Trustee Positions Open for WSBC 2021 Elections
“Looking to the Future: One Day at a Time” is this year’s World Service Business Conference theme, which will convene in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA, April 21–24, 2021. This upcoming Conference will mark the beginning of a newly restructured schedule with board meetings taking place April 19–20, and then Conference officially opening with the Literature Q and A on Wednesday, April 21. Conference registration will open on Tuesday, April 20.

First Conference e-Documents
The First Conference e-Documents, posted in August 2020, are available on the Conference page at oa.org. They include a message from the chair of the board, the tentative agenda, the Delegate Registration form and instructions, the Trustee Application form and instructions, and the sample New Business Motion and Bylaws Amendment form (DOCX file). The Delegate Registration form and the Trustee Application form are interactive PDFs. Download the document, type directly into the PDF, save it, and email it with signatures, or print and mail it to the WSO. Also available on the Conference web page is the Final Conference Report for WSBC 2020.

Important Info for Delegates
Once again, the Delegate Registration form and instructions include the WSBC Privacy Policy. All delegates and alternates must read the policy, check the first box, and sign the policy to be formally registered for WSBC 2021. Further, if you are a resident of the European Economic Area, you must also check the second box to consent to your data being transferred outside the EEA as described in the Privacy Policy. You cannot be registered as a Conference delegate without returning a signed Policy with the appropriate boxes checked.

Trustee Nominees
Are you or someone you know interested in running for a trustee position? Download the Trustee Application form from the Document Library at oa.org under category “WSBC: Frequently Used Documents.” The following positions are open for 2021 elections:

  • Region Three: three-year term
  • Region Six: three-year term
  • Region Nine: three-year term
  • Virtual Region: three-year term
  • General Service: two positions for three-year terms and one position for a one-year term

Lodging
This year’s Conference will be held at Embassy Suites by Hilton Albuquerque. There is a US$145 per night lodging rate for single through quadruple occupancy, plus US$20.11 tax (tax rate is subject to change). The total per night with tax is US$165.11. This rate includes a two-room suite, breakfast, refrigerator, microwave, internet (lodging room only), and access to dinner shuttles running Tuesday through Friday evenings. The hotel reservation deadline is April 6, 2021. For online reservations, go to the WSBC web page and click the reservation link. You can also call the hotel directly at 1-505-245-7100 and use group code “OEA” to receive our special rate, which is available for hotel stays from April 18 to April 25, 2021.


Let’s All Shine at the 2021 World Service Convention
Make a plan to join us for fun and fellowship this August 26–28, 2021, at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld for OA’s 2021 World Service Convention. Together, we will celebrate “Walking in the Sunlight: One Day at a Time.” Visit the World Service Convention web page at oa.org for more information and join the Convention email list by sending your full name and email address to conventioninfo@oa.org.

Hotel reservations and convention registration will open in January 2021, and speaker and volunteer opportunities will be included on the registration form. For a tentative schedule of events, visit the Convention web page.

Spread the word and inspire others to attend with downloadable Convention bookmarks (for printing at home or taking to a professional printer)! Find the downloadable bookmarks on the Convention web page.

Questions? Send them to conventioninfo@oa.org.

Don’t miss the opportunity to strengthen your program and your friendships!


A Message from Our Chair
Bonnie L., Chair of the Board, General Service Trustee

I want to take a moment to acknowledge that this pandemic seems to have taken over our meetings at every level, and that many of us around the globe, myself included, are truly feeling a loss. For more than six months now, we’ve had a significant gap in our meeting experiences as we have known them. We have been unable to truly say, “As we join hands,” and we’ve had no hugs and no direct eye contact at meetings. This contact is vital to many of us. While we’ve all dived into new opportunities to bond globally through videoconference meetings, we are isolated as never before through the lack of physical human touch. I do treasure the ability to attend several virtual meetings a week, reaching far beyond any borders I might have imagined before. But, for me, the quantity of virtual meetings just can’t replace the quality of face-to-face fellowship that includes shared eye contact, the comforting touch of a hand, and the option to gather for coffee afterward. I pray that this too shall pass and that we will soon be able to gather together in a room to share our experience, strength, and hope.

