Can groups require a certain length of abstinence for a service position?
Yes. There are some service positions that require certain lengths of abstinence. Many established groups have abstinence requirements for the service positions of chair, treasurer, and secretary, because group members rely on leaders living in the sanity of recovery rather than the insanity of the disease. Every group benefits from the participation of all members, abstinent or not.
Do I have to be abstinent to give service?
No. Giving service is a key tool for all OA members and helps strengthen our individual recovery. Attending meetings, calling and taking calls from other members, and setting up chairs at meetings are all important types of service and do not require abstinence.
Does the purchase of literature require approval?
A group conscience is often agreed upon before any purchases are made.
How long am I committing to service?
This varies and is up to the group.
Is the group treasurer responsible to order literature?
As treasurer of your group, you will be responsible to either purchase literature or reimburse members who do purchase literature for your group.
What does a group treasurer do?
In most groups, the treasurer position is elected for a stated period of time. Many groups have found it best to select a treasurer who is actively working the Twelve Steps, is abstaining, and has other group service experience. The main duties of the treasurer is to collect the weekly contributions and then pay the rent and any other expenses for the meeting. The treasurer also distributes the Seventh Tradition. For a more detail, review the Treasurer Guidelines.
What does a meeting’s secretary do?
In most groups, the secretary is the principal service volunteer for a stated period of time. Many groups have found it best to select a secretary who is actively working the Twelve Steps, is abstaining, and has other group service experience. Here is an abbreviated list of the typical duties of a group’s secretary:
The secretary is responsible for making sure that the local intergroup/service board, the region, and the WSO know of any changes to the meeting’s location, day, time, contact, or intergroup/service board affiliation. The secretary coordinates group activities including opening and setting up the meeting place, conducting necessary elections or appointing other group service positions, and presiding over steering committee meetings. The secretary makes announcements at meetings and ensures that others, like the intergroup rep, have time to report during the meeting. In most groups the secretary keeps the group’s records, including a file of OA birthdays, weekly sign-in sheets, lists of members willing to sponsor, records of steering committee meetings, and mailings from the WSO (adapted from OA Handbook for Members, Groups and Service Bodies). Visit our Secretary Materials page for documents that will be helpful if you are taking on the role of meeting secretary.
When can I give service?
You can give service right away. Carrying the message to the compulsive eater who still suffers is the basic purpose of our Fellowship; therefore, it is the most fundamental form of service. Any form of service—no matter how small—which helps reach a fellow sufferer adds to the quality of our own recovery. Getting to meetings, putting out chairs, putting out literature, and talking to newcomers are all ways that any OA member can give service (adapted from Tools of Recovery). Ask your group, intergroup/service board, or region about requirements for service beyond the group level.