2020 Second Quarter

Inside this edition
Message from Our Chair
New Service Bodies
Website Redesign
Message from Our Treasurer
Whats New From WSO
Professional Exhibit Funds
Translation Assistance

WSBC 2020 Is Proceeding Online with Limited Agenda

For the first time in OA’s sixty-year history, World Service Business Conference has gone online due to unprecedented public health circumstances that have restricted OA’s Fellowship from holding a face-to-face Conference. Despite the restrictions, OA must move forward to elect trustees, since this is necessary to fulfill OA’s legal requirements as a registered nonprofit. In addition, all literature proposals will remain on the business agenda because literature sales are essential to our Seventh Tradition and program message.

WSBC 2020 was originally scheduled to take place April 20–25 but instead was opened on April 13 with a goal to close by April 29. The extension will afford delegates a reasonable amount of time to engage during question-and-answer periods and vote using online tools.

Trustee Elections
This year, elections will be held to fill six trustee positions from among the following nominees:

  • Region One (three-year term) Margie G.
  • Region Four (three-year term) Meg M.
  • Region Seven (three-year term) Karen B.
  • General Service (two three-year terms) BJ (Betty) J., Ron P.

New Literature Proposals
Delegates will vote on whether to give the Conference Seal of Approval to four publications:

  • In OA, Recovery is Possible
  • Temporary Sponsors: Newcomers’ First Twelve Days
  • To the Young Person
  • A Lifetime of Abstinence

Postponed Business Motions and Bylaws Amendments
The following motions and amendments were approved for the WSBC 2020 agenda by a majority of responding OA service bodies worldwide but will not be considered due to public health orders that prevent delegates from gathering in person for business meetings. These business items will have to be resubmitted, along with any other new business, for consideration at WSBC 2021.

New Business Motions:
A. Amend OA’s Statement on Abstinence and Recovery to allow verbiage changes only in years ending in zero
B. Create a hybrid meetings definition
C. Designate July as OA Service Month
D. Amend OA’s Statement on Abstinence and Recovery to revert to the 2018 verbiage
E. Amend the OA events policy to rename weekend-long events as “weekends” instead of “days”
G. Establish logistics and support mechanisms to allow virtual attendance of visitors to WSBC 2021
J. Include stories and/or quotes from members from diverse populations when developing new and updating existing literature
K. Amend the OA Preamble to include under-eating, food addiction, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and overexercising

Amendments to OA Bylaws, Subpart B:

  1. Amend Article IX – Board of Trustees, Section 1 – Composition to institute the new board restructuring plan
  2. Amend Article IX – Board of Trustees, Section 4 – Qualifications to institute the new board restructuring plan
  3.  Amend Article IX – Board of Trustees, Section 5 – Nomination of Trustees to institute the new board restructuring plan
  4. Amend Article IX – Board of Trustees, Section 3 – Term of Office to allow trustees to serve no more than eight years total
  5. Amend Article VI – Intergroups, Article VII – Regions, Article VIII – Service Boards to consolidate content into one section in the bylaws
  6. Amend Article VIII – Service Boards, Section 2 – Composition to redefine a language service board
  7. Amend Article V – Overeaters Anonymous Groups, Section 2 – Composition to specify the definition of hybrid meetings
  8. Amend Article X – Meetings of Delegates, Section 5 – Voting to require the board to vote last in a delegate vote
  9. Amend Article VII – Regions, Section 2 – Composition (housekeeping)
  10. Amend Article X – Meetings of Delegates, Section 3 – Delegates (housekeeping)

Conference e-Documents and Results
All WSBC delegate e-Documents are still available to download from the WSBC web page.

For vote results, visit the WSBC web page after Conference and read the results in the Third Quarter issue of A Step Ahead when it is published on June 29.

