Translatable VSCC Newsletter 1th quarter -2019

1st Quarter 2018 – Vol. 9

Being a Sponsor and Being Sponsored:

Relating to Each Other and Our Higher Power in the Virtual World


  OA’s Virtual World

My name is Dora, I am the Virtual Region Trustee, and I have a new life in OA’s Virtual World.  When I thought about this theme, I felt gratitude.  I came to OA through virtual meetings and, actually, I never had a face-to-face sponsor.  My sponsors have always been someone who lived far from me, never anyone to give a hug after the meeting or look in her eyes.  Poor Dora?  No, I feel gratitude, because I truly believe       that sponsorship is spiritual: when I write to       my sponsor, it is a spiritual communication,       and when I call her, I know that she is looking         at my heart’s eyes.

I love being sponsored. God gave me the ability and gift to accept suggestions, and I truly like to work my program.  I don’t need be in front of the person I’m connecting with, I need only give my heart to my sponsee, and feel my sponsor’s heart warm when I make contact with her.

I’ve learned a lot from being sponsored. My sponsor helps me to work my program, she is    not my psychologist to call “only when I am not doing well”.  My sponsor is not a sugar policeman and will not remove the food from my mouth.       My sponsor is not my mother and me, her           only child.  My sponsor isn’t my BFF (best friend forever), although I feel she is my friend.

Through my sponsor’s guidance I have learned how to work my program and to use the Tools of Recovery when life gets challenging. She isn’t available 24-hours a day, but she is another compulsive eater who is working her program and extending her hands and heart to me.  I need to work my program every day, send my plan      of eating, work the steps, and do my best.  My sponsor and I work together, but she does not work the program for me.

About the virtual; it is a blessing how technology helps us with sponsorship.  We now have so many options—I can make a phone call, Skype, or WhatsApp. Actually, virtual sponsorship reminds me that, I don’t need to do this alone, although many times my disease tells me this.

I will finish this by remembering a picture that         I saw at my first WSBC, a person is giving me her hands and with another hand I can do the same with another compulsive eater.

—Dora P., Virtual Region Trustee

I Was Skeptical and a little bit hopeful

When I started in OA there was not an OA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and there were only face-to-face meetings.  When I moved to a small rural community, the first thing                  I did was search for an OA meeting.  I found            a sponsor in that small group and I stayed in touch with my “old” OA friends by phone while            I developed new friendships and support.   When my sponsor’s schedule changed, my strong recovery dwindled as I tried working without a sponsor while I looked for another.   I had heard about phone meetings but was skeptical as to how they could work, since I could not see anyone.  The addiction got stronger as my recovery weakened, and I descended into relapse with no available sponsors in my small group.

This is a “we program”, and one of my “old OA” friends suggested I try a phone meeting. Desperate, I called in and cried when introduce-ing myself as a newcomer. Someone called me back later in the week to welcome me, which                  I appreciated, but was still skeptical so did not return her call.  Over time, despite extending            my driving distance, looking for more meetings, and not finding a local sponsor, I surrendered to using the phone meetings as way of staying                in the energy field of recovery.  Then one day        as I continued to wrestle with relapse, I again surrendered and called an available sponsor asking her to be my sponsor. I was skeptical, frustrated and a little bit hopeful.

Having a meeting every day, calling my sponsor who I’d never met for over eight years, we developed as deep a relationship as I had with my in-person sponsor.  Her non-judging and loving support helped me deepen my understanding of and relationship with my HP          as I climbed away from relapse.  Our schedules have changed, life goes on, I’ve moved to another rural community and several virtual sponsors later I am again working with a           new one.  A new and caring relationship is blossoming.

I have been able to explore different styles of OA (Big Book Study, Regular OA, Primary Purpose, and others) by attending phone meetings. I have had sponsors from some of the different types of meetings depending upon the type of meeting they subscribed to.  Each sponsor works with me differently, but the common thread is the Twelve Steps, using the tools, practicing honesty, willingness, openness and compassion. Working with principles and personalities, I have been able to support the growth and development of my recovery in ways, that depending upon physical proximity, could not have been possible.

