2018 VS News 2nd Quarter-Vol. 6



2nd Quarter 2018 – Vol. 6Virtual Service at WSBC

Virtual Service at WSBC

This will be my last World Service Business Conference as a voting delegate. I remember the first time I attended as a delegate, nearly twelve years ago.
We will be electing a new Virtual Services Trustee at the World Service Business Conference, the week of April 22nd. I’ve had the honor and privilege of doing this service by appointment for OA and the virtual world for the last year.
I’ve watched OA’s slow but steady journey into virtual groups. An online meeting was actually held at conference ten years ago. We were able to participate by one delegate participating on our behalf. I watched skeptical delegates who believed that face-to-face meetings were the only way to achieve recovery.
The virtual services trustee job was born! In the beginning, the Region trustees served as the VST too. One trustee at a time was chosen to do VST as well as their regular duties.
In 2011, this became part of my duties, in addition to serving as Region 8 Trustee. Online meetings were exploding and soon more phone groups began springing up. I could see that we needed our own virtual trustee, instead of shared duties; just putting out fires was not helping our new community to grow. The delegates agreed and we elected our first VST the following year.
We continue to expand the virtual world with ‘non-real-time’ meetings and have a conference committee dedicated to helping virtual groups serve the fellowship.
Technology has passed this old dinosaur member by, so as we honor rotation of service, we will elect some fresh, innovative thinker to the virtual service trustee position.
I will miss serving OA as a delegate, and a trustee, and especially the camaraderie of the World Service Business Conference. Every morning, we start our day in a face-to-face meeting, with members from around the world with long term abstinence, a requirement for service at that level. Can you imagine the exquisite sharing? Oh, the laughter and international ESH will be something I will long remember.
I may come back as a volunteer to serve the delegates as a page or in some other capacity, because the conference is truly life-changing service. If you have never attended WSBC, I highly recommend that you consider it. And for those of you attending the 2018 conference, I’m looking forward to serving with you.
Gerri H., Virtual Services Trustee

“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.

Want to share your ‘virtual stories’ of experience, strength and hope or announce Virtual Events in OA Virtual News? Email oavscc@gmail.com Subscribe to OA Virtual News: http://www.oavirtualservices.org/newsletter-2


                   Giving Service at WSBC – A Dream Comes True

I am Dora, a grateful compulsive eater from Brazil who arrived at the doors of OA eight years ago (May, 2010) and I am abstinent since June, 2010 after my first virtual meeting, a miracle from OA. Yes, I have a 105 pounds weight loss and I keep coming back. I am going to my fifth WSBC and begin to feel happiness and lots of feelings about how blessed I am because I can give service as a delegate again.
I truly believe that I keep coming back because I am committed to service. The more I give service, the more I want to keep coming back to give more service. Service helps my recovery more than I help OA.
The conference doesn’t start there in Albuquerque in April; it starts some months before when the BOT chair sends a letter inviting us to the conference, or when the Virtual Services Conference Committee works. It begins when an intergroup or national/language board or Region elects their delegates and studies motions to help OA as a whole! In January, we receive the motions and suggested bylaws amendments and discuss with the service body if these motions will go to WSBC!
This year I am going to WSBC as my Virtual Services Board delegate and I am so happy because I was born again in 2010 when I arrived in these virtual meetings, I became abstinent attending these meetings and I keep coming back attending these meetings one day at a time. The last four years I went as my national board delegate and I was also a Region 8 delegate. I need the F2F meetings too. No matter if it is virtual or not, everything is OA and everyone is there to work to keep OA growing around the world. I love being there at the conference and seeing how delegates, Board of Trustees, and staff takes care of our fellowship with love and responsibility! It reminds me of the words from Dr. Bob: I give service because it is a pleasure! And it is about gratitude too! Sometimes I cry when I remember these words and when I remember that someone began OA and gave lots of service! I remembered how I was welcomed as a green dot (first time delegate) and all other years! Lots of love at the conference!!!! We are together from around the world!
I gave service as the delegate co-chair of the virtual services conference committee these last two years (a small committee with wonderful members). We don’t know what the group conscience of the WSBC will be. We don’t know if this committee will continue or if we will have a Virtual Region. What I know is that I want to give service to OA as a whole, and that I believe in recovery through virtual meetings. It is possible hear the message that saves my life in a virtual meeting and because OA saved my life, I want to give service.
Service brings me happiness and a new life, and WSBC reminds me: I am not alone.
Dora P., Delegate Co-Chair Virtual Services Conference Committee

