Sobriety in Addictive Eaters Anonymous (AEA) is freedom from addictive eating and all mind-altering substances. As a result of sobriety, AEA members have found recovery from binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, other forms of addictive eating and compulsive exercise. Through sobriety, members find peace of mind and the ability to live a meaningful and productive life.
Many of us who come to AEA are using mind-altering substances, including alcohol, drugs, prescribed or over the counter medication. It did not occur to us that our use of other substances may be a manifestation of the disease of addiction. We had not considered that we might be addicted to substances other than food. Others of us found that even though we might not be using a substance addictively, we have often used substances to change the way we feel.
This may seem surprising to newcomers who believe they only have a problem with food. Over time we have come to realise that food is a symptom of a wider problem, the disease of addiction. We have found that addiction can switch from one substance to another, and that addressing all aspects of addiction is essential in finding freedom from addictive eating.
It is our experience that freedom from addictive eating necessitates freedom from all mind-altering substances. By listening to members share how they achieved sobriety by living the programme as a way of life, newcomers learn how to do the same. We know from our own experience that the decision to achieve sobriety must be an individual choice. The programme is one of attraction, not promotion, and cannot be imposed on anyone. Individuals must decide for themselves that sobriety is something they really want. For many of us achieving sobriety takes time and does not necessarily happen overnight. AEA recognises that the use of medication may be necessary at times. Any cessation of prescribed medication must be undertaken under the care of an informed physician.
Sobriety in AEA occurs as a result of working the Twelve Steps (adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous) with a sponsor, finding a Higher Power, attending regular AEA meetings, helping others and carrying the AEA message.
At the heart of the AEA programme is the spiritual concept of surrender. Living the programme as a way of life by working the Twelve Steps of AEA is fundamental to achieving sobriety.