Of course, I also sponsor.  Initially, as with any new relationship, there can be an awkwardness. By using writing and readings based in study of OA approved literature, an intimacy develops that is precious and treasured by us both. My understanding of HP has evolved and deepened as I learn from my sponsees by listening and holding a space of non-judging for us both.

I save time and don’t waste gas or spew carbon to connect to my OA Fellowship in the Virtual World at least once a day.  The Twelve Steps of OA have opened my heart and mind so widely and deeply and my gratitude is profound for          this unique way of connecting in this age of technology.

—Sincerely, PD

Secret to Success

My name is Millie and I am a recovered compulsive eater.  I arrived at the OA doors in February 2001, after many failed attempts to control food, weight, and life (not only my own).   I was blessed with a group and intergroup with strong service structures and many opportunities to give service.  I remained abstinent (or on a diet of prayer, restriction and meetings) until the summer of 2005—when my control no longer worked.  I relapsed.

I spent that winter in a small community on the Bahama Islands, with the closest face-to-face meeting about a 45-minute flight to Miami, FL. This is when I was blessed to have found online meetings—at that time our virtual gatherings were not approved, so we met in ‘secrecy’.  I led meetings, facilitated studies, sponsored and enjoyed much more peace and serenity around both food and life.  It was my first introduction to page 98 in the book Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Burn the idea in the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone” (or any circumstance?). “The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house.”  I trusted in God, I prayed, I worked with my sponsor via long distance by email and phone, and I remained peaceful and abstinent.

In 2013 I moved from an area with a strong service structure, to a struggling one.  I tried        to be of service, but did not succeed.  I found myself restless, irritable, and discontented.  Food started to “talk to me”.  In desperation               I attended the OA World Service Convention, and it changed my life forever.  I met a woman who shared her experience with phone meetings, that focused on living in Steps 10, 11 and 12.  Wow.  What a novelty?

I reached out, introduced myself as a first timer to this meeting and I found peace.  I learned that this message of recovery can be carried in all forms and media, that I do not need to know someone face-to-face in order to trust them with my ‘deep dark secrets in Step 5’, that I can be freed from my food compulsions by trusting God and cleaning house with the help of my sponsor.

What does it take to sponsor in a virtual world? A working knowledge of the Twelve Steps and Traditions, a willingness to enlarge my spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, and a phone and/or internet connection.  Whatever works—the message can be carried if there is someone willing to give and someone else desperate enough to receive.

As a sponsor it is a privilege to listen and receive, as it was once said that the greatest gift I can give, is the gift of listening.  In turn, a sponsee receives the wisdom, experience, strength and hope from someone who has chosen this way of life in trust and serenity.  There are no limits.  The Virtual World is just another means to carry the message through phone or internet. We are blessed to have so many services available.  And whenever I travel, I am very grateful, as there are many less fortunate places—even in developed countries, some people do not have access to the internet or the ability to participate in OA meetings via conference call.

I feel blessed to observe the changes in the OA Virtual World—from a deep dark ‘secret’, to attending Virtual Services Workshops, to the growth from a Virtual Services Conference Committee to the developing OA Virtual Region. Amazing.  A true sign on how sponsorship and service works.  Not only are sponsors and sponsees working together virtually, but the WSBC is in effect “sponsoring” the formation           of our virtual service structure. Currently, I am serving as the Chair for the Virtual Sponsor/Speaker Sub-committee, and I have a deep gratitude to all the people willing to give service to reach out to the still suffering compulsive eaters around the world.

“Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one (alcoholic) talks with another (alcoholic), sharing experience, strength and hope. (Foreword to the 3rd edition Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous)

“In any meeting, anywhere, (AA’s) share experience, strength and hope with each other, in order to stay sober and help other (alcoholics). Modem-to-modem, or face-to-face, A.A.’s speak the language of the heart in all its power and simplicity.” (Foreword to the 4th edition Big Book)

—Yours in service, Millie L., Canada

VSCC Sponsor/Speaker Subcommittee Chair

Sponsorship & Service

I’ve been in Overeaters Anonymous for over twenty-five years, and wow, have things changed.  At that time, there was no such thing as ‘face-to-face’ meetings, because all meetings were in-person groups.  Virtual groups didn’t spring up for another fifteen years.

Sponsors encouraged us to do service. Starting at the group level, we greeted newcomers, carried the literature and meeting room key.     We learned about intergroup, and served as representatives.  Then onto region and finally the World Service Business Conference as delegates!  There was no question about it, when you finished Step Three, you offered to be a sponsor; by helping another OA member, we stayed abstinent too!

People are finding OA on the internet nowadays, by search engines,, social media and probably many more virtual methods I don’t even know about yet. I attend virtual meetings regularly now, as an RV-er, as oftentimes I am in areas with no local meetings. Now that I’m back in Central Florida, I can attend a meeting in-person, but my mainstay is virtual.

I’m noticing a disturbing trend, where our members are not stepping up to do service.  Why is that?  At my home meeting on social media, rotation of service is a struggle, as very few are stepping up to help. Gratitude is an ACTION word. Service is a way for us to demonstrate our gratitude for recovery. I’m surely grateful to be abstinent over 25 years, because I’m not so sure I’d even be alive right now were it not for OA.

As sponsors and long-timers, are we encouraging members to do service? We need fresh perspectives, especially from today’s young people who are finding recovery electronically. It’s not hard to lead a phone meeting—they have ‘scripts’ which are extended to anyone who wants to help. Same with online. We’re just feeling our way through now on the social media non-real-time meetings and getting better at organizing and helping newcomers to find recovery. That is how we can show others to demonstrate gratitude for recovery.

What do you know about service? Ask your sponsor or in your next meeting, albeit face-to-face or virtual. It is a wonderful, grateful way to give back what has been given to us. Visit frequently and find out about how you can help in other ways too!

—Gerri H., NRT Intergroup

Pick up the phone instead of the fork

Our Mobile Society

I have had a good amount of help in my program from sponsoring and being sponsored.  I have been in OA for almost eight years, yet have had a face-to-face sponsor only in the past few months.  I had never even met or talked to my first sponsor, who lived in a different country than I, until I did my 5th Step.  We then spoke on the phone.  I then got to meet her at the OA Birthday Party when she traveled to it and we lived nearby.  She was able to stay in our home and it was wonderful.  The rest of the time we communicated by email.

When I needed a new sponsor, for reasons irrelevant here, I tried with someone I met face-to-face but with whom I needed to communicate by phone.  The connection and the time were not working for me, so I moved on to a face-to-face sponsor for a short time.  That didn’t work out, so I again searched for a sponsor.

The next was a wonderful woman with whom        I emailed almost daily, and skyped weekly for many years.  I didn’t get to meet her in person until after she was no longer my sponsor.  It didn’t matter at all.  In fact, I find that my conversations are more useful when I am not talking, but am writing.  Writing requires me             to slow down, to say things more concisely, to avoid going off on tangents as much.  Skyping helped me to listen more, to not have to say everything that came into my mind.

Since calling people on the phone has been the weakest part of my program, I am grateful to have a face-to-face sponsor now that I call    nearly every day.  In addition, I have the bonus of being able to see her at one meeting where      I can give her a hug.  I send her my food every day in an email with my responses to reading a daily reader.  It helps me to focus on things      that need to be talked about later in the day    when I call.  I guess you could say this is a “hybrid” sponsor/sponsee relationship. All of these relationships worked well to teach me how to work my program for the most recovery.

