A Step Ahead Newsletter

First Quarter 2020 | Volume 24, Number 1









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Motions and Bylaws Amendments Submitted for WSBC 2020

Nearly two hundred delegates of registered OA service bodies will give service at World Service Business Conference 2020 this April 20–25, 2020. Together they will determine the worldwide group conscience for new business items submitted by the Fellowship.

Held at the Embassy Suites Albuquerque Hotel, this year’s WSBC has been given the theme “OA Celebrates 60 Years! Looking to the Future!” and workshops will celebrate our history and focus on moving the program into the future.

Orientation for Delegates
WSBC will offer the workshop “All About Conference,” which will include an explanation of parliamentary procedure. WSBC will also host a “Meet the Maker” session again this year, which will take place on Wednesday, April 22. “Meet the Maker” allows delegates to learn more about the motions on the Conference agenda by engaging the makers of these motions in discussion and questions and answers.

Second Conference e-Documents
The Second Conference e-Documents were posted to the WSBC web page on January 10, 2020. Documents posted include the Agenda Questionnaire and New Business Motions and Bylaws Amendments that were submitted to the World Service Office by the December 10, 2019 postmarked deadline. The Agenda Questionnaire is available as a downloadable PDF, or service bodies can use the interactive survey link on the WSBC web page. Also posted is the Delegate Registration form and tentative Conference agenda.

New Business at WSBC
A summary of New Business Motions and Bylaws Amendments on the WSBC 2020 agenda is listed below:

  • Amend the Abstinence and Recovery policy statement to allow verbiage changes only in years ending in zero
  • Create a definition of hybrid meetings
  • Designate July as OA Service Month
  • Amend the OA events policy to rename weekend-long events as “weekends” instead of “days”
  • Add a Tool: pause
  • Establish logistics and support mechanisms to allow virtual attendance of visitors to WSBC 2021
  • Add a Tool: spiritual plan
  • Amend the “Unity with Diversity” Policy to simplify terms used
  • Include stories and/or quotes from members from diverse populations when developing new and updating existing literature
  • Amend the OA Preamble to include undereating, food addiction, anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and overexercising
  • Amend service board composition to redefine a language service board
  • Amend the Board of Trustees composition to institute the new restructuring plan
  • Amend the Board of Trustees qualifications to institute the new restructuring plan
  • Amend the Board of Trustees nominations to institute the new restructuring plan
  • Amend the Board of Trustees terms of office to allow trustees to serve no more than eight years total
  • Combine intergroups, service boards, and regions into one section of the OA Bylaws
  • Amend Overeaters Anonymous groups to specify hybrid meetings
  • Amend meetings of delegates voting to require the board to vote last
  • Amend the region composition (housekeeping) • Amend meetings of delegates (housekeeping)

Complete the Agenda Questionnaire
Intergroups and service boards should review the Agenda Questionnaire and vote on it. Return the completed Questionnaire by mail, fax, or email to the WSO, or complete the interactive survey, by February 20, 2020. This is a postmarked or electronic date-and-time-stamp deadline date.


Join us at the 2020 World Service Convention

You are invited to join OA members from around the world in sunny Orlando, Florida USA, for the 2020 World Service Convention as we unite in OA’s fellowship to celebrate the “Sunshine of the Spirit: 60 Years Around the Sun!”

The 2020 Convention will be held at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld®, August 20–22, 2020. Go to the World Service Convention page on the OA website for more information or join the Convention email list to receive information and updates. To join, send an email with your full name, state or country, and email address to conventioninfo@oa.org. Your information will be kept confidential to the World Service Office.

Check the OA website soon for hotel lodging and registration, which will open in late January.


New Tool for Service Bodies: Short Videos on Social Media

In today’s tech-savvy world, we are constantly bombarded with online ads, photos, and posts that compete for our attention as we scroll through our social media. With that in mind, OA’s Public Awareness Committee has hired special workers to produce four bright, eye-catching short videos to carry the message of Overeaters Anonymous. These short, shareable videos will help OA stand out in social media posts, catching the eyes of and encourage your service body to deploy them to help OA get noticed!

Members may also view and download two of the videos at oa.org/files/mp4/OA-1.mp4 and oa.org/files/mp4/OA-2.mp4. To maintain Tradition Eleven, it is suggested that individual OA members not share these videos so that they may “maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television, and other public media of communication.” If you or your service body is inspired to create an OA public information message for social media, send the World Service Office a copy! Email it to info@oa.org.


Event Calendar/Datebook Has Been Moved to OA’s Social Media Page

Is your service body hosting an event that you would like to broadcast to the wider membership of Overeaters Anonymous? Head on over to OA’s social media page at facebook.com/overeatersanonymousofficial and click the “Send Message” button to submit your event information to the World Service Office! There’s no longer a need for you to fill out the Event Calendar Submission form on oa.org, because we’re phasing it out in favor of the ease and accessibility of managing events on our social media page.

