3rd Quarter 2017 – Vol. 3
A Virtual Welcome!
Hello, I’m Gerri, a compulsive overeater, in recovery since May 15, 1993. I was recently appointed to serve this year as your Virtual Services Trustee. I am no stranger to service at the board level, and a long time user of virtual OA. In 2010, I was elected to serve Region 8 as their Trustee and then in 2013, became a General Service Trustee. One of my duties as a board member was virtual services, and I quickly saw that we needed a full time trustee to handle the growing needs of OA in online and phone meetings. We now have a dedicated trustee to represent our growing online presence at the world level! I am honored to serve once again in that capacity.
In 1998, a friend introduced me to online recovery, in particular the 100 pounder loop. Here I could read emails from fellow OA members who had, or needed to lose in excess of 100 pounds. I made fast, virtual friendships, and in 2000, was able to meet many of them at the World Convention in Dallas, TX. The internet expanded my OA recovery to worldwide!
Gerri, Virtual Services Trustee Living Virtually, USA
My Virtual OA ,My Real Recovery
This year I went to my fourth WSBC, it was different than previous WSBC because I was going to give service during the conference, I was delegate co-chair from WSBC virtual committee and I knew that lots of service was waiting for me in our lovely committee. But the best was waiting for me: the forum about diversity in recovery. I could share about my passion: virtual meetings and recovery attending these virtual meetings.
I was born in these meetings when I arrived in May, 2010 with 253 pounds and so sick. I was dying because I couldn’t stop eating and OA gave me hope and strength to a new life, and this happened in “my virtual meetings”.
I have given service in this virtual OA since 2010, first in these meetings, after as a committee chair here in Brazil, and to help in all services when someone needs me. I received from a friend these words: We are all called to service at many different levels at different times, and staying open is the key.
As delegate co-chair, I needed to prepare the reports and the agenda for our virtual conference committee meetings (that happens on Wednesday), but I wasn’t alone because the trustee co-chair worked with me and I could learn many things with her. Together we did the things, although I live in Brazil and speak Portuguese and Stephanie is in the USA and speaks English. Preparing for this meeting and the reports, I could understand that WSBC doesn’t begin on the first day; we need to work a lot before the conference.
During the conference I had the opportunity to chair my first conference meeting and I received a big help from Stephanie, our 2017 Virtual Service Trustee who was completing her term. I was afraid because English is not my first language, but everything was wonderful because our committee rocks! Last year was our first year as a conference committee and we had six non-delegate members, and this year this happened again. It was wonderful to know that we were only three delegates and one trustee, but we have six non-delegate members again and we could work on our website (www.oavirtualservices.org), our newsletter (OA Virtual News), and other projects that we are working on at this moment.
I am grateful because I needed to type the reports from our meeting (thanks to our dear new secretary!), and because I learned lots of things about how a conference committee works and our responsibilities! It is impossible to forget the many things that I learned in this conference.
During WSBC I brought two motions from Brazil. One was about Sponsorship Day and was approved. The other was important to virtual members but we didn’t have time enough to discuss it during WSBC. It was about VSBs affiliating with National boards in countries outside USA and Canada where we have National boards. This motion is about diversity in virtual OA, and about remembering that we have other countries where OA helps people!
I was elected delegate co-chair from conference virtual committee again (my second year) and I hope I can give lots of service again. It is a pleasure and helps my program.
Dora P., Delegate Co-Chair VSCC Brazil, South America
SERVICE—God’s Preparation and Rotation of Service
Service is the responsibility and reward for recovery through the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous.
During my 30+ years in OA I have had many service positions. I have loved every one of them and learned from them too. Service has taught me about myself, about human nature and addict behavior, about my weaknesses and assets, and about the importance of the 12 Traditions and kindness.
OA is not an eleven Step program. Early on I was taught if I want recovery I have to be fully committed and that includes working Step 12 aka doing service. It keeps me in the game and thinking about something other than myself. I always wanted to be “a part of” and never felt that way…. until service in OA.
TRUST… TRUST… TRUST… Once when I was afraid I was not good enough or ready to do the service I was asked to do, a trusted servant told me….” God doesn’t call the prepared; He prepares the called.” I also learned that just because I was willing didn’t mean I would be selected. I had to practice Trusting God, getting my head wrapped around not being vested in the outcome and being gracious no matter what the result.