2020 World Service Convention: Early-Bird Pricing and Tentative Agenda
Join OA members from around the world at OA’s 2020 Convention, which will be held August 20–22 in sunny Orlando, Florida USA. This year’s Convention theme, “Sunshine of the Spirit: 60 Years Around the Sun!” celebrates the experience, strength, and hope OA members have shared over the years. You can show your spirit and spread the word with Convention bookmarks, now available for download from the World Service Convention web page.

Convention Registration and Hotel Reservations
Hotel reservations and early-bird registration are now open, but space is limited, so sign up now to get the best rates and guarantee your place at OA’s largest celebration of recovery. More lodging and registration information can be found on our Convention web page. If you are concerned about current public health restrictions extending into August, know that you can sign up now and cancel by July 24, less a US$20 nonrefundable fee.

Tentative Agenda Posted
A tentative agenda, featuring eighty workshops, keynote speakers, entertainment, dancing, and more, is also posted on the website. Workshop topics will cover every important area of recovery, including:

  • The Twelve Steps, Traditions, and Concepts
  • The Tools of Recovery
  • Abstinence
  • Higher Power and spirituality
  • Prayer and meditation
  • Sponsorship
  • Recovery from relapse
  • Intimacy and relationships
  • Body image
  • Special focus such as men, young people, and 100-pounders
  • Carrying the message
  • Virtual meetings

Get Email Updates
If you’re interested in receiving the latest Convention information, please email conventioninfo@oa.org and request to be placed on the electronic mailing list. Please provide your full name, state/province, country, and email address. Your information will be kept confidential to the World Service Office.

Service Opportunities
If you’re interested in participating as a workshop speaker or volunteer, be sure to sign up when you register for Convention. Look for speaker options and volunteer positions on the registration form.
The 2020 World Service Convention will also offer a Fellowship Lounge, a Boutique, and
a Unique Boutique (gently used clothing at reduced prices). Check the Convention page for details.

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

An outside slogan that many of us are familiar with is “Keep calm and carry on,” and I’m grateful to see this attitude in action among groups, intergroups, service boards, regions, OA’s Board of Trustees, and our special workers. Everyone is pulling together to make adjustments and carry on with our primary purpose: to carry the message of recovery to the still-suffering compulsive eater. I wish to thank you for your service, especially in this time of rapid and significant change.

In a time like this, the wisdom of Tradition Four, which states, “Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or OA as a whole,” serves to strengthen the Fellowship. Faster and more effectively than a directive from OA World Service, groups have been enabled to respond to their local challenges and instructions, such as the closures of meetings held at health care facilities and sweeping directives for individuals to stay at home, that have made face-to-face meetings unwise or impossible. Even the World Service Office has closed, and while WSO staff are working from home to keep the basics functioning, their government-mandated closure is a reminder that our program is robust and able to continue because we have our Steps, Traditions, Tools, Concepts, and each other to rely on.

Together, we still have lots of new business and service opportunities to look forward to for the rest of 2020. We are challenged now like never before to extend the hand and heart to someone who may be newly isolated by our circumstances. We may need to teach a fellow member how to participate in a virtual meeting. We have new literature to disseminate to the Fellowship, including a new book, Body Image, Relationships, and Sexuality, which has been in development for the past three years thanks to the persistent voices of young people in OA. We have been challenged to consider alternatives for WSBC where the only business will be trustee elections and literature motions and we rely on our faith—in the Fellowship, in ourselves, in our Higher Power, and in our Traditions and Concepts—as we wait patiently for updated safety information from our governments. And, we continue to anticipate celebrating the solution found in our Twelve Steps in the biggest way we know how: World Service Convention.

Let’s all stretch our recovery muscles and push for an even greater trust in and reliance on our collective experience, strength, and hope. Together we can!

New Design and New Features for OA.org
Cyndy L., Website Review Committee Chair

The newly revised oa.org has been out for a couple of months, and we hope you are enjoying the new look. The launch of the new look and features is the culmination of a year’s worth of work on the part of the Board of Trustee’s Website Review Committee, World Service Office staff, and other special workers who are proficient in website design.

