Attractive Anonymity

When I remember my early days of OA recovery, I think of the ways I practiced Tradition Eleven.

Living in a small town, I found it difficult to maintain anonymity. At first, I did not want anyone to know I was a member of OA. My meeting took place in the church I attended, so I felt somewhat uncomfortable. Later, I helped the members find another meeting space.

Then there was the challenge of finding ways to attract others to the meeting. Another member and I contacted the local newspaper and found a reporter willing to interview us without using our real names. The article she wrote gave personal accounts in detail and included basic information about OA and the local meeting location. We were very pleased with the result, and it did attract some new members.

I was surprised when an OA member told a nonmember about my ties to OA. First of all, I did not like having my OA membership disclosed. But worse, the nonmember insisted I tell her more about the meeting.

“You are in charge of OA,” she said.

I was in her house where she was entertaining other women and the conversation was causing others to wonder whatI was doing. I wanted to be sure they did not misunderstand and believe me to be an expert who made all the OA decisions. Fortunately, another woman suggested we talk about it later.

When I attended my next OA meeting, another member made an amends, saying it was she who had told the hostess about my OA membership. The meetings continued without any other embarrassment, but it made me see that anonymity is vital to our recovery.

Overeaters Anonymous has changed my life, and I continue to use the media for attraction without sharing personal information. I want to let others know about special events like Unity Day or a Tradition workshop. I can stay anonymous, and that brings a sense of humility.

Our meetings are still going after thirty years, and I have maintained my anonymity along with my serenity. There are people who have never seen me with the 60 pounds (27 kg) of added weight that I carried in 1985. When I choose to share my OA membership, people say, “You don’t look like you need to be in OA.” I reply, “I have stayed in the meetings so I can continue to know recovery.”

I can be an attraction because I remember how anonymity works.

~ Anonymous, Oregon USA

No One Answer

“I really believe that the solution to most of the problems that confront us today is to be found in growth, individually and as a whole. There will always be some who think that since a particular thing has worked for them, it is the ONLY way. Taking into account the personality that most of us had when we began, this is not too surprising. As long as our unity is based only on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, and each of us practice them to the best of our ability, differences and controversies will be handled by our Higher Power” (Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, p. 155).

Almost sixteen years after my first meeting, I read the history of OA in Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. The book had been sitting on my shelf ever since I won a basket of literature many years ago. I don’t know why I didn’t read it before, but now I am grateful to understand how this program came to be and how it evolved during its early years.

After a discussion at Conference about eating plans, OA’s first board chair, A.G., wrote a letter to the other trustees, from which the quote above is taken. Conference discussions were sometimes heated; there were strong opinions about whether OA should produce and impose a definitive eating plan. As I read about the opposing views, I felt fear, hope, anxiety, and faith. When I came to A.G.’s letter, I felt relief. I realized OA doesn’t answer to any one member, group, or eating plan. OA answers only to the collective Fellowship through a group conscience.

I plan to share the relief I feel with as many people as I can. I want others to have faith that no matter the disagreement, together we will find an agreed-upon outcome by practicing the Principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.

Perhaps I was not meant to read Beyond Our Wildest Dreams until now. You see, I am the person A.G. describes. When I first got abstinent, I believed OA members not using a food plan like mine were not abstinent. Members who were not working the Steps the way I was were just “dry drunks.” It took many years to open my mind to the possibility that someone may work the program differently and still be abstinent.

The gratitude I feel for our founders and original OA members, and for all members who have sacriced their time to serve OA, is beyond description.

I ask simply this: As you serve one another, practice the Principles, and evolve in your opinions, please consider A.G.’s statement. Remember no one person has all the answers for this lifesaving program. If we don’t respect, accept, and understand each other, we will divide and die. I pray that we can stay united, no matter what!

~ Jessica M., Shillington, Pennsylvania USA

The many ways to contribute to OA

There’s a new podcast series for 2016 centered on “Service and My Recovery.” In addition to the Steps and Traditions, each podcast explores one of the Twelve Concepts of OA Service.

Podcasts are available at any time and at no charge, so follow this series to become more familiar with the Concepts and to learn the many ways service can boost your program and strengthen your recovery.

Principles of Tradition Seven –Responsibility, and Concept Seven – Balance

Listen to the podcast here.

“Every OA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” – Tradition Seven

“The Board of Trustees has legal rights and responsibilities accorded to them by OA Bylaws, Subpart A; the rights and responsibilities of the World Service Business Conference are accorded to it by Tradition and by OA Bylaws, Subpart B.”– Concept Seven

The principle of Tradition Seven is Responsibility and Concept Seven is Balance.  The workshop speakers share their individual stories of recovery and how responsibility and balance are important in both their service work and in their lives.

For additional study, review The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous and The Twelve Concepts of OA Service.

The 2016 podcasts are produced from recordings of monthly virtual workshops held on the second Sunday of every month, and OA members can also participate in the virtual workshops before new podcasts are released. See the Datebook Calendar on oa.org for the complete schedule of telephone workshops and dial-in instructions.

Previous podcasts in this series include –

Tradition One – United We Stand
Tradition Two – Who’s in Charge?
Tradition Three – All together now we are reaching out our hands
Tradition Four – There are no musts…but is it good for OA as a whole?
Tradition Five – Always to extend the heart and hand of OA
Tradition Six – Keeping Our Meetings Focused on the Primary Purpose


2015 Workshop Series

If you need help working the Twelve Steps, check out last year’s “Working All Twelve Steps” podcast series. Each podcast focuses on one of the Twelve Steps.