Virtual Services and WSBC

This year (2018) the WSBC will be discussing motions that affect non-geographic (virtual) groups, and non-geographic (virtual) service boards and may vote to create a non-geographic (virtual) region.
To help better understand the evolution of virtual services through OA’s group conscience process (WSBC) a brief history is provided.
In 1999 the WSBC passed a continuing effects motion that online meetings may be courtesy listed without affiliation, but the listed groups must:
Take place in “real time”Be fully interactive and Fulfill the definition of an OA group as contained in Subpart B, Article V, Section 1 of the Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. Bylaws.
By 2004 the number of online courtesy listed meetings had grown enormously. These meetings served the needs of members who might otherwise not been able to attend an OA meeting. The WSBC voted to amend the continuing effects motion so that online meetings may be registered if they followed the guidelines mentioned above.
The following year (2005) the WSBC voted unanimously to expand the continuing effects motion to register telephone meetings.
In 2008 a motion was made to amend Bylaws Overeaters Anonymous, Inc., Subpart B, Article V – Overeaters Anonymous Groups, Section 1 – Definition. The WSBC adopted the definition and requirements for a virtual group underlined below.
Article V – Overeaters Anonymous Groups
Section 1 – Definition
a) These points shall define an Overeaters Anonymous group:
1) As a group, they meet to practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous.
2) All who have the desire to stop eating compulsively are welcome in the group.
3) No member is required to practice any actions in order to remain a member or to have a voice (share at a meeting).
4) As a group they have no affiliation other than Overeaters Anonymous.
b) Virtual groups (groups which replicate face-to-face meetings through electronic media) may be an Overeaters Anonymous group if they
1) otherwise meet the definition of Overeaters Anonymous groups;
2) are fully interactive; and
3) meet in “real time.
In the following years more OA members began to use email groups commonly called “loops” to support their recovery. “Loops” do not meet in “real time” so they did not fit the criteria listed in the 2008 Bylaw amendment. At the 2014 WSBC a continuing effects motion was adopted to allow email groups to be courtesy listed if they met the following criteria:
Email groups must comply with the definition of an Overeaters Anonymous group as per OA, Inc. Bylaws, Subpart B, Article V – Overeaters Anonymous group, Section 1 – Definition a) 1 – 4, and b) 1 – 2.
The topic and/or focus of the email group are consistent with those listed on www.oa.org for Overeaters Anonymous face-to-face and virtual groups.
New members must be informed of the loop’s policies, norms and practices.
Archives are to be deleted at least once a month unless the loop’s policies dictate otherwise.
Email groups are moderated to stay on topic.
The format of the email groups is structured similarly to a registered OA group. Postings to email groups are limited to the topic, the Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions, or the Twelve Concepts of OA Service. Feedback, crosstalk, and advice giving are discouraged.
Each email group will have a coordinator who registers the loop with an email service provider and a secretary who will liaise with the OA World Service Office.

2016 was a big year for virtual OA.
A policy Statement on Public Media was adopted that allowed OA members, groups, and service bodies to use social media for public information and public awareness. It stated that each of these is responsible for their anonymity and responsible to respect the anonymity of OA members when using social media.
A motion to establish a Virtual Services Conference Committee (VSCC) was adopted. The Statement of Purpose of the VSCC is:
To serve members, groups, and service boards within the virtual community,
To facilitate formation of VSBs and participation at WSBC,
To promote strong meetings and service at all levels and
To encourage 7th Tradition contributions.

OA, Inc. Bylaws, Subpart B, Article V – Overeaters Anonymous group amendment to remove the limitations set on virtual groups to be fully interactive and meet in real time so long as they meet all the other requirements in Section 1a, 1-5. A meeting is a meeting is a meeting… so long as:
As a group, they meet to practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, guided by the Twelve Concepts of OA Service
All who have the desire to stop eating compulsively are welcome in the group.
No member is required to practice any actions in order to remain a member or to have a voice (share at a meeting).
As a group they have no affiliation other than Overeaters Anonymous.
It has affiliated as an Overeaters Anonymous group by registering with the World Service Office.
What changes will the WSBC of 2018 bring to virtual OA?
Stephanie D., Florida, USA

Want to share your ‘virtual stories’ of experience, strength and hope or announce Virtual Events in OA Virtual News? Email oavscc@gmail.com Subscribe to OA Virtual News: http://www.oavirtualservices.org/newsletter-2


