1st Quarter 2018 – Vol. 5
“OA Virtual News” is the quarterly newsletter of the Virtual Service Conference Committee of Overeaters Anonymous. The newsletter presents experiences and opinions of individual OA members and is not to be attributed to Overeaters Anonymous as a whole, nor does publication of any article imply endorsement by Overeaters Anonymous or by the VSCC. Comments, suggestions, and articles sharing your personal experience, strength, and hope of recovery in the OA fellowship are encouraged. Articles submitted will not be returned and are subject to editing for clarity, brevity and anonymity.
New Year’s Solutions Not Resolutions
My name is Dora, a compulsive eater in recovery! Thank God, because I am abstinent for more than 7 years and this can be my 8th year that I can think: the parties are coming, a New Year is arriving, and I don`t need to make any New Year’s Resolutions! I have OA. I don`t need to open my refrigerator to look for direction in my life in this New Year—I have OA.
And how do I work my program during the party season? I do the same thing every day, one day at a time, the same as I began when I arrived! And I love remembering that, when it’s the holidays and I have more free time to work my program! I can read more, I can write, pray, I can go to a virtual meeting! There are lots of virtual meetings every day! I believe that I need meetings, although just for today I am serene with the food.
During these years in OA I could go to USA as a tourist and I kept my abstinence because I remembered that my disease keeps coming back too and every day I need to do the things that helped me to arrive here. Of course that during these days I won’t make an appointment like a business meeting at night, but maybe I will give service going to or moderating a meeting! I can give service sharing my daily miracle that happens every day!
During these seven years in OA my father passed away and I was abstinent with my OA friends and my program, I could have lots of difficulties and my disease told me: you don`t have time… But I need to make as much time for my recovery as I had made time for my disease for many years.
I understand that my resolutions for the New Year are the same that I want for today and for every day: I plan freedom from compulsive eating, work the tools, go to meetings, and talk with my sponsor and sponsees. If I do this every day I will receive the best gifts: abstinence, spiritual and emotional recovery. I believe: It works, if I work it!
See you in a meeting!
Dora P., Delegate Co-Chair – Virtual Services Conference Committee
Strengthen Your Program with Virtual Meetings!
As winter approaches, many of us in northern areas are faced with the possibility of bad weather or illness keeping us at home instead of attending our regular face-to-face meetings. Or maybe holiday time has you needing an extra meeting to reinforce the program message in the face of parties and treat platters. Whenever you need them, virtual meetings are there. Go to www.oa.org and look under find a meeting and you will find phone meetings and online meetings at all hours of the day and night. Remember that OA is a worldwide program so even if it is the middle of the night where you are, there is a meeting somewhere that you can connect with. Having an international phone plan or smartphone app can help with foreign country calls.
One suggestion if you attend phone meetings is to keep a pen and paper with you to write down names and phone numbers of speakers and any announcements of interest. Jot down anything you hear that you want to remember like slogans or useful ideas or something you want to talk to the speaker about. When you have a list of contacts in different time zones you can make phone calls and with your meeting notes you have something to talk to people about for example, “I liked what you said about Step Three on the meeting last night.” In this way, you can practice 3 of 9 tools of the program (meetings, telephone, and writing).
Virtual meetings are a great way to practice OA unity, too. People in areas we may never visit in person can become friends and share ideas beyond physical boundaries. By sharing ideas, we can expand what works in one area to others and strengthen OA as we strengthen our program through virtual meetings.
Jean B., Mass Bay Intergroup
As I read the messages of other group members, I knew there was a need for those of us who have lost or need to lose 100+ pounds. I understand, as a 100-pounder, how daunting it can be to need to lose so much. So, I created a closed group for this purpose and invited others to join. My group became a portal for OA resources, encouraging members to go to meetings; reading literature; getting sponsors; a place for sharing struggles 24/7; 100-pounder OA resources; as well as getting feedback from others.In 2014, I knew I needed help; I was so broken and sick on all three levels: emotionally, physically and spiritually. A professional I was seeing at the time, encouraged me to go back to OA, to get group support. I was too embarrassed to go back to local meetings. Then, one day I had an epiphany, I looked on Facebook for other OA members for support. These social groups got me back into OA face-to-face meetings, phone meetings, online meetings, and ultimately I have become a recovering compulsive overeater, one day at a time on December 5, 2014.
