What Is Food Addicts Anonymous?

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Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA) is a community of people who come together for support and encouragement as they work to recover from food addiction. Members commit to sharing their experiences, supporting others, and providing hope for fellow members. 

According to their website, the FAA organization and its members believe that food addiction is a “biochemical disorder that occurs at a cellular level and therefore cannot be cured by willpower or therapy alone.” The primary purpose of FAA is to stay abstinent and help other food addicts to achieve abstinence. 

Founded in 1987, the FAA approach is based on the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which focuses on physical, emotional, and spiritual elements. Through the use of the Twelve Steps, FAA believes you can manage food addiction by abstaining from or eliminating addictive foods. They also ask members to follow a specific food plan and work the Twelve Steps of the program. 

How to Access Food Addicts Anonymous

Meetings are the foundation of FAA. During this time, members share, support, and learn about food addiction and how it impacts their life. FAA offers meetings in several different formats.

Face-to-Face Meetings

Face-to-face sessions take place in several states and other countries. To find a face-to-face meeting location near you, visit the meeting location page on the FAA website. 

Virtual Meetings

Virtual video meetings are available via the FAA app. You can download the app on your computer or mobile device. These meetings are for people interested in recovering from food addiction. The FAA virtual meetings are similar to face-to-face meetings. The purpose is to create a community, get to know each other, and carry the message to newcomers or returning food addicts.

Topics covered in virtual meetings include FAA step study, breaking the isolation, recovering one day at a time, FAA newcomers steps 1-3 and many more. To access this platform, visit the FAA virtual meetings page.

Email Meetings

FAA loop meetings occur online 24/7. It is an email meeting located on the Google groups website. You will need permission to access the group. Each week, they cover a different topic and members can reply to the topic. 

Phone Meetings

Phone meetings are available to anyone in the world. They are organized and run by independent groups or individuals. Meetings are offered most days of the week at various times during the day. Each phone call covers a specific topic. Some of the current topics include prevention and recovery from relapse, FAA literature, working the program together, twelve steps, food for the soul, and individual steps.

The phone meeting page on the FAA website has all the information about available days, times, and topic that will be covered in the call. It also lists the phone number and instructions on how to call. 

FAA also puts on special events and conventions. For example, they have Marathon Phone Meetings open to all members that last several hours. Typically, these events take place on holidays such as Christmas and other specified days. Phone meetings are accessible from areas of the United States and other countries. 

How Does Food Addicts Anonymous Work? 

FAA is based on the Twelve-Step Fellowship that encourages recovering from food addiction one day at a time. They are not affiliated with any treatment facilities, specific diet or weight loss programs, or religious organizations.

According to the FAA website, food addiction “manifests itself in the uncontrollable craving for excess food that follows the ingestion of refined carbohydrates, primarily sugar and flour substances that are quickly metabolized and turned into sugar in the bloodstream. Due to those uncontrollable cravings, a food addict's quality of life deteriorates when he or she eats sugar, flour, or wheat. It can deteriorate physically, emotionally, socially, and/or spiritually.”

With that in mind, they say food addiction falls into four symptom categories, including physical, emotional, social, spiritual. Meeting times are used to discuss these symptoms and ways to recover. 

In addition to meetings, FAA provides members with tools of recovery meant to supplement meetings. These include abstinence, FAA food plan, sponsorship, FAA service opportunities FAA’s Twelve Steps, FAA’s Twelve Traditions, and FAA’s promise.

  • Abstinence: One of the key tools is abstinence. FAA recommends members avoid foods that contain sugar, flour, or wheat. 
  • FAA Food Plan: To help members with abstinence, FAA offers a food plan designed to be a guide for food addiction. They state that it is not meant as a diet, but a lifestyle change that works when combined with the support of membership and following the FAA steps to recovery. This food plan is very structured and asks members to eliminate certain foods. It also suggests weighing and measuring all food. These guidelines could be triggers for someone with an eating disorder. Make sure to talk to your doctor or a mental health expert before you begin this food plan. 
  • Sponsorship: FAA asks recovering food addicts to become sponsors for another food addict or sponsee. Sponsors help newcomers learn the program, understand the food plan, and provide support and encouragement. 
  • Service: Service to the group can happen through volunteer commitments on various FAA boards or committees. 
  • FAA’s Twelve Steps: FAA members are asked to work through the FAA Steps to Recovery using the 12 Steps
  • FAA’s Twelve Traditions: These are traditions that guide member relationships inside and outside of fellowship. 
  • FAA’s Promises: This list of promises is the foundation to meetings and personal recovery. 

Potential Pitfalls of Food Addicts Anonymous

FAA is not the right fit for everyone. It’s important that you read through all of the material online before attending a meeting. Since meetings are led by a volunteer, there is not enough support for anyone needing higher-level care, as you would find in a support group led by a mental health therapist.

FAA believes food addiction cannot be treated through willpower or therapy alone. If you are currently in therapy with a mental health expert, this is something you should discuss with them.

FAA is based on the Twelve-Step model, so talk of God or a higher power does weave its way into meetings. The program relies on your ability to discuss personal details in a group setting. It also depends upon the strength of sponsorship, which may not be a healthy relationship for people who are co-dependent. If any parts of the Twelve-Step model are not a good fit for you, the program may not work. 

And finally, the rigid FAA food plan is not right for everyone. If you have an eating disorder or in recovery from an eating disorder, talk to your doctor or treatment team before committing to FAA. 

2 Sources
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  1. Food Addicts Anonymous. What Is FAA?.

  2. Food Addicts Anonymous. Are you a food addict?.

By Sara Lindberg, M.Ed
Sara Lindberg, M.Ed., is a freelance writer focusing on mental health, fitness, nutrition, and parenting.