“I pray that this too shall pass and that we will soon be able to gather together in a room to share our experience, strength, and hope.”

International Literature Shipments
Another challenge presented by the pandemic has been increased difficulties with our international literature shipments from the World Service Office. Shipping costs have gotten to be very high, and not all countries are accepting international shipments. After a brief discussion by the EC, it was determined the WSO would handle these orders on a case-by-case basis with the goal of minimizing disruption or delay. However, it is important for those outside the US to check with their country’s customs policies to determine if it is possible to receive a package from the US because these policies continue to change.

World Service Planning
How many times have we all heard the phrase “We plan, God laughs”? I haven’t heard a lot of laughter, but the Board of Trustees and the World Service Office continue to plan as best we can, one day at a time. We will meet virtually in October to approve the world service budget for 2021. At this time, we are moving forward to plan the 2021 World Service Business Conference, “Looking to the Future: One Day at a Time,” to be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico USA from April 21–24, 2021, as well as our 2021 World Service Convention, “Walking in the Sunlight: One Day at a Time,” to be held in Orlando, Florida USA from August 26–28, 2021. Updated information for both of these events will always be available on their respective pages at oa.org.

A Recovery Attitude
Given life’s recent challenges, I am holding on tight to a slogan I’ve heard: “I don’t have to like the situation I’m in, but I do have to like myself in the situation.” I can, indeed, like myself today, thanks to the guidance of a wonderful sponsor, trusted confidants whom I’ve met along the way, and the unconditional love of a Higher Power. Only through the consistent use of these tools, the priceless gifts of our program, can our Higher Power continue to “equip the called,” as I, a fellow compulsive eater, strive imperfectly to be of service in all areas of my life.


New Public Information Videos Deliver Hope
Have you seen OA’s new public information videos? One of them has 337,000 views! These videos are a great way for registered groups and service bodies to carry the OA message in 8-, 13-, 14-, and 60-second sound bites, and they emphasize to the isolated compulsive eater that they are safe and welcome to become one of many in our Fellowship. Check these videos out today at oa.org/podcasts (under “Public Information”). Share them with your fellow members, groups, and service bodies. Link the videos to your websites. Include them in your newsletters, use them at your public health events, and share them with your healthcare providers. Together we can inform our communities about the solution we have found in OA!

New Search Options Added to Find a Meeting
New categories have been added to Find a Meeting to make your search a little easier.

Get specific when you search for a literature or spirituality special-topic meeting. Subtopics added for literature meetings include “AA 12/12,” “Big Book,” “OA Second and/or Third Edition,” and “OA Steps and/or Traditions Study.” New subtopics for spirituality include “11th Step” and “Meditation.” To access any of these subtopic searches, go to oa.org/find-a-meeting, tap “Additional search options,” and then tap on the Special Topics submenu.

If you are looking for a virtual service body, go to Find a Meeting, tap the Find a Service Body tab on the far right, and then look no further than the new “No location – Virtual” option in the “Select your location” submenu.


A Message from Our Treasurer
Tina C., Treasurer, General Service Trustee

Hello, hello!

Dang. I just looked around, and it’s still 2020. Really, HP?!

Of course, as the BOT treasurer, it shouldn’t really matter to me what year it is—my message is one of strength, hope, recovery, and . . . finances!