Becoming Virtual

When I first went to the World Service Business Conference, maybe 10-12 years ago, the Virtual World of OA was non-existent. The by-laws of OA did not recognize the Virtual World. When OA was first organized the Virtual World wasn’t heard of. But since that time so long ago OA has come to realize that the Virtual World is an integral part of OA and spreading the word to still suffering compulsive eaters.
I have watched our one Virtual Service Board develop into several. I have watched the World Service Business Conference give us our own Trustee. We now have our own conference committee. This year in April the delegates at the World Service Business Conference will be voting to allow the Virtual World to have its own region.
Since my first conference the Virtual World has come a long way. There are still changes to be made, but all in due time. I was very impatient when I started service in OA. I wanted all these changes to happen overnight. I could see the need. But after all these years I have discovered that in order to have the Virtual World evolve the way it has, takes time and an understanding that we are here to stay.
Judy 12step4coes Virtual Service Board


Addressing Cross Talk in Social Media Groups

The newly formed OA, non-real-time meetings on Facebook are flourishing. We have two new groups, making four groups available for recovery: Heart to Heart, 100 Pounders, The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and a new group from Australia. I’m really excited about this new format. Members are responding to literature studies and sharing their experience, strength, and hope. I am particularly grateful for the Twelve Step study group. I have been getting a lot of great feedback. One member let me know this group and their responses gave her a new perspective and understanding of Step 2.
Many members new to OA are having a hard time understanding our group policy discouraging cross talk and advice giving. These members are coming from “social media” groups where almost anything goes. However, with education about the Twelve Traditions, members are starting to love the idea and freedom of just posting their experience, strength, and hope.
What is cross talk? “Discouraging cross talk provides the freedom in OA to say what is difficult to express elsewhere. Shares not focusing on your own experience may constitute cross talk, including comments in support of or opinions in response to another person’s share. Such responses are not sharing your experience; they are offering your view of others in the room…” –Reprinted from Lifeline, Ask-It Basket, August 1999.
How to find these meetings? Go to OAs “Find-a-Meeting,” https://oa.org/find-a-meeting/?type=5
Debbie C., Northern California, USA


Conducting Virtual Group Conscience Meetings

One of the key features of an effective OA group is that it regularly makes its decisions through group consciences. As our Second Tradition states: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.”
Regular meetings help groups to address issues while they are still minor and before they become major issues. A monthly group conscience or business meeting can be viewed as a type of 10th Step inventory for the group. It examines whether all of the service jobs are filled, holds elections for new ones, hears the treasurer’s report, and considers any concerns that are raised. It helps to have a regular time set aside each month to hold a group conscience. Even if there are no obvious pressing items of business, it is important that members have the opportunity to raise concerns.
Taking a group conscience in a face-to-face meeting is a pretty simple affair. Often topics are announced in advance so that group members have time to reflect on the topic before the meeting. At the group conscience, the group secretary opens the discussion on the topic. Group members then share their perspectives on the issue. Some groups have a custom in which they first listen to a pro and then a con and continue to alternate between pros and cons. Some groups limit the total number of pros and cons or the total time for discussion. If needed, the secretary can help keep the discussion productive if it veers away from the topic or gets repetitive. If things get heated, pausing for a Serenity Prayer can really help.
Often a near unanimous consensus emerges. Even if there is no formal vote, it is easy to see that there is consensus by nodding of heads and facial expressions. If a formal vote is taken, it is easy to count the votes.
In principle, taking a group conscience for a virtual meeting is similar to taking a group conscience for a face-to-face meeting. The secretary or moderator announces the topics, moderates the discussion, and conducts a vote if needed. Indeed, technology can make the process even easier. Some virtual meetings have email lists or loops of members where business items can be discussed via email. In this way, items can be brought up, discussed, and reflected upon without the time pressure of a meeting that has to end soon. Votes can be taken either via email, or by using an online polling feature. For example, Yahoo and Facebook groups have a feature that gives the ability to poll group members.
However, virtual meetings present challenges as well for conducting a group conscience. With phone meetings, for example, it is often difficult to determine even how many people are participating in the meeting. How can the group tell if there is consensus when most of the callers on the phone are silent? Does the silence of some members on a topic indicate agreement? Or does it indicate that they are folding their laundry and not paying attention? Voting
There are many ways to take a vote with a telephone meeting. For the simplest motions where there appears to be a consensus, the secretary may just state the consensus and ask “Are there any objections?” After waiting for enough time to give people a chance to object, if there are no objections the secretary can declare the motion passed. If the group is not unanimous, then a vote is in order. One way to take the vote is to ask each person to speak up, give their name, and how they vote. In this way it is easy to count the votes. However, it can be time consuming and tedious if there are a large number of people at the meeting. It can also get confusing when several people try to speak their votes at the same time.
It may be simpler and quicker to use a phone meeting’s internet interface, if it has one. The telephone interface, also known as a dashboard, may have a facility for callers to raise their hand. This shows up on the dashboard, making it easy for anyone with access to the dashboard to count the votes. Meetings that don’t use a dashboard can use the moderator tools on their meeting phone system to get a headcount of attendees.
For example, on one phone service, when callers hit *5 on their handsets it raises and lowers hands on the dashboard. So, when it is time for a vote to be taken, the secretary restates the motion and says something like, “It is now time to vote. If you want to vote yes, please hit *5 to raise your hand to indicate your vote.”
Then after participants have had time to vote and the votes counted, the secretary announces, “Thank you for voting. Those of you who voted, please hit *5 to take your hand down.”
The dashboard operator may have to manually take down any hands remaining up.
Then the secretary announces “If you wish to vote no, please hit *5 to raise your hand.”
After the votes are counted, the secretary then announces the results.
Timing of Meetings
Opinions vary on the best time to hold a group conscience meeting. Some groups schedule time during a regular meeting. This maximizes the number of people who can attend and makes it easier for the whole group to be informed of the results. If the business is short, the group can get back to sharing. However, this does cut into sharing time, and may not leave enough time for the group to have a thorough discussion on important issues.
Other groups schedule group conscience meetings at a time different from the normal group meeting times. This permits enough time to discuss the issues thoroughly without reducing sharing time at the regular meeting. However, many group members may not be able to attend. There is no one right way, and under our Tradition Four of group autonomy, each group gets to decide for itself when and how it will conduct its business meetings.
More Information
For more information on holding business or group conscience meetings, check out the OA Group Handbook, available from the OA World Service Office http://bookstore.oa.org/.
Jim A., Virginia, USA

