In This Issue
WSBC 2020 Recap
Call for Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide Testimonials
2020 World Service Convention
Message from Our Chair
Message from Our Treasurer
Professional Exhibits Fund
Translation Assistance Fund
What’s New from WSO
Send Us Your Stories!
Current OA Flyers
Streamlined and Online: WSBC 2020 Got the Job Done
Due to the global pandemic and travel restrictions, 180 delegates from around the world logged on from home from April 13–29 to participate in OA’s 59th annual World Service Business Conference. In all, thirteen countries were represented: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
For this first-of-its-kind WSBC, discussion and business decisions transpired entirely online via email and an online voting tool. Delegates were given a schedule describing when information would be sent to them for review and when any questions from them were due. WSO staff and board trustees worked to collate delegate questions, present these questions to trustee candidates and literature committees, and compile responses to distribute back to all delegates prior to voting.
All in all, it was a tremendous effort to undo existing plans for the face-to-face Conference, develop new procedures for the online Conference, reregister delegates for the online Conference, and conduct the Conference itself. Thank you and congratulations to all delegates, trustees, and WSO staff who made it happen. We appreciate your service!
Trustees were elected to three-year terms for the following positions:
- Region One: Margie G.
- Region Four: Meg M.
- Region Seven: Karen B.
- General Service: BJ (Betty) J.
- General Service: Ron P.
Additionally, a two-year general service trustee position was declared vacant. Per the OA Bylaws, the Board of Trustees was charged with filling this position through the next WSBC. On June 9, 2020, after applications were requested and reviewed, the board appointed CJ M. to serve in this position through WSBC 2021.
OA now has a full complement of board members. Congratulations to all newly elected and appointed trustees!
Board Officers and Committee Chairs
On May 1, the board elected officers. Board committee chairs were appointed on May 6.
- Chair: Bonnie L.
- First Vice Chair: Ron P.
- Second Vice Chair: Judy H.
- Treasurer: Tina C.
- Board-Approved Literature: Neva S.
- BRM Review: Judy H.
- Conference Planning: Margie G.
- Convention 2021: Andi S.
- Delegate Support Fund: Tina C.
- Internal Information: Dora P.
- International Publications/Translations: Vasiliki T.
- Literature Review: Judy H.
- Professional Tradeshows/Public Awareness: Meg M.
- Strategic Planning: Ron P.
- Website Review: Letitia M.
- Bylaws: Karen B.
- Conference-Approved Literature: Judy H.
- Public Information/Professional Outreach: Meg M.
- Region Chairs: Beth B.
- Twelfth Step Within: BJ (Betty) J.
- Unity with Diversity: Ron P.
- Young Persons’: Barbara K.
The delegates gave the Conference Seal of Approval to the new and revised publications for the following manuscripts:
- In OA, Recovery is Possible
- Temporary Sponsors: Newcomers’ First Twelve Days
- To the Young Person
- A Lifetime of Abstinence
Due to the limitations of our online Conference, all other New Business Motions and Bylaws Amendments were not considered and must be resubmitted by December 10, 2020, to be considered at WSBC 2021.
Endorse This Enterprise! Share Your Experience Using the Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide
Have you completed the Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide? We want to hear from you! Send us a blurb (200 words or less) about your experience. We may publish it in a future issue of A Step Ahead! Send your blurb to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject “Publications” or mail your response to the World Service Office. Thank you for your service!
2020 World Service Convention Canceled and Rebooked for 2021
Due to ongoing public health and economic changes, the 2020 World Service Convention, scheduled for August 20–22 in Orlando, Florida USA, has been canceled. Refunds of registration and banquet fees have been processed and issued to members. Similarly, the hotel venue has canceled reservations and sent cancellation confirmations to members.
World Service Convention has been rebooked for August 26–28, 2021 and will take place at the same hotel venue in Orlando, Florida USA.
Check oa.org for future updates and join the Convention email list at email@example.com. In your email, include your full name, email address, state/province/territory, and country. Your information will be kept confidential to the World Service Office. We’ll see you next year!
A Message from Our Chair
– Bonnie L., Chair of the Board, General Service Trustee
How our world has changed since early spring! In spite of the global pandemic affecting every single one of us, we successfully concluded an unprecedented online schedule of events at our 59th annual World Service Business Conference in April. We had 180 delegates from thirteen countries who registered and participated online. Due to the very sudden and widespread travel bans and the many other restrictions in place, the Board of Trustees made a vital decision to deal only with the critical business of trustee elections and new literature proposals since these two categories of business decisions could not wait another year.
“The condition of the world today has us truly living one day at a time as we watch the healing begin.”
Representation at WSBC is our opportunity to vote on behalf of our service bodies, allowing their voices to be counted in the decision-making process. To those who participated, thank you!