But it doesn’t end there.  I have sponsored people all over the world via email, with occasional Skype contacts.  I have learned a great deal from how different cultures affect people’s programs.  At the moment I have one sponsee who began as face-to-face but who moved out of state.  We now talk almost daily on the phone and Skype weekly. I have one sponsee who lives far enough away that we mostly meet on the phone.   The others are phone with weekly Step work in person.

But it doesn’t end there, either.  I often write my prayers, because it slows me down and allows me to focus much better.  I usually close my    eyes as I type, because my higher power is        not reading my words but my thoughts anyway, but this process improves my focus.  The result is often quite humorous to human eyes, especially when I discover my hands were on the wrong part of the keyboard the whole time.  I then meditate to learn what I need to hear back.  Someone once shared that he set up a God email address and sends his prayers to it daily.

So, it is all the same.  Sponsoring is sponsoring no matter what the medium.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  Being sponsored is being sponsored no matter if it is done virtually or in person.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.  All of it, however, helps us to work our program to the best of our ability.  It all works.  Come to think of it, our relationship with our Higher Power is always virtual.

—Love, Laurie Y., VSCC Delegate

Laguna Niguel, Ca, USA


My Sponsee and My Higher Power

When I first became a sponsor, I was scared to death for many reasons. First, I didn’t feel I had anything to offer anyone.  And second, I was afraid I would make a mistake and lead someone down the wrong path.

Since my first sponsee I have learned a lot.  I only have to be myself. I don’t have to try to change anyone.  If I keep my advice to myself then I can do no wrong by the person who is my sponsee.  I also don’t have to be perfect. I can share what has worked for me only.  If that works for someone else then my higher power has worked through me.  If it doesn’t work for them then I say oh well and we both move on.  I don’t take it personally.  Each person needs to work their program the way it works for them.  I have had several sponsors and have tried very hard to do what they asked me to do.  I have found by listening to my HP not only do I know the right thing to tell a sponsee, but I also know someone else’s program may not be for me.  I have been successfully abstinent now for quite some time.  I forget the exact day.  But I have learned that being abstinent is what my higher power and I come up with.  I now do not push my program onto someone else.

I have periodic moments where I wonder if what I am doing is working for my sponsees, so I ask them.  So far, they have said they like me as their sponsor and I am continuing to be supportive of them.  So, my HP and I are doing something right.

In order to be a sponsor, I had to get over my fears by starting small and learning along the way.  And I have learned a lot.


Working the Steps

Finding the Right Sponsor

The OA Steps and Traditions are saving my life and giving me sanity daily, but this is hard work.  It is not about the food.  That was actually the easy part for me—once I put down my trigger foods and got through the early days.

The hard part has been acceptance.  My sponsor said I was doing Step Three wrong because I did not follow her religion. She said I needed to get on my knees every morning to do Step Three correctly.   It did not count that my original religion does not kneel. It did not count that I am disabled.  Imagine yourself kneeling, she said.  She insisted I use her concept of God.  Because that did not work for me, she dropped me.

I thought sponsoring was about support and acceptance.

Some sponsors only accept you if you eat exactly the same way they do.  It doesn’t matter to them if your age, height, and actively levels are different.  Some sponsors don’t accept atheists, agnostics, or people           of different religions. These sponsors say the Steps and Tradition Two use “God” and I should too.  The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that if we are “in fit spiritual condition” we can handle anything.  Is that really true in practice?

How do you sponsor members who are different from you spiritually?


A Voice on The Phone

How to Work A Virtual Program of Recovery

I’ve never met my current sponsor in person,    just in phone meetings, texts, and emails.  I have some sponsees I’ve never seen either, and others that I have known in person for years.    My first real sponsor lived in my state, but we went to meetings in different areas, and it was     a while before we were able to see each other    in person.  We were connected initially by a referral from someone my first temporary sponsor suggested I call. I was (and still am)        a vegetarian, and the referral knew someone else in program who was a vegetarian.  In my local circles, we call this the OA yellow pages.            If you need something or someone, just keep calling folks in program and somebody will    point you to someone who either knows somebody else or maybe has the answer themselves.  Service in action every day.  But back to virtual sponsorship…