NEW!The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, SECOND EDITION

Updated and improved, OA’s keystone book—the OA Twelve and Twelve, Second Edition—is now available. Created specifically as a study of the OA Twelve Step recovery program, The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous has been revised for clarity and inclusivity—with a restructured Step Four chapter to increase usefulness. Read how, through working the Twelve Steps and studying the Twelve Traditions, members have found “physical, emotional, and spiritual healing that we don’t hesitate to call miraculous.” Visit the OA bookstore to order the new Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition (#990-2; #991-2 box of 25).


Virtual Seventh Traditions

“We have no expenses, so just give double at your next face-to-face meeting.”
Remember when the telephone meeting moderator used to say that? Well, it’s not true! Maybe that particular meeting didn’t have expenses, but OA does.
Many virtual meetings now have the means to deal with our seventh tradition and do need your contribution. The moderator will give the link when it is available. There are now many service boards (like virtual intergroups) that have formed to support meetings, delegates to world service and websites, so that members have all the information that face-to-face meetings enjoy.
There are also expenses for world service. We have staff, a huge warehouse, where your literature is stored and then shipped. The website, which was so state of the art just two years ago, really needs a revamping. We have no ‘apps’ for our phones. We have a virtual service trustee who incurs expenses when he/she heads to Albuquerque for quarterly board meetings.
There is also the delegate support fund. Your donation can be earmarked for this designated fund. Do you know that four delegates from virtual service boards will be funded to attend the 2018 World Service Business Conference? This is due to the generous contributions of members like you.
All this ‘stuff’ costs money!
How do you donate? During the announcements, moderators will tell you. Non-real-time meetings will post information periodically. Usually the contact person will be able to tell you more about the service board, if that meeting is affiliated. Write down their contact information and ask, if it is not stated.
When making contributions directly to OA, make sure you include your group number, so that your 7th tradition is credited to your group (https://oa.org/contribute). If you do not include a group number, your contribution will not be reflected in the virtual category. You also might want to consider a recurring contribution, which will automatically be charged to your credit card every month, so you don’t have to worry about remembering. That is what I do. I give as generously as I can.
OA has saved my life. I bet it has saved yours too. So, let’s make sure we are supporting the fellowship by our generosity through 7th Tradition.
Gerri H., Virtual Services Trustee

The OA Responsibility Pledge: “Always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion; for this, I am responsible.”




















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