2020 Contributions
Thank you, thank you, thank you! OA actually recorded its highest mid-year monthly contributions ever! But we are still a little behind last year’s figures, which, considering it is the year of the pandemic, is pretty good! But lest we rest on our laurels, listed below are additional contribution suggestions for 2020:

  • Check with your service body about their contributions and encourage them to pass it forward so that excess contributions reach the WSO.
  • How about your group’s Seventh Traditions as well as your own contributions? Because of the pandemic and the switch to virtual meetings, some individuals are maintaining envelopes of their weekly contributions for “when they get back together.” Unfortunately for many meetings, this will not be in the near future. But I’ve also heard of some individuals taking their money envelopes and doing their own 60-30-10 split: 60 percent to their group, 30 percent to the WSO, and 10 percent to their region. Perhaps suggest to individuals that they do the same and send this money forward.
  • What is your group’s prudent reserve? One group I know of had $580 in their prudent reserve, but because they are now meeting by videoconference, their monthly expenses have dropped to less than $20. While the Seventh Tradition encourages us to be self-supporting, it also reminds us to send the excess forward. Could some of that income be passed on?
  • Establish an Automatic Recurring Contribution (ARC) by visiting oa.org/contribute and selecting “Make this a recurring gift.” ARCs are safe, fast, and efficient and can be done on a monthly or quarterly basis. It’s also possible to set up multiple ARCs so all your meetings are covered.

The Best Way to Contribute
Unless it’s impossible because of your country’s monetary policies, always make your normal world service contributions (whether originating from an individual, group, or service body) through oa.org/contribute instead of using an outside online payment system. Our Seventh Tradition Contribution page is safe and secure, and it records your contributions and designations in a specific way that helps automate the steps the WSO must take to process your payment. With outside online payment systems, however, WSO staff must go through each transaction line by line and manually record each bit of information, and this can take twenty minutes per donation, meaning some or all of the contribution is spent on just processing the payment. If you must contribute a different way, contact the WSO and the staff will assist you.

“Always make your normal world service contributions . . . through oa.org/contribute instead of using an outside online payment system. Our Seventh Tradition Contribution page is safe and secure, and it . . . helps automate the steps the WSO must take to process your payment.”

It’s All About Recovery
However you decide to change your Seventh Tradition contributions in response to the changes 2020 has brought, I hope everyone continues the forward financial flow. The world continues to be in turmoil, and this means the compulsive eater needs us more than ever. It also means the WSO, the Board of Trustees, regions, committees, and groups must continue OA’s invaluable work, each and every day—and that takes service and money.

Many, many thanks for your contributions and your service!


What’s New from WSO

OA Bookstore Has New Look
The OA bookstore at bookstore.oa.org has been redesigned, and the updated, streamlined look is inspired by extensive feedback we’ve received from OA members. Now included on the main page are direct links to trending items, and product categories are clearly listed from the get-go. Members will also enjoy easier management of mailing addresses and account information and a smoother checkout process. Head over to bookstore.oa.org from your desktop computer to experience the new design!

Where Do I Start?  for Newcomers Now an E-book; Pairs with New Sponsorship Guide Download
We’ve heard your concerns! Newcomers are showing up to virtual meetings, but it’s challenging to quickly give them some OA literature. To help solve this difficulty and further spread the OA promise of hope, we’ve made our thirty-two-page Where Do I Start? pamphlet for newcomers available in e-book formats from Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Apple Books for about US$1. Go to amzn.to/35WTcg6 or bit.ly/3kHA7my or apple.co/3i1StwR to purchase from these respective retailers.

Go one step further! Temporary Sponsors: Newcomers’ First Twelve Days is designed to work hand-in-hand with Where Do I Start? and gives you a twelve-day guide for reading and discussion to help you temporarily sponsor a newcomer. Temporary Sponsors is Conference-approved literature available for free as a PDF download at oa.org/document-library.


Modest Face-to-Face Meeting Is Now Crackling Online with Recovery
Here’s a trick question: When is the 7:15 a.m. meeting not the 7:15 a.m. meeting?

Answer: When it’s the 4:15 a.m. meeting in San Diego . . . and the 12:15 p.m. in London, the 2:15 p.m. in Nairobi, and the 9:15 p.m. in Forbes, New South Wales, Australia.

OA members from thirty-two countries (shown in green) have attended this 7:15 a.m. virtual meeting.