Meetings Are Transitioning to Virtual Formats
All OA meetings have had to transition to becoming virtual meetings during the recent crisis, and OA has issued a Meeting Transition Guidance Letter, available in the Document Library at oa.org, to help. We are very grateful to those who jumped in to lend their technical skills to help with the learning curve. Groups with face-to-face meetings quickly learned how to meet the challenges of anonymity, protecting copyrighted OA materials by not screen-sharing, and even how to practice Tradition Seven. I think we will have a greater appreciation for our face-to-face meetings when they resume, as well as a heightened understanding of the challenges and rewards of meetings in the virtual world.
New Business Ahead
I am looking forward to a very challenging year ahead. With WSBC 2020 finished, we start to plan our next Conference. The New Business Motions and Bylaws Amendments that we could not deal with this year will need to start again from the beginning, and many more are likely to follow. As late as mid-May, we were awaiting a decision about whether the 2020 World Service Convention could continue as planned but it was canceled and rebooked only recently for August 26–28, 2021. The condition of the world today has us truly living one day at a time as we watch the healing begin.
I am eternally grateful for the reminders from the Fellowship that I am not ever alone. I am but one member of a team, working together like the well-oiled gears of a machine—a network of trusted servants, dedicated staff, and members of our worldwide Fellowship—all working together for the good of OA.
A Message from Our Treasurer
– Tina C., Treasurer, General Service Trustee
Hello from your new Board of Trustees treasurer! I was elected to this position at the April 2020 Board of Trustees meeting. I accept the responsibility very humbly and will try to do all that I can to serve the board, and more importantly, to serve OA.
“OA is alive and well. Instead of crumbling or folding because of the global crisis, meetings have learned to adapt and continue! In many cases, these meetings are growing!”
To me, this is going to be both a challenging and exciting year! As we all know, there is much that we do not know! As I write, the whole world is in turmoil: how is this going to affect us, OA as a whole? Who knows? But what a wonderful opportunity to practice the OA Principles and work the Serenity Prayer to its fullest!
Financially, OA is in very solid shape, but we cannot rest on that. We need to continue our individual efforts, especially through these times. To me, some of the major financial issues are literature sales and contributions.
With literature sales, we have partial control. Sales are down, but even during the period when the World Service Office was closed and later partially opened, staff members were hustling to fill OA literature orders as quickly as possible. Although groups have suspended face-to-face meetings, groups and service bodies can still place bulk orders and designate a literature person to mail out or deliver local orders from individual members. In addition, how about ordering fifty or one hundred Where Do I Start? pamphlets and designating someone to mail the pamphlets to our virtual newcomers? And then direct them to oa.org?
With contributions, we have a little more control. Although contributions are slightly down through the first several months of 2020, 2019 was an excellent year for contributions overall, so OA is in good shape. But again, we cannot rest on last year’s figures!
At the last Board of Trustees meeting, it was stated that everyone is fiscally responsible for Overeaters Anonymous. Not just the board chair and WSO managing director; not just the board treasurer and WSO controller; not just the trustees and region chairs, but all OA members are responsible for the fiscal well-being of OA! How can YOU help?
OA meetings are now being held through videoconferencing and telephone on a variety of virtual platforms. In many cases, it is being suggested that members set aside their weekly contribution for when the meeting goes back to face-to-face. Another suggestion has been for individuals to make their own contributions to intergroup, service board, region, and world service. In particular, I ask that you please contribute to OA world service at oa.org/contribute or by mailing in your contribution. While the physical building of the World Service Office was closed for two months, OA business continued with staff working from home! When the WSO was able to partially reopen, the business of OA continued, and the staff continued to strive to work diligently on all projects. Your trustees have continued to work diligently, as have all the Conference and board committees, as have the region chairs and committees, and as have our service bodies.
The still-suffering compulsive eater definitely needs our help today, whether it’s through translations, new and revised literature, public information and professional outreach, or our improved website. Our OA service goes on, regardless of the global situation. OA will always need contributions if we want to fulfill our primary purpose: “to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers” (Tradition Five).
So . . . this is also a wonderful opportunity for the board treasurer to remind all members of the ARC program, which will let you make Automatic Recurring Contributions. Enrollment is through oa.org/contribute, and you can set it up to automatically contribute any amount to OA either monthly or quarterly. For me, this is an easy and consistent way to contribute to the financial health and well-being of OA.
Crisis and Opportunity
Some of the above information is challenging; much of it is exciting! OA is alive and well. Instead of crumbling or folding because of the global crisis, meetings have learned to adapt and continue! In many cases, these meetings are growing! The newcomer or person coming back is looking for OA, needing us, and finding us, be it through service body updates, oa.org, or social media channels. And the individual OA member is ready, willing, and able to help the still-suffering compulsive overeater, be they currently inside or outside the walls of OA.
I have always said and totally believe that OA saved my life. Well, today, OA is saving my life again! This is because of what we all are currently doing, or what we hope to accomplish in the future. Yes, it is truly an exciting time to be a member of Overeaters Anonymous.
Apply for Professional Exhibits Funds
The Professional Exhibits Fund has more than US$13,000 available to help your service body participate in a trade conference or convention for professionals who may refer patients and clients to OA. Take a look at the application to see what expenses OA funds can help cover. Applications are reviewed monthly, so talk to your service body about local opportunities and apply! Find the application in the Document Library at oa.org under category “Outreach to Professionals.”
