FAQ – Members

Meetings

It's easy to start a meeting. Two or more people who seek recovery and want to carry the message to others are all that's needed. for more information, read How to Start a Meeting.
Yes. Go to our online/telephone meetings page for information and assistance in finding an online or telephone meeting.

Special Topic Groups

Within the OA family there are many diverse ways of working the program. Each member and subsequently each group may adopt whatever method the choose to share their recovery as long as they meet the definition of a group according to OA Bylaws, Subpart B, Article V. For more information, see Policy 1992a in the Business Conference Policy Manual. Read the Third and Fourth Traditions for further understanding. The best way to determine if a group is a registered OA groups is to select it from the Find A Meeting search. If you want to know what the special topic groups are, use the advanced search option.

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.
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, such as the intergroup rep, have time to report during the meeting. In most groups the secretary keeps all 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.

Sponsorship

Sponsors are OA members who are living the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to the best of their ability. They are willing to share their recovery with other members of the Fellowship and are committed to abstinence. Ask a member who has what you want from the program and how he or she is achieving it. A member may work with more than one sponsor and may change sponsors at will (adapted from Tools of Recovery). A sponsor will work with you through the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous.
Sponsoring can begin at any time. Simply sponsor up to the level of your experience, sharing as much recovery as you have. It may be helpful to discuss sponsoring with your own sponsor first, then begin sponsoring when you both feel it’s right. Ask your group to introduce you as a new sponsor, or identify yourself as one. We have found that sponsors are most effective when refraining from compulsive eating. Many of us believe clarity of mind comes with abstinence. Having a sponsor is the best way to learn to be a sponsor; we learn by example. We also learn to sponsor by doing it (adapted from A Guide for Sponsors). The Sponsorship Kit contains helpful resources to get you started.

Intergroups and National/Language Service Boards

When several groups form in an area, they soon realize that they can better perform together rather than separately. So the groups may form an intergroup that is directly responsible to the groups it serves. Intergroups spring from a need to provide service for a number of local groups and better information about OA in a community (adapted from OA Handbook for Members, Groups and Service Bodies). Typical services provided by an intergroup are:
  • Providing a central telephone number for information about OA and the local meetings
  • Publishing regular newsletters or bulletins to keep groups informed about each other and upcoming OA events
  • Coordinating speakers, public information and contact with the professional community
  • Maintaining a supply of OA literature and OA and AA books
  • Sending delegates to regional assemblies and the World Service Business Conference
National Service Boards (NSBs) are service bodies that provide support for groups and intergroups outside the US and Canada, where the geographic scope within a region and the distance from the World Service Office is vast. NSBs run offices to deal with nationwide mail, meeting lists, newsletters, events, public information, and professional work. In non-English-speaking countries, the NSBs are responsible for producing OA literature in local languages. In some cases, the NSB extends beyond the geographic borders of countries and serves groups and intergroups with a common language. In these cases, the NSB is usually called a language service board (LSB). Virtual Service Boards (VSBs) provide support to online and telephone meetings. Service Boards may also send delegates to the World Service Business Conference.
You can contact your regional or virtual services trustee by emailing the WSO. We will forward your inquiry to the appropriate trustee. Please be certain to specify which region you are in or where you live. Check out the materials on the Groups/Service Bodies Resources or Guidelines page. If you need more specific help, contact the WSO and we will forward your inquiry to the appropriate trustee. Please be certain to specify which region you are in or where you live. Overeaters Anonymous has several doucments that maybe helpful including: The Strong Meeting Checklist, OA Group Inventory, and the pamphlet OA Handbook for Members, Groups, and Service Bodies: Recovery Opportunities. 

Board of Trustees

Use our Contact form and your inquiry will be forwarded to the BOT or the appropriate board member.
What are the qualifications? Go to the Board of Trustees page for more information. Link to PDF Trustee Application Instructions & Trustee Application.

Contributions

Individuals, groups or OA service bodies may contribute to Overeaters Anonymous by sending their donation in US funds to the World Service Office.
Mail donations to your intergroup and region to their offices. Individual or group donations to world service should be mailed to the World Service Office, PO Box 44020, Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87174-4020 USA. You may also contribute online.
Give what you can afford at every meeting you attend. Give as if your life depends on it! A member may contribute up to 5,000 USD per year to the general fund, up to 5,000 USD per year to any special fund. OA, Inc. will accept a bequest in any amount from the will of a deceased member. (Read the Seventh Tradition of OA pamphlet for more information.)