Non-real time groups are definitely different than real-time. But, they are so beneficial. Members who live in rural areas or areas where there are no meetings can get the support they need. Members can come to group and share any time of day, 24/7 in any and all time zones. Their posts are protected. Only other members can see what they have posted providing anonymity. They can often get immediate support especially, late at night—a prime compulsive eating time. Recovering members can share their experience, strength and hope with newcomers on a daily basis. I often talk to others around the USA and the world. I have chatted with those on the east coast, Canada, England and Australia. It is amazing how we can connect over continents. It’s a beautiful way to work Step 11.
In 2016, I wanted to register my group with OA, and was encouraged to be active and the day may come that “non-real-time” groups would be recognized for the support they can provide. I left it to my Higher Power and this year, groups are being recognized and we now have two official groups holding meetings. As an administrator of the group “OA (Overeaters Anonymous) 100-Pounders Meeting #99033” it has been an honor to officiate a group. Currently we have 1,702 members. One hundred and eighty-one (181) of these have joined since we became official on October 19, 2017. My duties are simple. I add new members; maintain a Welcome Message and Posting Guidelines (12 Traditions); post weekly topic threads for discussion and ensure members are in a safe environment from outside interests or bullying. My group is new and I will be asking others to help me monitor the group. It’s my goal for this to be “our” group, not “my” group.
The best moments of being an administrator that touch my heart are return messages that say: “thank you,” “thank you for your service,” or “thank you I needed to hear that.”
Debbie C., Northern California, USA
SPECIAL TOPICS FOR ONLINE MEETINGS
Here we present a study of the various special topics in virtual and phone meetings around the world generated from data from the World Service Office. Phone meetings have many literature studies with 29.36% Big Book and more than 30% of various OA literature studies, while online meetings have fewer special topics Step & Tradition Studies are a total of 11%. There are also meetings with more than one special topic.
Dora P. Delegate Co-Chair, VSCC
Below are the statistics for the various special focuses for the Virtual, Phone and Non-Real-Time Meetings around the world.
It was interesting that there few meetings for young people, some meetings have more than one special focus, while most have no special focus. We have Non-Real-Time Meetings too!
Dora P. Delegate Co-Chair, VSCC
Now we have listings for Non-Real-Time Meetings on oa.org: https://oa.org/find-a-meeting/?type=5
At the moment we have 29 registered Non-Real-Time Meetings. Though most of these meetings don’t have a special focus, maybe we can help you find what you are seeking!
Dora P. Delegate Co-Chair, VSCC
NOTE: Special topics are what people discuss on the meeting (like Big Book or 12 steps) while special focus refers to subgroup meeting intended for (like young people, gay/lesbian, 100-pounders) though as an OA meeting anyone may attend
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Why form a Virtual Service Board?
- Virtual Service Boards allow virtual groups to have a voice and a vote in what happens to OA as a whole by attending the World Service Business Conference (WSBC)
- Send motions to WSBC
- Set up website presence ·Member phone list
- Moderator training
- Communication – Keep WSO current about meetings and act as liaison to WSO
- Let people know your meeting exists with bulletin boards / community calendars / newspapers
- Sponsor and arrange workshops, marathons, and other special events
- Deal with common problems
- Help to create and support a newsletter
- Allow the Fellowship as a whole to see that members of virtual meetings have strong recovery and are a part of Overeaters Anonymous
OA VIRTUAL SERVICES BOARDS
The OA Responsibility Pledge: “Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion; for this, I am responsible.