GOD will bless your weight.
  • I no longer serve GOD in an advisory capacity.
  • GOD is interested in how I trust GOD not in what I weigh.
  • GOD has great plans for us; and it is not having our heads in the toilet.
  • It is not in finding GOD or in naming GOD; but in pursuing GOD.
  • I need a practical GOD that will come between me and the food.
  • Resentment is a deadly hazard.
  • The alcoholic clings to the times when alcohol used to work.
  • Coincidence is our Higher Power remaining anonymous.
  • If you feed your faith, doubts will starve.
  • OA is not drive-through recovery!
  • The key to the future is forgiveness.
  • OA Recovery has given me a relationship with The Mystery of Life!
  • Impression Management   vs. honesty with GOD, self and others.
  • The ME version of the Serenity Prayer:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change
    the courage to change the people I can
    and the Wisdom to know that the people is me.


  • SUGAR is like a grenade.
  • SUGAR is the vampire of the spirit.
  • SUGAR is like adultery; it betrays you and everyone else.
  • I do not eat paint, Styrofoam or SUGAR! I do not envy those who do.
  • I do not drink alcohol because it is highly refined SUGAR!
  • It is not fruits or carrots that brought us to OA!


  • Compulsive eating is an equal opportunity disease.
  • In OA, my job is to serve other people.
  • Before OA, there was never enough to satisfy me; in OA, abstinence satisfies me now.
  • Through OA Recovery, I experience more days of grace.
  • OA allows me to “be”.
  • In OA, we leave the results to GOD.
  • My life must illustrate OA Recovery.
  • Before OA, I had a hole in my soul not a whole soul.
  • Before OA, I was constantly engaged in the “pursuit of never enough”.
  • Being right is not as important as being FREE!
  • OA has taught me how to keep company with my feelings rather than eat over them.
  • My old life before OA, depended upon hanging onto my defects and my old survival skills.
  • Find the blessings in this disease through the OA Fellowship.
  • In OA, I am learning to take care of myself and others.
  • Before OA, I had a head full of knowledge and a heart full of nothing.
  • Codependency was a sport in my family.
  • I need boundaries around food or I would bury myself alive with food.
  • OA is a camaraderie and fellowship among people who understand.
  • OA Meetings keep us connected to our own kind.
  • FOOD kept me neutral so I would not feel pain or joy.
  • The honesty is healing me.
  • The old solution before OA was to feed the voice.
  • OA is not drive-through recovery.
  • The less I come to OA Meetings, the less I want to come!
  • When I want to eat between meals, then, something is going on; and it is not hunger.
  • The mental twist is what leads to the first compulsive bite.
  • A queer mental condition surrounds the first compulsive bite.
  • To pass it on to others plays an important role and a vital part in our own recovery.
  • Courage and compassion are needed when I miss the mark.
  • OA is the bright spot of our lives:
    • we watch loneliness vanish,
    • we see the fellowship grow,
    • we have frequent contact with newcomers,
    • we carry the message of hope and recovery; and
    • we help when no one else can!

Take Virginia’s Gift with You – Click to Download the Things I Heard in OA Meetings PDF.

Don’t See Your Favorite OA Nugget?

Use the comments section of this page, below, to contribute your own favorite OA or 12 Step Program sayings. Who knows whose day you’ll improve!

This entry was posted in Helpful Hints for Recovery, Members Share. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What Have You Heard in a Meeting – the Wisdom of OA

  1. Tom G says:

    I was at a meeting recently and heard the following:

    Don’t tell God (HP) how big your problems are; tell your problems how big your God (HP) is!

    Great advice for putting our daily cares into proper perspective.

    Tom G.

  2. Tom G. says:

    More good stuff I’ve heard at meetings…

    If you pray, don’t worry. If you worry, don’t pray.

    Thank God, I don’t get what I deserve.

    Amen to that!

    Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

  3. Pamela Stover Johnsen says:

    I paraticipated in OA for about a year, then quit only to relapse while trying yet one more diet plan. I’ve been out for about 6mo. and have gained even more. I feel very discouraged. I am also in two other 12 step programs so wonder how to balance this one too. One uses the AA Big Book and I remain active in them. Any ideas or advice ?
    Thank you, Pamela

    • Tom G says:

      Hi Pamela

      Thanks for reaching out. Struggling with any addiction is difficult but multiple even more so. I participate to varying degrees in 5 different fellowships. What I’ve found, to my great surprise, was that food is always the hardest to deal with on an abstinence basis. Because of this I realized that I had to make my food addiction a top priority because if I’m abstinent in my other programs but not with the food, it’s only a matter of time before my abstinence(s) will be at risk in the other programs as well. Our disease doesn’t care which open door or window it comes in through as long as it can get in.

      I encourage you to come back to meetings. Find an OA sponsor or renew your relationship if you previously had one, read the Big Book and work the steps around your food as well as other issues. I’ve found that with the right perspective, I don’t have to work 5 different step programs although I may need more than one sponsor if that person isn’t equipped or willing to deal with issues beyond the specific fellowship.

      What I’ve found for me is that it’s the same disease manifesting in multiple ways. I strive for abstinence across the board because a piece meal approach didn’t work for me. I’m working to use more of the tools of the program the most important of these being service. There’s something about doing for others that makes it easier to ignore my own suffering and harder to walk away when things get tough.

      Finally, practice self affirmation. If you’re like me and many others in program you’re probably very good at being hard, harsh and critical towards yourself. Work and practice the opposite. Learn to celebrate rather than denigrate yourself. The voice of our disease will eventually fade.

      Good luck and hope to see you at a meeting soon!

  4. Alex W. says:

    Hi Pamela,

    Thanks for reaching out. When we get to O.A., for a lot of us our food is so out-of-control that we feel an urge to do something to clamp down on it an impose a rigid sort of discipline on it. For some folks, rigid control works really well; in fact, they can’t get abstinent without it. However, for others (especially those with childhood issues) this rigidity recalls the dysfunction of demanding and unsupportive childhood influences, such as parents, teachers, or peers. My experience with a rigid food plan was that it led to black-and-white thinking which was a barrier to actual progress.

    Like you, I’ve struggled in program. A few years ago, I got on a pretty rigid food plan for a month, and when I “failed” at it, I went on a six-month eating binge during which I knew I was miserable, but I told myself that I was going to eat anything that I wanted because I wasn’t sure if the program worked anyway. What this weird/bad/crazy time taught me was to NOT be afraid of hitting bottom – hitting bottom is how the 12-Step process works. Even though it looks like I am “screwing up,” what I am really doing is building a foundation for recovery by gaining a full knowledge of my condition. I ate all of the cake that I could while being fully aware of what I was doing – the end result was that I realized from head to toe that I could not take in sugar and flour and stay sane. I hit bottom and enough ego and insanity was cleared away in me that I was open to recovery.

    Once I hit bottom, I was looking for a definition of abstinence. I’ve found that some structure or guidelines are necessary for abstinence. For something basic, I’m a fan of the 3-0-1 plan: three meals a day, nothing in between, one day at a time. Those meals can be any size they need to be – part of this plan is teaching myself that I don’t need to panic if I’m not grazing or passing up food, because I won’t starve to death. The important thing is to set a guideline for abstinence that is achievable from where I’m at RIGHT NOW, so that I don’t set myself up for failure and then pile on a bunch of useless guilt and frustration.

    Personally, I also don’t do flour of any kind, or sugar, or sugar substitutes. My body does not metabolize these substances well, and they leave me feeling foggy and divorced from my sensations, which in turn sets me up for overeating because I can’t tell if I’m full. If you relate to these feelings, you might want to set elimination of some or all of these things as a goal – if not today (or not tomorrow), then someday. You’ll get there if you know that it’s something you need.

    Hope this helps.

  5. An OA Friend says:


    We have a phone Big Book Meeting 6AM MT on Wednesdays. I really hope you stay for the miracle to happen. It is truely worth it!

  6. Tanya says:

    If I slip half way up a mountain I don’t throw myself all the way back down to the bottom.

    I have a choice – I can face my stuff or stuff my face.

Comments are closed.