Nowadays, a once-modest meeting of about ten attendees that (pre-pandemic) was terrestrially tied to a church’s meeting space in New York City gathers at all those times and more—fourteen time zones altogether. By an unofficial count, OA members from thirty-two countries and twenty-four US states have attended. The virtual incarnation of this meeting has grown in other ways too: While the face-to-face meeting used to meet five days a week and forty-five minutes per meeting, the virtual group now meets seven days a week for seventy-five minutes each meeting. Attendance has skyrocketed to more than 150 members, and here are a few perspectives about the meeting’s success:

Julie N. of New York City has been in Overeaters Anonymous for fifteen years and attended the 7:15 a.m. face-to-face meeting off and on throughout that time. She’s now a steady attendee of the virtual meeting and appreciates that the meeting’s format, which includes a short lead by a speaker on a rotation of topics, was migrated to a virtual meeting format without much change. The format also includes a segment for newcomers to give their day counts. Someone timed that portion of the meeting one day, and it lasted seven-and-a-half minutes.

“The virtual group now meets seven days a week for seventy-five minutes each meeting. Attendance has skyrocketed to more than 150 members.”

Isabel B. from Teddington, England, began attending OA meetings in 2007 and had 129 days of abstinence when we chatted. She said, “I’ve had periods of abstinence, different home groups, and different sponsors, and I’ve worked the Steps the Big Book way. But I couldn’t find in London what I’ve found in this virtual meeting. There is a very strong sense of being heard—the day count, for example. I have never experienced anything like that before.” Isabel also cited the energy of the room. “People seem to be enjoying their recovery and loving giving it away. It crackles out of the screen!”

That crackling even led to a face-to-face meeting for Isabel. “I met up with someone who came down from Manchester,” she said, “and when we met, we could not speak for a few moments, because we were so overcome by being face to face with each other.”

“People seem to be enjoying their recovery and loving giving it away.”

Four thousand miles (6,400 km) away, Karey C. of suburban Chicago said she and an OA fellow did the same thing. “We first met in the 7:15 a.m. virtual meeting, which is at 6:15 a.m. in Chicago. When we decided to meet in person, we were together for four hours. We took a bike ride along Lake Michigan, and then we just sat there on a bench with masks on. When we were done, we said, ‘Wow, we just had a meeting!’ She said, ‘You feel like my sister.’”

Karey had been in Overeaters Anonymous for two days when she found the 7:15 a.m. meeting. “It was brand new to me. I was trying to follow the rule of going to six different meetings, and it was Isabel who wrangled me in with how open she is. I was telling my husband, ‘Oh my God—these people, they’re clapping and everything!’ There are so many people who attend, yet it feels so intimate.” Karey now claims ninety-one days of abstinence—the same ninety-one days that she’s been attending the 7:15 a.m. meeting.

Julie N. offers two factors for the virtual meeting’s success. “I believe that this meeting has been posted on the OA Foot Steps Virtual Intergroup web page, which has brought it to the attention of a lot of people around the world.” (OA Foot Steps Virtual Intergroup registered with the World Service Office in February 2020.) “I also think,” she continued, “that because of the time of day, it works for a lot of people. If it were at 7:15 in every time zone, maybe it wouldn’t be as popular.”
Julie’s actually not sure if she’ll return to the face-to-face meeting when it reopens. “I like the people I see in the virtual meeting, and I feel more useful in the virtual meeting,” she said. “I might go to the face-to-face meeting sometimes, just to have the in-person experience.”

On the other hand, Isabel from the United Kingdom has a new item on her bucket list: “I’m really looking forward to going to New York City and going to that meeting in person. That will happen.”

After the interviews for this story were conducted, members at a business meeting of the face-to-face group decided to reopen the face-to-face meeting on September 28. The face-to-face and virtual meetings will maintain a sibling relationship but will have separate trusted servants and separate treasuries.

Melinda G., one of the members who bridged the meeting’s transition to a virtual format, contributed to this story.