Lifeline

Lifeline is OA’s magazine. It is like a portable meeting, filled with new perspectives on issues you deal with daily. Featuring articles, experiences, opinions, letters, information and stories by OA members, it is an invaluable tool that will support you in working your program and maintaining your recovery. This colorful, illustrated magazine also includes answers to questions, and region and world service news. Lifeline is available in two formats: the printed magazine mailed to you in a plain envelope or the electronic magazine (e-Lifeline) available only on the OA website.
You can subscribe to the print magazine or the electronic magazine online. Or you can send your subscription to the World Service Office if you prefer to pay by check or money order.
Go to Share My Story in the Lifeline section on this website for guidelines and topic suggestions.

Ordering Literature

Go to the online bookstore and click on Ordering Tools for a PDF of the catalog and order form.  You can order by mail with a check or money order or by phone, fax, or online using MasterCard, Visa or Discover.
All orders must be prepaid so payment must accompany your order.
Allow 10–14 business days for delivery in the US, three to four weeks for delivery outside the US.
Need it sooner? Call the WSO to have your order expedited. The WSO will let you know the expedited shipping cost and will also add an additional $10 handling fee.
Please make any returns of goods within 90 days of your original order date. Include a copy of the invoice. Items returned must be in saleable condition. A credit will be issued to your account which will be valid for one year.
Yes. You can purchase the soft cover version of Alcoholics Anonymous(The Big Book) in English or Spanish by phone, fax or online using a credit card or by mailing a check to the WSO.
Conference-approved literature has received the Conference Seal of Approval by an affirmative vote of two-thirds of the voting delegates at the World Service Business Conference. All original publications for use by the OA Fellowship as a whole must be Conference approved. Board-approved literature are publications that have been approved by the Board of Trustees, and may be either one or both of the following: Literature that has originated from a Board or Conference Committee and is not intended for the Fellowship as a whole or literature that has been compiled from existing Conference-Approved Literature or Lifeline magazine. In either case the items are OA-approved literature as defined by the World Service Business Conference Policy 1982b and may be displayed and/or sold at OA meetings.

Copyright

All OA Conference-approved and Board-approved literature is copyrighted by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. To assist members in carrying the message of recovery, OA groups and service bodies may reprint some items without having to submit a written request to the WSO. Go to Copyright Requests to learn more and to obtain copyright permission forms.
All OA Conference-approved and Board-approved literature is copyrighted by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. To assist members in carrying the message of recovery, OA groups and service bodies may reprint some items without having to submit a written request to the WSO. Go to Copyright Requests to learn more and to obtain copyright permission forms.

World Service Office (WSO)

The World Service Business Conference (WSBC) is the annual business meeting of Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. WSBC serves as the collective conscience of the Fellowship of Overeaters Anonymous. Held annually in April or May, this week-long meeting is attended by delegates representing OA service bodies around the world. It is held to elect trustees, amend bylaws, adopt new business policies and provide information to delegates through presentations and workshops on issues that affect OA as a whole. Check the World Service Business Conference page for details.
World Service Convention is a recovery event open to all OA members worldwide. This convention is held every five years to promote recovery, fun, and fellowship in Overeaters Anonymous. You can attend workshops, marathons and other OA-related events, and hear speakers from other countries. Come share your experience, strength, and hope with hundreds of OA members from around the world.
Members selected by service bodies are the voting delegates who serve at Conference. However, any OA member can attend as a visitor or participate as a volunteer.
This day recognizes the strength of the Fellowship worldwide. On the last Saturday in February, at 11:30 a.m. pacific standard time, OA members pause to reaffirm the strength inherent in OA’s unity.
International Day Experiencing Abstinence (IDEA), celebrated the third Saturday in November, encourages OA members worldwide to begin or reaffirm their abstinence from compulsive overeating.
Celebrated on December 12 (12/12) each year to encourage OA service bodies, meetings and individual members to reach out to those within the Fellowship who are still suffering from compulsive eating behaviors.
The World Service Office, located in Rio Rancho, New Mexico USA, works to provide quality support and services to the OA Fellowship. These services include: worldwide OA meeting directories; a print and online magazine and quarterly newsletter; a website; public information activities; World Service Conferences and Conventions; and more than 150 literature and recovery-related items.
By mail: PO Box 44020, Rio Rancho, New Mexico 87174-4020 USA. By telephone: 505-891-2664. By fax: 505-891-4320. Click Here.
Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m. mountain time. The WSO is closed on major US holidays.
Sure! If you are in the Albuquerque area, come by during office hours, and the staff will be delighted to give you a tour.

World Service Events

Some staff members are members of OA and some are not. All are hired for their professional expertise and their desire to serve the OA Fellowship.
The WSO does not have a toll-free phone number. However, most information is available on the website, and the staff is happy to answer your inquiry by email.
The World Service Office does not make decisions on policy for the Fellowship. The staff serves the Fellowship and follows its direction as set by the annual World Service Business Conference and the Board of Trustees.