Guided Journey
One of the popular ideas in website design these days is to take your user on a journey through the site, leading the user from one section to another. The goal is to help users locate the information most pertinent to what they need at that time. For us, this has meant making our website more welcoming to visitors who know nothing about OA but are looking for an answer to their issues with food. Their journey begins from the first moment they land on oa.org, which asks, “Is OA right for you?” Clicking “Let’s find out” takes the user to a quiz featuring OA’s Fifteen Questions.

As the user answers the questions, they are offered other ways to explore the website, such as listening to podcasts and member stories, to help them get a feel for what OA has to offer. The second and third sections of the site addresses OA basics, giving a person who has perhaps visited a few meetings a better understanding of the importance of abstinence, the Steps, Traditions, and Tools. A fourth section addresses service and the importance of participating fully in this aspect of OA. The journey is completed when the user visits Find a Meeting and looks for a meeting to attend.

Easier Navigation and Search
In addition, the website’s navigation and features have been streamlined to help get longtime OA members to their destinations on the website more quickly. The main navigation menu has been streamlined and new drop-down menus have been added throughout the site so that each page is limited to a discrete topic, yet it is easy to jump between pages. Among these pages is one for OA members who are struggling with slips or relapse and are looking for pro- gram resources to gain relief from the disease of compulsive eating.

A new Document Library page offers a search feature and allows users to quickly filter OA’s online documents by category. We hope this change eliminates the frustration members experienced with the previous design.

A consolidated FAQs page addresses many of the Traditions-related questions and other questions that the Board of Trustees and WSO receive throughout the year. Topics addressed include meetings, literature, contributions, events, and more.

Our most popular page, Find a Meeting, has an improved response time for searches and a cleaner display for the results.

These and all the other features from the previous design of our website have been given a facelift and simplified to give our audience the best user experience possible. The site continues to be responsive to mobile devices since most of our visitors use their cell phones to access information.

Improved Data Privacy Practices
Our website now includes a plug-in utility that appears at the bottom of the browser window to inform first-time and anonymous visitors of how an individual’s online browser data is collected and used on the OA website. Further, a comprehensive Privacy Policy is accessible from the home page. These privacy measures bring OA into compliance with data privacy laws that have emerged worldwide, such as the General Data Protection Regulation that protects OA members living in the European Economic Community.

Share the Site; Spread the Word
The Website Review Committee sees the launch of the new website as a public information opportunity for members to share about OA with friends and family. We encourage you to ask someone you know to look at the site. Ask them what their impression is. Who knows where the conversation might lead? We carry the message; we are the message; and oa.org is just another way that we can share about how we are here to help all who suffer from the disease of compulsive eating.

A Message from Our Treasurer
Cyndy L., Treasurer, Region Four Trustee

I want to begin by saying that I’m praying that all my OA fellows are safe and cared for in this time of crisis. I’m certain that prayer is the one thing we can do to strengthen our hope and share our fears and concern for one another. I am pleased at the innovation of the many groups who are quickly coming up with solutions to our unusual circumstances. Face-to-face meetings are quickly learning what the virtual part of our Fellowship has known for some time: recovery is possible in the digital world. It’s the connection that keeps us strong and committed to recovery. May we all reach out to one another during and in between our scheduled meetings to ensure that none are left alone to suffer from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors during this stressful time.

When I started drafting this article, I thought I’d be writing about OA’s annual audit and how well we were doing at the end of 2019. (Funny how life can change in just a few weeks.) Today, though, I want to focus on a financial concern as our Fellowship makes meeting adjustments to keep the connection going. Many of our members are opting to temporarily change their meetings from face-to-face to a virtual platform. I fully support those decisions. I do want to suggest that we all continue to make our contributions, either by setting the money aside in an envelope or by writing a check to be submitted to the group treasurer, rather than making a promise to do something later, because OA is dependent on monthly contributions. Even with OA’s 2019 windfall of US$237,641, which came from the sales of new literature, we would not be able to cover all the expenses in our $1.9 million budget without the monthly checks we receive from our meetings and service bodies.