It is possible in these days of electronic wizardry to use various phone and computer systems to see people when you talk to them, assuming both have the same system, or send a picture online, but it is not the same thing as being        with someone in person or giving them a hug         or sharing a book together.  Yet for people in isolated communities or confined to home by illness or disability that restricts visitors, the phone is their lifeline to the world.  Spending fifteen minutes or more with people in those circumstances can bring hope and encourage-ment that they may not find elsewhere, and for the sponsor it can expand their ability to connect with people who may have challenges that the sponsor has not encountered previously and therefore helps the sponsor to grow in empathy. I know working with others, when the “other” is not like you (different age, race, food plan, gender, nationality/ethnicity, form of addiction), can cause the sponsor to take a closer look at themselves and that may be helpful.

As a sponsor I am willing to be somewhat flexible with my sponsees as I get to know them because I know that the food plan that worked for me may not work for them.  I encourage them to attend meetings, use the tools, and work the steps. Abstinence, gratitude, and service are encouraged as well.  If a sponsee relapses (and some do) I tell them to get back to the program, that I am not dropping them just for a relapse.  Maybe they need to make more phone calls or take more quiet time.

Some call in their food, some text it, and how often I speak to them can vary.  I have suggested to a few people that they might do better with a different sponsor if they need more time or a different time than I can manage, but I have also managed to be a temporary sponsor for folks I’ve met through phone meetings.

In conclusion, I would recommend virtual sponsor/sponsee relationships for people who can’t get to face-to-face meetings or whose local meetings don’t provide what they need.

—In service, Jean B., VSCC Member

Mass Bay Intergroup, USA

Virtual Girl, Virtual World

Hello, my name is Dawn, I’m compulsive and        I used to overeat.  When the subject “Virtual Sponsorship” was proposed for this edition            I found myself a bit baffled—What do I have        to offer?  Confession: I have neither been sponsored, nor sponsored virtually.  I am very blessed to live in an area with many meetings available to me.  In addition to workshops, retreats and conventions several times a year are within a reasonable distance.  I am truly blessed.

Upon further reflection, I realized that though my sponsor lives a short distance from me, I have always used virtual tools and technology to work my program, so yes—I am a virtual girl in a virtual world.

The first tool we use is, of course, the telephone. We speak almost every afternoon.  I imagine most OAs do this never realizing that the telephone was the very first virtual tool added to our kit.  Now our phones can do so much more than just make a call—just ask a teenager during their never-ending daily stream of use.  They very rarely actually talk on the phone.  I suppose in some ways I resemble that statement.  My daily routine begins by using my phone to log my Food Plan, and then it’s on to my morning meditation referencing OA & AA Literature and Prayers stored and bookmarked in various apps.  Once I’ve made that “conscious contact” with my HP, I move to my tablet or laptop.  There I do my step work, answering questions from the OA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Workbook.  When I’ve completed my step work, whether it’s two sentences or two pages, I email both what I’ve written and my Food Plan to my sponsor.  She usually responds with encouragement by email, and then we talk more in depth later in the day.

I’m not completely sure, but this sounds like Virtual Sponsorship to me!  It was I who introduced the idea of working in this way because of my personal issues.  I am dyslexic, so paper and pen do not work well for me and the printed page of a book shakes and vibrates in ways I cannot describe.  When I type, my thoughts are free to flow, whereas when working with pen and paper I am hindered by a kaleidoscope of movement and self-doubt.  And, as I said before, I am compulsive and that’s not only about the food.  Just the thought of marring the perfect page of a journal with my imperfect jumbled handwriting fills me with anxiety—it’s too much, and forget highlighting and writing in the margins of books.      I admire those who can study and work their program in this way, but it does not work for me, and              I knew from the start it would do me more harm than good to attempt to battle my addiction alongside my learning disabilities and disorders.  When using virtual tools, I am not hindered by swirling letters on a page or my internal compulsions telling me my highlighting is sloppy and uneven.  This may seem silly to some, but I cannot get past the way my brain is wired, so I needed to go virtual.  Six years ago, I was very blessed to have found a sponsor open to working with me in this way and she has been absolutely the ‘right fit’.