Lifeline Magazine Will Live On in OA Literature
Lifeline magazine, our much-beloved “Meeting on the Go,” will see its production come to an end in December 2020 after fifty-five years of publication. Since the original 2018 announcement of its discontinuing, many OA members have enthusiastically expressed their gratitude for the support and community that Lifeline has provided over the years.

Lifeline was conceived in the early 60s, when our founder, Rozanne S., and others recognized the need for a “sharing place for O.A. ideas and news” and “a forum for the thoughts, feelings and growth of the individual O.A. member.” The magazine’s pledge was to “minimize the geographical handicaps to communication between groups” and “grow and respond to the needs . . . of its participants . . . represent the O.A. way of life as it is offered in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and serve as a supporting companion in our daily lives” (Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, p. 199). Lifeline has indeed lived up to this pledge, peaking at 25,000 subscribers in 1990 and declining steadily ever since as digital communications began bridging the geographical barriers to communication across the Fellowship.

Though we are saddened to see our magazine go, loyal Lifeline fans will continue to have the opportunity to dive in and rediscover Lifeline’s real stories of recovery through our thoughtful compendiums of past Lifeline articles. These books are available in print from the online shops mentioned below and in e-book formats for Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Barnes and Noble Nook.

Lifeline Sampler was first printed in 1985 and is now reissued as a print-on-demand paperback solely through Amazon. This OA classic has not seen its compelling messages of hope and recovery dull over time and features members writing candidly about their struggles and successes with compulsive eating. Pick up a paperback copy at amzn.to/33NmSK3 to see keen spiritual insights abound on timeless topics, such as abstinent living, slips and relapse, food and weight, and the Steps and Traditions themselves!

Seeking the Spiritual Path: A Collection from Lifeline is written for OA members by OA members and contains more than seventy stories of spiritual recovery and discovery. Buy your softcover copy (#978) at bookstore.oa.org and join fellow OA members on their introspective, personal journeys to belief as they explore such topics as their Higher Power, spiritual practices and other tools for growth, and experiences as agnostics and atheists in program.

Taste of Lifeline is the contemporary successor to Lifeline Sampler and is available as a softcover book (#970) from bookstore.oa.org. Taste of Lifeline shares more than one hundred stories from OA members, whose diverse experiences reflect the breadth of our program and act as a rich resource for us all. Newcomers, longtimers, those experiencing slips or relapses, sponsors, sponsees, and international members will all find stories that resonate within these pages. Additionally, Taste of Lifeline contains a section of writing prompts to inspire your use of the Tool of writing. Journal your responses to these prompts and share your thoughts and reactions with your sponsor, sponsee, and group to strengthen your recovery.

Thousands of individual back issues of Lifeline (#820) are available for purchase for US$4 each through bookstore.oa.org. If you prefer the portability (and gift-ability!) of single magazine issues, put a few back issues in your cart today!

As we close this chapter in OA’s history, let’s share a moment of gratitude for all of the Lifeline contributors, subscribers, group representatives, special workers, and trusted servants who touched our lives and strengthened our recoveries in this unique way. Thank you for your many years of hope and service!


Apply for Translation Assistance Funds by February 1, 2021
Special funds are available to help translate OA literature into other languages. More literature in your language means more meetings and a growing Fellowship.

Recent Translation Assistance Fund allocations include US$5,500 awarded to Native Space Intergroup in Russia to translate both Overeaters Anonymous, Third Edition and Taste of Lifeline into Russian and US$4,200 awarded to Iran’s OA National Service Board to translate Abstinence, Second Edition into Persian.

Help OA grow in your language! Complete the Translation Assistance Fund application and send it to the WSO by February 1, 2021. You can download the application from the Translation of OA Literature and 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.

Support future OA translations by making a designated contribution to the Translation Assistance Fund. Visit oa.org/contribute and select “Translation Assistance Fund” in the “Designation” drop-down menu.


