I usually tell my healthcare people about OA--my doctor, my chiropractor, and my gynecologist. I have made sure that meetings are listed in the local paper if the paper will take such listings. I have put up posters in grocery stores. I have started meetings and helped keep meetings going.
One of the most “fun” things I did was being listed as a contact person for a meeting and therefore I took many newcomers phone calls. Sometimes these people show up at a meeting and sometimes they don’t but those phone calls never fail to help me put life and program into perspective. The words of understanding and love seem to flow out of my month.
I used to travel to Albuquerque four times a year for OA Board meetings and I started telling people that I am on the Board of a national non-profit. Then if people ask about it, I tell them that it is Overeaters Anonymous. I am always willing to tell people that I have lost 50 lbs and kept it off for 10+ years.
I helped with a public information night several years ago. The number of people who came to the event was disappointing. But one thing I try to remember is that even if people do not actually come to an event many people at last heard that there is something called Overeaters Anonymous. I have heard many speakers say that they heard about OA and waited months or years before they actually came and stayed.
Thus it is important for me to remember that I can’t measure “success” in these efforts by how many show up at meetings in the next 2 weeks. I love the story about Bill W’s first few months of attempting to help others get sober. He complained to someone that no one had gotten sober and that person pointed out that one important person was sober – Bill was. Therefore I continue to do outreach work for one main reason – to help me maintain my abstinence. Nothing works as well to get me out of myself and my own pity party as working with others. This is my responsibility to make sure that the hand and heart of OA are available to those who share my compulsion. I am glad to be able to recommend that others take this responsibility seriously.
Margie G. – R1 Trustee (article written in 2015)