H.O.W. started in 1979 in Phoenix, Arizona. It involved the coming together of two people, Fred S. and Helaine, who decided there was a need for structure and discipline in recovery from food addiction.

The program did not take off until it appeared on the front page of the society section of the Arizona Gazette. Following that publication the program expanded.

Terry C. happened upon the program in 1981 and brought it back to Lafayette, Indiana. Fred S. then moved to New York State and started H.O.W there. The Evanston Group outside Chicago, Illinois was started about this time, but it was in 1984 that H.O.W. got its greatest boost when Rae Z. opened the first H.O.W. meeting in Southern California. Rae had been sponsored long distance by Fred S. She had been in H.O.W. meetings in Evanston, Illinois.

Fred moved to Florida in 1983 and established the first H.O.W. meetings in Naples. Individuals who experienced these meetings took the H.O.W. idea to New Jersey, upstate New York, Michigan and points North and West.  There are CEA-HOW meetings outside the United States.

It is important to note that all CEA-HOW groups are sugar and flour abstinent and committed to weighing and measuring their food.

The CEA-HOW program of today should really be dubbed “the Arizona Grey Sheet” since its roots can be traced back to the Southwest.

July of 1984 Rae Z.  opened the first OA-H.O.W. meeting in her home, located in Santa Fe Springs, California.
January 4, 1985 the meeting was too big and was moved to then Coast Saving & Loan in Downey, California.

On November 14, 1986 the Southern California OA-HOW Intergroup was formed, operating out of Rae Z’s home in Santa Fe Springs, California.

The Intergroup office was opened in November 1, 1987 in Santa Fe Springs, California. It occupied only one(1) room at that time. The entire suite was leased on September 1, 1989.

In 1996 the HOW Concept meetings separated from the older fellowship with which they had been affiliated and these groups continued to meet independent of a larger fellowship while in the process of formally incorporating as Compulsive Eaters Anonymous – HOW, thus ensuring the continuation of their work in the HOW recovery program.  In 1998, they incorporated as a world-wide association to carry the message of recovery from compulsive eating.

In October of 1999 the Compulsive Eaters Anonymous-HOW World Service Office was opened for business in Long Beach, CA.  In April 2012, the World Service Office moved to 3371 Glendale Boulevard, Suite 104, Los Angeles, CA 90039.

With the formation of Compulsive Eaters Anonymous-HOW, Inc., the idea conceived by Father Dowling in the early 1960s reached fruition in a program based on a spiritual leap preceded by abstinence from the addictive substances (i.e. sugar and flour and quantity).

CEA-HOW opens wide its arms to welcome those who suffer this addiction and in Forever Abstinent, which has the complete program of recovery, we hope to lay out and explain why we do what we do, and why some of it is strictly from experience and some of it follows a logic that comes from those of us who have tried over and over again to get abstinent and recover.