Apply for Professional Exhibits Funds
The Professional Exhibits Fund has over US$13,000 available to help your service body participate in a trade conference or a convention for professionals who may refer patients and clients to OA. Take a look at the application to see what expenses OA 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 “Public Information.”


Send a Delegate Support Fund Contribution by November 1
Help strengthen OA’s worldwide group conscience at WSBC 2020 by making a contribution to the Delegate Support Fund. Applications for funding will be reviewed in November, so now is your chance to add to the fund and support delegate attendance at World Service Business Conference 2021.

It is critically important for the strength of OA worldwide that the voice of OA’s entire community be heard at Conference. Decisions affecting OA for years to come are made each year at WSBC, and input is needed from all service bodies to truly represent OA as a whole.

To contribute, go to oa.org/contribute and select “Delegate Support Fund” from the “Designation” drop-down menu.


Ask-It Basket
Q: In my home group (as well as in many other OA meetings) there seems to be a divide as to whether we should continue to pay rent to the facilities that we normally meet in, due to the fact that we are not meeting there at present. Some members feel it is in good faith to continue to pay rent, and that paying rent will hold our meeting place until we return. Others think that we only need to pay rent when we are present at the meeting place, that the church or other facility is an outside enterprise and we should treat them as we would a hotel. Since this is new territory for our OA groups, I would like to hear a world service perspective.

A: There is no official response that we can give you. I have asked for experiences from other region trustees, and the answers I have received are varied. Most of the responses were that different groups have chosen different approaches:

Some groups had prepaid their rent and their host organization returned the money. Other hosts chose not to return the money, but to credit the group for a future time when they can meet in person.

Some meetings paid rent for a period of time, but as the isolation has continued, they stopped paying rent.

Some meetings have chosen to continue paying some or all of the rent in order to support the host organization and remain assured that the group will have a place to meet once the emergency has passed and we can meet face-to-face again.

Some meetings have chosen not to pay rent, because they feel that they pay for the use of the room, and since they cannot use the room, they are not required to pay for the unused space.

It is a matter of group conscience. There appears to be no right or wrong answer.

Q: I would like to know if you have any recommendations for how to handle people who come to an Overeaters Anonymous video chat meeting but do not show their faces and refuse to give their names or identify themselves in any way. Are we allowed to block them from the meeting, or would we be breaking a Tradition by doing so? I would appreciate your reply, as the question keeps coming up for many different groups.

A: This is a great question, one that we get pretty often now because of the mass switch to online meetings.

Usually the protocol would be to ask the person for their name or where they are visiting from. If you still don’t get an answer, then it would be a group decision as to whether the dashboard monitor would say to this person, “Please identify yourself so that we may welcome you.”

I always remember how difficult it was for me to introduce myself at my first meeting. However, if you feel you are being visited by non-OA members, then I would suggest you bring this up at your business meeting and make a decision about whether you want to remove people who are not willing to say hello and become part of the group. In your discussions, please remember Tradition Three: “The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively.”

Send your questions about the Traditions or other OA business to info@oa.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.


OA Event Days

International Day Experiencing Abstinence
Observed Saturday and Sunday, November 21–22, 2020. IDEA is our opportunity to gather around the world and begin or affirm our abstinence.

Twelfth Step Within Day
Saturday, December 12, 2020. Twelfth Step Within Day is a day to reach out to the still-suffering compulsive eater in our Fellowship.


Secretaries: Update Your Meeting Info at OA.org and with Your Service Body
The WSO wants your group’s most current meeting details. Go to Edit a Meeting at oa.org to update your information so that members in recovery and still-suffering compulsive eaters can locate meetings they can attend.
While we are affected by social distancing, it is best to send meeting updates to your service body as well.
Thank you for your service!


Current OA Flyers to Download and Share
Glossary Volunteer Flyer (interactive)

Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide and Participant Guide Flyer

Automatic Recurring Contribution Flyer

Young Persons PDF flyer

A New Beginning Book Flyer