Principles of Recovery

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Below is a list of Principles of Recovery by ACORN Food Dependency and Recovery Services.


  • If you already have a food plan that works, i.e. one on which you have been abstinent 30 continuous days without cravings, don’t change it.
  • If you need a food plan, find a person with strong abstinence and ask them to be your sponsor. Begin with the food plan your sponsor uses, or try the ACORN Healthy Eating Plan.
  • Identify and eliminate all binge foods and any food that triggers bingeing, purging or restricting. You may need help from other food addicts to do this.
  • If you binge on almost any food, or if you tend to overeat or under-eat food, or if you have trouble estimating portions, then weigh and measure your food. (If you are primarily anorexic and your condition is advanced, surrender to having someone else make your meals and/or decide each meal what and how much you should eat.)
  • Make sure your food plan provides overall nutritional balance by consulting with a doctor, dietitian or eating disorders specialist about nutritional balance.
  • Put down unhealthy eating behaviors, e.g., diet pills, skipping meals, fasting, vomiting, eating while driving, grazing between meals, eating in front of the TV, using laxatives, and eating too fast or too slow.
  • Don’t make a decision about what a normal weight will be for you alone; surrender to consulting a health professional and/or someone with strong recovery; let them decide.
  • Do not make decisions about food alone. Check your food plan and any changes you want to make in it with an abstinent food addict whose recovery you trust (ideally, your sponsor), and/or a health professional with success helping food addicts.
  • As with other chemical dependencies, the first principle of food addiction recovery is “abstinence first, absolutely.”

©Philip R. Werdell, 1995
Revised 2009, with A.E. Heald.