When you submit your event, remember to include all of your event details, including date and time, location, and contact information. Use a generic or anonymous email address if you’re including email contact information and ensure that the email contact person has given their consent to have their email address published online. If you would like to attach a flyer, drag and drop it directly into your message or click the paperclip icon to add an attachment. Finally, be sure to include your own contact information, if you haven’t already, so that the World Service Office may contact you with any questions. After that, sit back and watch for your event to become live to the more than 10,000 followers of our page!


OA Website Will Be Updated in 2020

After more than a year of committee work, oa.org will be refreshed in 2020. The OA website is where many still-suffering compulsive eaters first learn about OA and use Find a Meeting to seek OA recovery in their area.

The new version of the website will guide newcomers and make navigation easier for longtime members who are looking for the service documents and recovery information they need. A special announcement will be sent when the website is ready.



A Message from Our Chair

— Bonnie L., Chair of the Board, General Service Trustee

Your Board of Trustees had a busy and productive meeting in November 2019. Our agenda included approving the 2020 budget and reviewing eighteen motions for consideration. We also reviewed reports from the World Service Business Conference committees, and each committee continues to work diligently to accomplish their many tasks. It’s always interesting to read the reports and learn of their progress.

World Service Business Conference 2020
Our WSBC will take place in Albuquerque during April 20–25, 2020. The deadline to register is February 10, 2020. Each registered delegate has the opportunity to vote as we conduct the business of OA and elect new trustees to the board. WSBC is when the voice of each group can have the greatest impact on the future of OA, since delegates attend from all eleven OA regions. You can learn more about WSBC by searching “conference” at oa.org.

2020 World Service Convention
Be sure to mark your calendars for World Service Convention in Orlando, Florida USA, which will take place August 20–22, 2020. I always look forward to Convention. As a self-proclaimed “service junkie,” I’ve reaped many benefits from service beyond the group level. Convention, in particular, expands my knowledge of OA, puts me in touch with OA friends from around the world, and is an OA event that is family-friendly since our special hotel room rates mean that OA members and their families can enjoy the many attractions in Orlando before, during, and after Convention.

Downloadable OA Literature
Two pieces of OA literature have been made available in the OA bookstore as downloadable PDFs. OA Handbook for Members, Groups, and Service Bodies: Recovery Opportunities (#120) and Seventh Tradition of OA (#802DD) were selected because of their vital role in supporting OA groups and service bodies in the business of OA. We hope that by making these documents less expensive and downloadable, they’ll be more accessible to our members. When purchasing the OA Handbook, please keep in mind that you are downloading your personal copy of this literature. The OA Handbook is copyrighted material, and as such, we ask that you not reprint or distribute your downloaded copy in whole or in part, for any reason, without written permission from OA.

Body Image Book Coming Soon
Stay tuned for an announcement of our soon-to-be-released book, Body Image, Relationships, and Sexuality. We realize that our members are anxious to order, and as soon as all production steps are complete, the World Service Office will notify us that ordering can begin.

I look forward to seeing many of you at WSBC and at Convention in Orlando.

A Message from Our Treasurer

— Cyndy L., Treasurer, Region Four Chair

The beginning of a new year is a good time to reflect on the past and set intentions for the future. My personal intentions are nothing spectacular: to maintain my recovery using the Steps, Traditions, Concepts, and Tools that have given me the life I love and to just live in today, while looking far enough ahead for me to plan to continue living that way for the next 365 days, no matter what life throws at me.

Setting our intention for OA as a Fellowship is up to the collective group conscience. What are we willing to do to actively participate in OA this year? What are our goals as an organization? It’s an easy response: to carry the message to those who still suffer. But we need to think about what that entails. Working one-on-one with another compulsive eater is how I do this as an individual. Actively supporting my local service body and the World Service Office ensures that a larger effort is being made: to attract others to OA in a way that I as an individual or my group cannot. This is also my responsibility.

Looking Ahead with a Balanced Budget
Our 2020 balanced budget is set at US$1,937,200. Having a balanced budget is an important business decision. It says we are planning within our means, not expecting more income than is reasonable to project, and spending no more than is needed to perform all our known tasks. To plan for the future, the board approved a new line item to the budget to anticipate updates to our Find a Meeting database at oa.org. The database requires updating to meet the needs of our ever-changing virtual meeting platforms. Keeping track of those meetings and how they relate in our service structure is a formidable task, and it requires attention in a more timely manner.

As 2019 ends, a review of the projects that are to be completed in 2020 is worth a look.

US$240,624.41 is set aside in restricted funds for special projects that have been established. These include website upgrades, such as upgrades to the Find a Meeting database; translation projects; data privacy compliance so OA can continue serving members living in the European Union; a public information campaign launched on a popular online video platform; and development of an online replacement for Lifeline magazine. These projects are in addition to the annual tasks that we expect our World Service Office staff and our Board of Trustees to complete. We are grateful to have the resources needed to fund these projects. We would like to continue having the means to plan for similar projects in the future, ideally with an ongoing and predictable stream of funds, rather than all at once when the money is available.