As a sponsor, I allow the people I am working with to choose their best path to working the steps.  I’ve had some who are very virtual, but my very first sponsee has been a paper girl—for her the pen truly is a sword and the highlighter a weapon of mass destruction.  It is what works for her, and I am willing to walk the path with her.

It works, if you work it—                                        no matter how you work it!

—In HP’s Service and yours,

Dawn K., VSCC Delegate

Virtual Sponsor Project

OA Region 1

For a number of years now Region 1 of Overeaters Anonymous has been offering the service of matching up people needing sponsors and people being willing to sponsor. This opportunity is available on the Region 1 website, with a potential questionnaire for interested sponsors and a separate one for interested sponsees.

The people are matched according to interests and needs, initially deciding together the best way to proceed. They may decide to connect via telephone, text, Skype, email, or any other public means of media.

Just this last year over 150 such matches were made not only from our region, but a few world-wide. Many people find it works best to have a sponsorship relation with someone close enough to meet in person upon occasion. Others find distance is no drawback.

The Virtual Region might in the future decide to implement such a program.

Virtual Sponsorship is an ever-evolving form of offering service to OA, that we each love so dearly. This year we hope to update our forms and follow up.

The following is how we put the word out on Region 1 website.

Sponsorship—by Email, Telephone, Skype, Online…  Do you need help finding a sponsor, or are you an available sponsor willing to work with someone remotely? ​​

Are you looking for a sponsor or sponsee but can’t find one in a face-to-face meeting?

  • Complete the online Sponsor or Sponsee (if you want help) application form. The Virtual Sponsorship Committee will ALWAYS protect your anonymity. They will provide your “match” with ONLY your contact information.
  • When you press ‘send’ your completed application goes to the Virtual Sponsorship Committee. They will respond to explain the details of the process.

How can I let people know about this wonderful opportunity?

Download and distribute the Virtual Sponsorship Flyer to help spread the word about this service.

If you have questions, please contact the Virtual Sponsorship Committee.

—Sponsorship Project Team of Region 1


Did you recently share a small gem of recovery wisdom or a carefully crafted story of experi-ence, strength, and hope? That same story can        help thousands of Lifeline subscribers find and maintain their abstinence. Squeeze more service from your online writing by emailing your       story to with subject “Lifeline” and enjoy a complimentary copy of Lifeline when your story is published.


Reasons to Join a Virtual Intergroup


  1. Meetings connected with an intergroup have a say in how OA works on the local, regional and international levels.


  1. Affiliation with an intergroup and region offers a connection to the rest of the OA Fellowship so groups can get personal, immediate means of answering urgent questions from individuals in your groups.


  1. Meetings affiliated with an intergroup receive disbursements of information from the region and World Service Office (What’s New, WSO News Bulletin, Workshops, Events and more).


  1. Registered meetings affiliated with an intergroup have access to resources and funds available from WSO including the Delegate Support Fund, Professional Outreach Fund and more.

2019 OA Phone Marathons

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Tuesday, January 1st — New Year’s Day

Awareness is the First Step


Saturday, January 19th — OA’s 59th Birthday

Beginning with Step 1


Monday, January 21st — Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Standing Up for Ourselves


Sunday, February 3rd — Super Bowl Sunday

Be A Champion for Your Recovery


Tuesday, February 5th — Chinese New Year

Starting Anew with Step 2


Thursday, February 14th — Valentine’s Day

Bring the Body and the Heart Will Follow


Monday, February 18th — President’s Day

Finding Freedom from Food


Sunday, February 24th — OA Unity Day

Together We Can Do What We Can Never Do Alone


Sunday, March 17th — St. Patrick’s Day

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