ROTATE… ROTATE… ROTATE… When I get the “hang” of a job I think I’m the best person for that job forever and ever, Amen. But I was also taught about the importance of rotation of service. When members stay too long in a position it becomes stagnant and the opportunity for new blood is lost. Sometimes service junkies like me want to jump from one position to another within a service body to avoid the established limits, but as I study the Traditions I understand that this may be within the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law. Learning to let go and trust God to provide, has been part of my spiritual growth.
Stephanie D., non-delegate VSCC member Pinellas Traditions Intergroup, USA
My Experience at WSBC
As a member of this fellowship for many, many years, I only recently made the decision to assume responsibility as a delegate for my local intergroup. The 2017 World Service Business Conference in Albuquerque, NM was my first experience with this level of service.
The “All About Conference Workshop” provided a very comprehensive overview of what to expect at the business meetings and was extremely helpful in preparation of the Robert’s Rules format.
One of the outstanding highlights, for me, was the Wednesday morning “forum” which is planned by the Region Chairs. The theme, Amazing Recovery: Passport to Unity featured 20 “travelers” who went from table to table telling his/her story – each with a specific focus. This icebreaker was fun, interesting and informative. It emphasized how diverse our stories are, yet we are unified by our disease.
My assignment to the Virtual Services Conference Committee is timely, as I have been engaged with a phone meeting for just over a year now. As an old-timer, I resisted the idea of “virtual” meetings when they began to arrive on the scene. My concept (should I say “judgment”) was of a group of lazy people sitting in their bathrobes, eating donuts while “talking the talk”. I believed, and I still do, that I need to be visible in my recovery and make every effort to avoid isolation. However, when a new sponsor firmly encouraged me to connect with others in order to carry the message, via phone and/or on-line meetings, I didn’t balk. I followed directions. And I thank my Higher Power (God) that I did. This daily meeting has enriched my program “beyond my wildest dreams”. And when I was able to meet many of the participants at the 2016 World Service Convention in Boston, it was an affirmation that these recovered people, are indeed “walking the walk.”
So, while my experience with virtual meetings is limited, my assignment to this Committee is well placed. Meeting Dora, Stephanie, Betty Jean, and Makeda assured me that they have a vision and awareness for this service as OA moves forward, that I do not quite comprehend yet – but, with perseverance and diligence I look forward to growing and contributing.
I was extremely impressed with the conduct of the Conference and the Trustees. Seeing the manner in which the Fellowship is completely recognized in the decision-making process of our organization was both inspiring and gratifying. It has been a long road for me to get to service at the World level, but I am so appreciative to my Higher Power, and my Intergroup, for the journey.
Jo A., VSCC Delegate and Secretary Cleveland Central Intergroup, USA
How Doing Service on the VSCC Enhances My Recovery
As I start my second year as a non-delegate member of the Virtual Services Conference Committee (VSCC) I can look back and see how much I have learned.
I joined OA by attending my first meeting in Medford, Massachusetts in July 2004. At the time, I lived in the nearby city of Somerville and weighed close to 250 pounds. My doctor told me that I was borderline diabetic and if I didn’t lose weight I was going to end up on medication and that scared me. I saw a neighbor and told her my tale of woe and she told me about OA.
She wasn’t fat, not anymore. If it worked for her, it would work for me, and it did. I have been a volunteer for various causes and organizations since childhood and I saw the opportunity to help OA by doing service; first at the group level to meet and talk to people and was then encouraged to attend the local intergroup where I am now the treasurer. I also found out about phone meetings in 2005 (I found an old list of phone meetings from that time, I think there were 10) and started attending some in addition to face to face meetings and naturally, started volunteering for service positions there as well. I have attended several Region 6 Assemblies for my intergroup, co-chaired the Region 6 convention in 2014, and because I was a member of VSCC was able to volunteer at the big World Service Convention in Boston last fall in the virtual services area, something I would never have known about in advance except from my VSCC service. Attending the convention allowed me to meet in person many people I had only heard on the phone meetings, including some fellow committee members. I have also spoken about VSCC on some phone meetings, allowing it to be better known.