Keeping our meetings focused on the primary purpose

There’s a new podcast series for 2016 centered on “Service and My Recovery.” In addition to the Steps and Traditions, each podcast explores one of the Twelve Concepts of OA Service. Podcasts are available at any time and at no charge, so follow this series to become more familiar with the Concepts and to learn the many ways service can boost your program and strengthen your recovery.

Principles of Tradition Six –Solidarity, and Concept Six – Responsibility

Listen to the podcast here.

“An OA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the OA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.” – Tradition Six

“The World Service Business Conference has entrusted the Board of Trustees with the primary responsibility for the administration of Overeaters Anonymous.”– Concept Six

Tradition Six is Solidarity and Concept Six is Responsibility.  The workshop speakers share their individual stories of recovery and how solidarity and responsibility are important in both their service work and in their lives.

For additional study, review The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous and The Twelve Concepts of OA Service.

The 2016 podcasts are produced from recordings of monthly virtual workshops held on the second Sunday of every month, and OA members can also participate in the virtual workshops before new podcasts are released. See the Datebook Calendar on oa.org for the complete schedule of telephone workshops and dial-in instructions.

Previous podcasts in this series include –

Tradition One – United We Stand
Tradition Two – Who’s in Charge?
Tradition Three – All together now we are reaching out our hands
Tradition Four – There are no musts…but is it good for OA as a whole?
Tradition Five – Always to extend the heart and hand of OA


2015 Workshop Series

If you need help working the Twelve Steps, check out last year’s “Working All Twelve Steps” podcast series. Each podcast focuses on one of the Twelve Steps.

Tradition Five – Always to extend the heart and hand of OA

There’s a new podcast series for 2016 centered on “Service and My Recovery.” In addition to the Steps and Traditions, each podcast explores one of the Twelve Concepts of OA Service. Podcasts are available at any time and at no charge, so follow this series to become more familiar with the Concepts and to learn the many ways service can boost your program and strengthen your recovery.

Principles of Tradition Five – Purpose, and Concept Five – Consideration

Listen to the podcast here.

“Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.” – Tradition Five

“Individuals have the right of appeal and petition in order to ensure that their opinions and personal grievances will be carefully considered.”– Concept Five

The principle of Tradition Five is Purpose and Concept Five is Consideration. The workshop speakers share their individual stories of recovery and how purpose and consideration are important in both their service work and in their lives. For additional study, review The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous and The Twelve Concepts of OA Service.

The 2016 podcasts are produced from recordings of monthly virtual workshops held on the second Sunday of every month, and OA members can also participate in the virtual workshops before new podcasts are released. See the Datebook Calendar on oa.org for the complete schedule of telephone workshops and dial-in instructions.

Previous podcasts in this series include –

Tradition One – United We Stand
Tradition Two – Who’s in Charge?
Tradition Three – All together now we are reaching out our hands
Tradition Four – There are no musts…but is it good for OA as a whole?


2015 Workshop Series

If you need help working the Twelve Steps, check out last year’s “Working All Twelve Steps” podcast series. Each podcast focuses on one of the Twelve Steps.

Tradition Four – There are no musts…but is it good for OA as a whole?

There’s a new podcast series for 2016 centered on “Service and My Recovery.” In addition to the Steps and Traditions, each podcast explores one of the Twelve Concepts of OA Service. Podcasts are available at any time and at no charge, so follow this series to become more familiar with the Concepts and to learn the many ways service can boost your program and strengthen your recovery.

Principles of Tradition Four – Autonomy, and Concept Four – Equality

Listen to the podcast here.

“Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or OA as a whole.” – Tradition Four

“The right of participation ensures equality of opportunity for all in the decision—making process.”– Concept Four

The principle of Tradition Four is Autonomy and Concept Four is Equality. The workshop speakers share their individual stories of recovery and how autonomy and equality are important in both their service work and in their lives. For additional study, review The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous and The Twelve Concepts of OA Service.

The 2016 podcasts are produced from recordings of monthly virtual workshops held on the second Sunday of every month, and OA members can also participate in the virtual workshops before new podcasts are released. See the Datebook Calendar on oa.org for the complete schedule of telephone workshops and dial-in instructions.

Previous podcasts in this series include –

Tradition One – United We Stand
Tradition Two – Who’s in Charge?
Tradition Three – All together now we are reaching out our hands


2015 Workshop Series

If you need help working the Twelve Steps, check out last year’s “Working All Twelve Steps” podcast series. Each podcast focuses on one of the Twelve Steps.

Tradition Three – All together now we are reaching out our hands

There’s a new podcast series for 2016 centered on “Service and My Recovery.” In addition to the Steps and Traditions, each podcast explores one of the Twelve Concepts of OA Service. Podcasts are available at any time and at no charge, so follow this series to become more familiar with the Concepts and to learn the many ways service can boost your program and strengthen your recovery.

Principles of Tradition Three – identity, and Concept Two – trust

Listen to the podcast here.

“The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively – Tradition Three

“The right of decision, based on trust, makes effective leadership possible.” – Concept Three

The principle of Tradition Three is identiy and Concept Three is trust.  The workshop speakers share their individual stories of recovery and how idenity and trust are important in both their service work and in their lives. For additional study, review The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous andThe Twelve Concepts of OA Service.  The Lifeline Sampler is referenced by one of the speakers as a resource on this topic as well.

The 2016 podcasts are produced from recordings of monthly virtual workshops held on the second Sunday of every month, and OA members can also participate in the virtual workshops before new podcasts are released. See the Datebook Calendar on oa.org for the complete schedule of telephone workshops and dial-in instructions.

Previous podcasts in this series include –

Tradition One – United We Stand
Tradition Two – Who’s in Charge?


2015 Workshop Series

If you need help working the Twelve Steps, check out last year’s “Working All Twelve Steps” podcast series. Each podcast focuses on one of the Twelve Steps.