“Is this really an OA meeting?”
M. asked about a meeting which only used the AA Big Book and not any OA literature. She was upset with the meeting and wondered if this was “really” an OA meeting since they didn’t use OA literature. This is my response as a Trustee.
To me this situation is a bit of a dilemma because the AA Big Book is in fact OA approved literature. And I can sure understand why you are confused by the attitude of some of this group’s members. I love the Big Book and its message has play a huge part in my recovery – but so have several of the OA books. I particularly like the Overeaters Anonymous Third Edition.
In general, I love OA literature because I get to hear my story. OA literature is written by compulsive eaters for compulsive eaters. That being said, according to Tradition 4, “Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or OA as a whole.” This gives each group the right and responsibility to operate as they see fit. The OA 12 and 12 goes on to discuss some of the matters that do affect OA as a whole. They include having another affiliation, ignoring one or more of the Traditions, depending on a handful of members for leadership instead of trusting the group conscience, limiting membership, promoting non-OA approved literature at meetings, focusing on topics not related to recovery, promoting outside enterprises and issues, breaking another members’ anonymity, accepting free service or rent from outside people or institutions or forgetting our primary purpose.
It is a break of OA Tradition to bring in outside literature. The best way to handle that would be to speak up and simply say that it bothers you to have outside literature brought in – no matter what the outside stuff is.
When I speak up about a Tradition break, I often come across much harsher than I mean to because it is so hard to speak against others when I am pretty sure they don’t agree. I find that if I gently and say something like “Have you thought about this outside stuff being a break of Tradition?” Or simply and quietly stating that you object and not push the point.
Even when I am right it does not convince others if I am too forceful – unfortunately I have done that several times. OA is broad and inclusive as long as the group is using the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions as the basis for the meeting.
I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. You are welcome to contact me any time either through the Region One website or directly.
In love and service,
Margie – Region One