Being on the VSCC has given me a better understanding of how World Service works to reach out to all compulsive overeaters and food addicts whether they can attend face to face meetings or virtual meetings online or on the phone. Having OA inclusive to all is one thing I have learned from my work on the VSCC and that I will take with me when I (hope to) attend WSBC next year as a delegate from my intergroup. I am not alone here, and no matter what the situation, I can call or email people around the world for help when I need it. Being part of a fellowship where I can do service greatly enhances my recovery, and if my article can inspire others to step up and do their part, together we can do what we cannot do alone.
Jean B., non-delegate VSCC member Mass Bay Intergroup, USA
The Third Time’s a Charm
Hello, my name is Dawn, I am compulsive and I am a compulsive overeater. My first year at World Service Business Conference I found myself in awe; I was both filled with amazement and filled with fear. I became a Delegate not because my sponsor or intergroup suggested it, but because I felt my Higher Power prompting me to step up and out in my service, so as I threw my hat into the ring during intergroup elections, I truly had no idea what I was to unfold. To my amazement, I won the election!
When arriving in Albuquerque in 2013 I found myself as quiet as a mouse in the business meetings, my mentor told me my job was to listen carefully, and so I did. I had experienced ‘Robert’s Rules of Order’ meetings before but not on this scale. It was and is truly amazing to see a room full of two hundred or so assorted addicts both argue passionately and come to agreement with such dignity. In the past I’ve seen many an addict argue, but not with the grace displayed here. Yes, I was silent and ever watchful in the business meetings, but in the committee meetings I found both my voice and a passion that did not know existed—carrying the message to those living and working in the digital age.
My second year, I found great purpose in my committee work and was even asked to speak at a workshop. That was another awe-filled moment and humbling too. It can be very scary to come out of the comfort of the shadows of the past to speak your truth and breathe life into your passion. The workshop went well and its energy helped me to be more involved in the business meetings, as a cheerleader helping to rally and support the efforts of others.
The third time’s a charm. When the proposed motions and amendments for 2017 were sent out this winter I found myself reading each one very carefully—praying, pondering, processing and engaging others in discussions. This year I was fully engaged in the business of the day because I now better understand the process, and further, the work of my recovery has brought me to a place where I can formulate an argument that is sound, I was able to speak. I asked questions and I took part in the debate. I was part of the conversation.
This is the thing. Before recovery I would have never believed myself to be worthy to be heard, but that was a lie. My Higher Power has given me a voice and He has encouraged me to grow and learn how and when to use it. May your Higher Power do the same for you.
Dawn K., Young Persons’ Committee Central Florida Intergroup, USA
2017 OA Holiday Marathons
8:00 am EST (-4:00 GMT) until midnight
Phone Bridge 712-432-5200; Pin 4285115#
Saturday, August 19th – Sponsorship Day
The Blessings of Carrying the Message
Monday, September 4th – Labor Day
Enjoying the Rewards of Our Hard Won Abstinence
Wednesday, September 20th – Rosh Hashanah Begins
Celebrating the Freshness of a New Me
Thursday, September 21st – Rosh Hashanah Ends
A New Beginning with Our Higher Power
Friday, September 29th – Yom Kippur Begins
Forgiveness and Purity of a New Spirit
Saturday, September 30th – Yom Kippur Ends
Our Higher Power’s Removal of Character Defects
Monday, October 9th – Columbus Day
Experiencing Adventure in the Program
Tuesday, October 31st – Halloween
A Clean Program Means Nothing to Hide
Saturday, November 11th – Veteran’s Day
Respecting the Power of Our Disease
Saturday, November 18th – I.D.E.A Day
Intl Day of Experiencing Abstinence–We Are Note Alone
Thursday, November 23rd – Thanksgiving
Grateful for Everyday to Be the First Day of the Rest of Our Lives
Tuesday, December 12th – 12th Step Within Day & Hanukkah Begins
Shining the Light on Those Who Still Suffer in Program
Sunday, December 24th– Christmas Eve
Honoring Our Birth in Recovery
Monday, December 25th – Christmas Day
Experience Life with Joy
Tuesday, December 26th – Kwanzaa & Boxing Day
The Happiness of Sharing and Building a Community of Recovery
Sunday, December 31st – New Year’s Eve
Looking Back and Being Accountable for Our Actions
Monday, January 1st – New Year’s Day
Embracing and Celebrating Another Great Year to Be Healthy
Do you want to subscribe to OA Virtual News?
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