Delegate Support Fund
The Delegate Support Fund committee awarded US$16,088 to intergroups and service boards throughout the world to bring delegates to WSBC. Thanks to the support of the region boards, who funded delegates with their region funds, there is US$8,810 left in the fund as seed money to build on for next year. This level of cooperation shows that together we can achieve a goal that serves all of OA.


Translation Assistance Fund Applications Due February 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 Literature Translations page found via oa.org/site-map. 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 Groups/Service Bodies “Guidelines” page.

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


Apply for Professional Exhibits Funds

Congratulations and thank you to the following service bodies who applied to the Professional Exhibits Fund to carry the message to referring professionals in their area:
  • Northern Serenity Intergroup received US$806.73 to participate in the St. Louis County Health and Human Services Conference in 2019
  • San Diego County Intergroup received US$882.79 to participate in a “Taking Control of Your Diabetes” health fair in 2019
  • Philadelphia Area Intergroup received US$3,060.38 to participate in the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo in 2019
  • Central New Mexico Intergroup has been awarded US$564.94 to participate in a National Association of Social Workers conference in March 2020
  • Heart of England Intergroup has been awarded US$2,166.66 to participate in a Primary Care & Public Health conference in May 2020
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 funds can help cover. Applications are reviewed monthly, so talk to your service body about local opportunities and apply! Find the application at oa.org/documents under “Public Information Suggestions.”

What’s New from the WSO

“Growing Our Membership Worldwide” Workshop
At WSBC 2019, the Region Chairs Committee furthered OA’s plan to encourage membership growth by creating and presenting the “Growing Our Membership Worldwide” workshop. Workshop materials include a program to hand out to attendees, a leader’s guide, and a sheet of questions to facilitate brainstorming for how to best carry the message to potential newcomers. Find this helpful workshop at oa.org/documents under “Workshops and Skits.”

Revised and Expanded: Welcome Back Pamphlet
Help end a relapse or reach out to a “missing face” with OA’s newest pamphlet, Welcome Back: Suggestions for Members in Relapse and for Those Who Care. Created by revising and combining two earlier OA pamphlets (Welcome Back and Members in Relapse), this new Conference-approved, twelve-page pamphlet is more comprehensive and includes write-in space for phone numbers and more. Look for Welcome Back: Suggestions for Members in Relapse and for Those Who Care (#185) with the bright yellow cover in the OA bookstore at bookstore.oa.org.


Ask It Basket

Q. What do the bylaws say about when my intergroup needs to elect new people for various positions? How long do they serve?

A. The timing for electing new officers and their term lengths should be set by your intergroup as a matter of service body autonomy, and all of that information is likely to be available in your intergroup bylaws. You should be able to check with your intergroup office or officers to get a copy of the bylaws. My intergroup has their bylaws posted on the intergroup’s website.

If this timing and term limit information is not already in your bylaws, or if your intergroup does not have bylaws, your intergroup could sit down with Sample Intergroup Bylaws, which can be downloaded from oa.org, and go through them, taking a group conscience to decide how your intergroup wants to handle each piece. In addition, Introduction to the Sample Bylaws explains what information is required to be included. The rest, including the timing of your elections and the term lengths for your officers, is up to your intergroup to decide.


Send Us Your Stories! The next deadline for Lifeline is . . .

March 15

Generally Speaking Write on any topic you find meaningful.

24/7 Program Share about mixing local and virtual OA resources, such as meetings, sponsors, telephone, literature, conscious contact, or podcasts, to ensure program is there for you anytime you need it. Departments Bits and Bites, Focus on the Footwork, Living Traditions (Tradition Seven), Step Study (Step Seven), Share It, The Spiritual Path.

April 15

Stepping Up to Sponsorship Sponsorship Day will be celebrated August 22–23, 2020. What led you to first become a sponsor? Lessons learned? How has sponsorship boosted your recovery?

Our Tradition of Anonymity Maintaining anonymity is the responsibility of both members and groups. What measures have you taken to preserve anonymity or handle a break in anonymity? How has anonymity benefited your recovery and OA as a whole?

Outside Addictions and OA Recovery Has your OA recovery included overcoming cross addictions or addictions among family? How did you sort your problems to find clarity about compulsive food behaviors? How has working the Steps in OA helped? Why is OA important even if you belong to another program? How have you kept OA a priority?

Departments Bits and Bites, Focus on the Footwork, Living Traditions (Tradition Eight), Newcomers Corner, Step Study (Step Eight), Share It

Send your stories to info@oa.org with subject “Lifeline.”

Flyers and Forms to Download and Share