— Meg M., Treasurer, Region Four Trustee

“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors—in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.”

Hello, recovery friends!

Yes! I often think about the empowering affirmation above (spoken by a television personality), which tells us we are valued— whether we’ve been in the rooms a few hours or several decades, whether we’ve come, gone, and returned, or even if we haven’t yet heard about OA. We are also asked to give and receive help. In this program, we learn to lean on people and to also strengthen our “accountability muscle” by being there for someone else. We do this by greeting both the newcomer and the humbled person who returned after a long hiatus, by sponsoring and mentoring, by sitting at a booth at a health fair, by leading a workshop or retreat, or by working with a committee.

We all have a chance in OA to be servant leaders, but what does this mean? This is all about making a contribution. We push up our sleeves and do the work of welcoming, encouraging, and empowering others. It means leading by example rather than with just words. It’s an opportunity to walk alongside our family in recovery. It is calling fellows on the phone—those we don’t know so well and those who challenge our beliefs and values.

It’s actively being patient, kind, and tolerant when dealing with our funky families, snarly coworkers, or the disgruntled public. It is pushing through the pandemic, stepping away from the vortex of despair and upheaval that we may be seeing or experiencing in the world around us, and turning our attention instead to a continued integration of new knowledge as we are able to release our shortcomings through the help of our Higher Power. It’s taking those five or ten minutes to close our eyes, breathe deeply, reach out for conscious contact, and let the swirl of turbulence slow, sputter, and stall. Try doing it on the phone or on a video call with another fellow and slip together into this calming cadence.

Contributing through servant leadership is the non-sparkly side of recovery. It is giving witness to a Fifth Step, holding vigil in the middle of the night with a member who is torn between sinking their teeth into sugar or surrendering to a Higher Power that they don’t yet know or understand. It is reaching out to our physically isolated members—those who can’t participate due to health or distance. It’s actively participating in a group or service body inventory with an open mind and heart. It is doggedly dropping off old Lifeline magazines and Bulletin Board Attraction Sticky Notes with our service body contact information.

Servant leadership is living the program alongside everyone else no matter how long or short our tenure in recovery. We reach out our hands and hearts to fellows, asking them for their experience and wisdom as we navigate the new and unfamiliar in our own lives. This bond of partnership is the spiritual connection through which we build our persistence and strength to outmatch our compulsion to eat the food that was killing us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

As this pandemic has continued to evolve, we’ve been offered ongoing opportunities to recover creatively, and I’ve seen many committees and fellows step up and develop innovative approaches to share the message of OA. As a fellow member, I’m both proud and humbled to be a part of this community, which has also continued making financial contributions so we can keep discovering and creating new ways to get this miracle of recovery into the minds and hearts of the still-suffering compulsive eater. We’ve been fortunate that the WSO has continued to keep the doors open, the phone calls answered, the literature orders shipped, the bills paid, and our website and social media active to continue to let the world know OA is a living solution. Our financial contributions are working hard to keep this flow going. Stay tuned for exciting ways in which you can participate in helping us get the word out as we explore new social media platforms.

Your contributions of creativity, currency, and connections with your fellows keep our communities vibrant and appealing to the newcomer, longtimer, and everyone in between. Thank you for being a deeply committed servant leader—for stepping up and saying “yes” to being a giver and a receiver.