Translation Assistance Fund Applications Due October 1
More than US$1,000 is available to help translate OA literature into other languages. More literature means more meetings and a growing Fellowship. Help OA grow in your language. Complete the Translation Assistance Fund application and send it to the WSO. You can download the application from the Translation of Literature and OA Materials page found via oa.org/sitemap. To receive funds, recipients will need to create a PayPal account.
To learn more about OA’s translation policies, see Guidelines for Translation of OA Literature and Materials on the Translation page mentioned above.
To contribute, visit oa.org/contribute and select “Translation Fund” in the “Designation” drop-down menu.
What’s New from WSO
NEW! Temporary Sponsors: Newcomers’ First Twelve Days
Sponsorship is a vital part of the OA recovery process, as it builds a tight-knit, trusting Fellowship and invests purposefully in newcomers. To this end, Temporary Sponsors can help increase the number of sponsors available to newcomers and instill confidence in members who are new to sponsoring. The idea is to partner newcomers with temporary sponsors, who can guide them through the pivotal first days of their OA journey.
Stamp out feelings of intimidation about sponsoring and give service to jump-start a newcomer’s experience with Temporary Sponsors: Newcomers’ First Twelve Days, one of the newest pieces of literature to receive the Conference Seal of Approval. Find it by going to oa.org/sitemap and clicking the “Temporary Sponsors” link. Translate the page, if needed, using the translation tool at the top of the web page or download the PDF and take it to your next meeting to share with other members.
Revised Public Information Service Manual
Create an effective plan to carry the message in your community with the newly revised Public Information Service Manual. This comprehensive Manual guides groups and service bodies in creating a Public Information Committee and developing plans to communicate about OA through public media.
The Manual includes definitions, resource lists, suggestions, sample press releases, and transcripts for public service announcements (PSAs) so that anyone who is willing to do this service can learn. The newly revised edition also makes it easy to find supporting materials on OA’s website following the website’s March 2020 redesign. Find the Public Information Service Manual (#762) at bookstore.oa.org.
Meeting Transition Guidance Letter
Unprecedented public health challenges have affected nearly every facet of our lives, including our OA Fellowship. While social distancing may have changed our routines, it has not diminished our commitment to the group’s primary purpose, “to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers” (Tradition Five). In that vein, the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees has posted an OA Meeting Transition Guidance Letter, which offers suggestions for groups that are transitioning to virtual meetings. In particular, the letter offers reminders to maintain the group conscience, points to existing OA resources that may be helpful, and discusses the importance of maintaining Seventh Tradition contributions and our Tradition of anonymity. The EC and WSO hope this letter will provide a template for moving through our present difficulties with serenity. Find the letter in the Document Library under category “Meeting Resources.”
Q: We have had a query at the service body level about the Seventh Tradition. Is it a requirement or a suggestion for service body representatives to contribute at their service body meetings? In other words, should a Seventh Tradition take place at service body meetings?
A: Intergroups and service boards can choose through their group conscience to take a Seventh Tradition at their meetings to cover rent of the premises and other expenses; however, Seventh Tradition is always voluntary.
When I was an intergroup representative, and the intergroup asked for a Seventh Tradition contribution, I can remember thinking, “Aren’t I doing enough for OA? Why are they asking me for more?”
Then, I noticed someone put twenty dollars in the collection, and I thought, “Why would they do that?”
I eventually asked them, and they said, “I am so grateful to be well enough to do service. I spent far more than that on a binge.”
After that, I gave what I could afford, which was two dollars at the time. I now give five dollars at any meeting, whether it is a group meeting or a service body meeting.
Send your questions about the Traditions or other OA business to firstname.lastname@example.org and get a response from members of the OA Board of Trustees. Or, see the 2010–2019 Ask-It Basket archive posted in the Document Library at oa.org.
Send Us Your Stories! The next deadline for Lifeline is July 15 for the following topics:
International Day Experiencing Abstinence and Twelfth Step Within Day
Help us celebrate IDEA this November 21–22 and Twelfth Step Within Day on December 12 by sharing your story about how abstinence or Twelfth Step Within service has made a difference for you.
My Recovery Miracle
We often say, “Don’t leave before the miracle happens!” Share the story of your recovery miracle. How long did it take? Was it a recovery milestone? HP stepping in? A gift of desperation? What turning point brought you to seek help or took your recovery to the next level? What has your miracle meant to you?
55 Years of Lifeline: A Retrospective
Let’s bid Lifeline farewell in our final issue. How has Lifeline supported your recovery? Together we can commemorate Lifeline’s contributions to our Fellowship!
Bits and Bites, Focus on the Footwork, Living Traditions (Traditions Eleven and Twelve), Service and Recovery, Share It, and Step Study (Steps Eleven and Twelve), and The Spiritual Path.
Send your stories to email@example.com with subject “Lifeline.”