How much is too much?

How much time do you think a member should dedicate to service and to Step work in order to be healthy and balanced? How do I know when I exaggerate leaving behind my family, my friends, my work, my exercise?


Thank you for your question about balance and healthy service.

What healthy and balanced service looks like for each OA members is personal and depends on individual circumstances and how the service impacts life’s manageability.

Tradition 4 reminds us of the importance of striking a healthy balance between responsibility to ourselves and our responsibility to each other.

My first and best service was to get and stay abstinent. I must keep my abstinence first in all things or I will lose what I love and the gifts I’ve been given. Doing what I need to do regarding Plan of Eating and working the Steps to keep spiritually fit is my first priority.

After that I look to things that support my recovery like sponsoring and doing service at my meetings. I have been taught that if I want to keep what I’ve been given I need to give to away.

Your question suggests you may feel like you are an under doer or an over doer when it comes to service. Having a Service Action Plan and talking it over with a sponsor who knows your recovery, family and work life may be helpful to set a sane and sound ideal for service. If your service commitments are making your life or that of the people who rely on you unmanageable perhaps it is time to try something different. If you have time in your life to give more, ask for the support of your family/friends, letting them know that you are taking their needs into consideration, then volunteer for something that fits your availability.

OA’s Responsibility Pledge states “Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion; for this I am responsible.” There are many ways large and small that an OA member can do that. I’m sure if you look within and ask for help, you will find the healthy, balanced service that suits you and your personal situation.

~ 2015 Ask-it-Basket