March 2011

To the Fellowship of CEA-HOW,

Our recovery in CEA-HOW is three-fold… physical, emotional, and spiritual. By surrendering and working all 12 Steps and The Seven Tools of CEA-HOW, we achieve relief from our obsession with food. When World Service or an Intergroup receives a food-related question, the concern arises that such questions are diverting us from our primary purpose, which is to abstain from compulsive eating and to carry the message of recovery to those who still suffer.  We are concerned that, by addressing what are sometimes basic questions about food, we are reinforcing the obsession with food rather than assisting you in looking at all aspects of recovery.

  • Forever Abstinent (Rev. July 2012) sets out the guidelines of our food plan. We follow our food plan with the guidance of our sponsor.
  • When a food question arises, the first source of information is always Forever Abstinent and the ingredient list on the product or a query to the manufacturer. The results of this research are discussed with our sponsor.
  • Sponsors may wish to check with their sponsors, on up the chain. Sponsors share their experiences and usually the answer from a sponsor with long-term abstinence is, “when in doubt, leave it ”
  • A decision is reached between the sponsor and sponsee based on Forever Abstinent and a spirit of abstinence.

Majority experience suggests that if we are too intent upon a certain food that we and/or our sponsor finds questionable, we are better off to eliminate it. If we ask “why?” we are generally not looking for an answer but for a WSO Board of Directors debate or for permission to do it our way.

If a question arises regarding our abstinence and a religious practice or medical need, we follow the Traditions, specifically, Tradition 10. Thus we have no comment on questions concerning religion, politics, economics, finances, or medical or psychiatric issues. Input from an appropriate authority (e.g., religious leader, medical doctor, psychiatrist/psychologist) can be sought and, based upon this information, a decision can be made with the guidance of our sponsor and Forever Abstinent. 

Neither World Service nor our local service bodies are the ultimate authority on abstinence. As members of a 12- Step Program, “…there is but one ultimate authority, a loving God ….” who grants us the spirit of abstinence.

We are each responsible for our own abstinence and for our own recovery. Our abstinence is between us, our sponsor, Forever Abstinent, and our Higher Power.  Our recovery is a mutual gift between us and our Higher Power.

In Service and Unity,

Compulsive Eaters Anonymous-HOW, Inc.