If you are someone whose income is affected by the current world situation, don’t worry; give what
you can later when things are better. I’m addressing those who are in the position
to continue their contributions while we wait for this period of social distancing to pass.
OA is directly responsible for my good health, which will make it possible for me to remain in recovery through this pandemic. That gives me much to be grateful for, and I will be sharing my gratitude with OA.

This year, we have 340 OA members making automatic recurring contributions (ARCs) to the World Service Office. Together, their contributions total US$7,108 every month. Making an ARC is an excellent and convenient way to ensure you are making contributions on a routine basis, and it is easy to set up on the Seventh Tradition Contribution page at oa.org/ contribute. Thank you to those of you who are already making ARC contributions.

On a personal note, this will be my last article for A Step Ahead. It has been an honor to serve on your OA Board of Trustees for the past six years, and the memories I take with me will be treasured forever. I remain yours in service.

News From the WSO

Second Edition of the Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide Plus New Participant Guide
The Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide, Second Edition (#960-2) is our most in-depth resource for leading groups or individual sponsees through OA’s Twelve Steps. This new Second Edition has been updated for easy and accurate reference to the Twelve and Twelve, Second Edition book and contains leader scripts, working-the-Steps Worksheets, and hand-selected readings from OA-approved literature.

Available separately, the Participant Guide for Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide, Second Edition (#965) conveniently brings together the important pages that participants will use in their Twelve Step Workshop journey. The Participant Guide includes Step homework and reading assignments, working-the-Steps Worksheets, and a helpful Step Four Glossary. Carrying the Participant Guide allows a workshop attendee or sponsee to focus on their Step work, without the distraction of the leader’s scripts found in the main Guide.

Find both the Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide, Second Edition (#960-2) and the Participant Guide for Twelve Step Workshop and Study Guide, Second Edition (#965/#966) at bookstore.oa.org.

Revised OA Business Glossary
Just in time for WSBC, our trusted servants have revised the OA Business Glossary for clarity and accuracy. Among the changes are amended definitions of anonymity and virtual groups, as well as the inclusion of “OA Birthday.” Download it from the Document Library under the category “WSBC: Frequently Used Documents.”

Updated 2020 Order Form and Catalog
We’ve just released new literature items (see above), so make sure you are using our latest OA Literature Catalog and Order Form. Find both documents in the Document Library under the “Literature” category and at bookstore.oa.org under “Ordering Tools” in the top menu bar.

Latest Edition of the Professional Community Courier
Carry the message of Overeaters Anonymous to referring professionals by giving them a copy of our latest annual edition of the Professional Community Courier. Update your literature stock with this edition to ensure you communicate accurate information about additional OA literature resources available to our allies in the health and wellness professions. Find the new Courier in the Document Library under “Courier” and on the Professionals page.

Updated Ask-It Basket Archive
Dive deep into OA’s Steps, Traditions, and bylaws by reading through nearly a decade of trustee answers to member questions, compiled handily in our Ask-It Basket Archive. We’ve updated our Archive to include questions and responses from 2018 and 2019, and we have revised all Twelve and Twelve literature references to point to the second edition. All website references have also been updated.

The Board of Trustees takes questions from our membership very seriously, and the Archive provides a closer, more detailed look into how questions of program, whether personal or pursuant to more general issues, can shed light on the hope and freedom found pursuing OA’s Twelve Steps. Find the Ask-It Basket Archive in the Document Library under the “Ask-It Basket” category.

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 a 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 under category “Outreach to Professionals.”

Translation Assistance Fund Applications Due June 1
Money 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 Translation page mentioned above.

To contribute, visit oa.org/contribute and select “Translation Fund” in the designation drop-down menu.