World Service Business Conference May 2-7, 2016 Albuquerque
Sara H Region 1
Conference was all about our OA Responsibility to Carry the Message. We were given OA’s Pocket Guide, Carrying the Message which is available at the OA Bookstore on www.oa.org There was much focus on Virtual Services which help members in distant locales and foreign countries, and bringing OA up to date regarding social media so we have a larger opportunity to carry the message.
I arrived Tuesday afternoon. I flew in with my Green Dot Delegate, a woman who was new and whom I’ll mentor this week. We took a trip to a grocery store for supplies and dinner. The first night’s workshop was “All About Conference.” We were guided through procedure and process for our business meetings. These are very formal and use strict Robert’s Rules as well as WSBC-specific guidelines. We’re given a 300+ page manual to guide us through the week’s work and business meetings. Happily this is all available online weeks ahead of time so we can read and formulate questions and opinions. This session is a real help in going through the rest of conference.
The second day started with a workshop called The Forum. We were seated randomly and participated as small groups and challenged to create a skit depicting carrying the message in different situations.
The second project of day 2 was gathering with the Conference Committee we’d signed up for. Mine was the Twelfth Step Within (TSW) committee. This group’s goal is to carry the message to those who still suffer within the OA fellowship., to deal with relapse and to encourage OA members to maintain recovery and prevent relapse. The subcommittee I chose is revising the “Been Slipping and Sliding?” writing tool in the TSW Handbook. OA revises every piece of literature each 10 years or more often as needed. My subcommittee will meet on the phone monthly until the WSBC Board of Trustees OK’s all revisions, then it will go to next year’s WSBC for Conference approval.
Day 3, Thursday May 5th began our en masse business meetings.
There were 199 voting members including 17 Trustees and 182 Delegates from 19 different countries. This is a very exciting experience! Each business meeting started with the Serenity Prayer, but first a member would recite the prayer for us in his or her home language including Swedish, Gaelic, Spanish and more.
Time was given for questions on Officer’s reports and Committee reports from the previous year.
*Treasurer says our finances are strong especially due to literature income. Keep buying books from OA, not 2nd hand please! Please consider the Automatic Recurring Contribution option. https://oa.org/contribute/
If every member donated $7.50 quarterly in addition to our meeting contributions, Overeaters Anonymous would be fully self-supporting. At this time 7th Traditions make up 30% of our working cash.
*Virtual Services reported on a blogger in China. She follows the Traditions and her blog was read by 400 people in its first hours, currently has 6000 followers.
The Conference approved two new pieces of literature:
Motions that passed:
Motions that did not pass:
I want to thank Region 1, Peninsula Intergroup and my home group for allowing and supporting my trip to WSBC. It was an honor and a privilege to serve. I’m invigorated and excited about my own recover and about the worldwide fellowship as a whole! I encourage anyone to pursue this amazing growth experience.
Love in fellowship and service,
Question: I was recently informed that OA WSO has 15 employees. Yet the budget committee at the WSBC stated that they were going to suggest that we ask members to donate more money to the 7th Tradition to support the WSO more. We would like to know what these 15 employees do and how much they are paid to do these jobs. I have been in OA 46 years and for that committee to state that OA is not free is absolutely absurd! Our program states that there are no dues or fees for members. Where do they get that idea? One of the reasons people come to OA is because they can get recovery on all three levels without paying a diet club and enormous amount of money for membership and food. Our members would like to know just where our money is going when we donate to WSO? Employees? Administration?
I can understand your concern for good stewardship of any money sent into OA to keep OA running. I would like to tell you that one of the things I have always been impressed with is the dedication of our staff at the office. And I am very proud of the fact that the OA office has been voted one of the Best Places to Work in the Albuquerque area for several years. I am very proud that we have hired great people to serve the whole OA fellowship and provide and excellent workplace. My role and my background are not in the area of finance - I believe the OA Board Treasurer has been asked to respond to your inquiry from that point of view. I believe that we as employers should hire the best people possible and pay them a completive wage for their role in our International organization.
One of the things that I have always been impressed with in the process of my becoming more familiar with people and the workings of OA at the World Service level is the people who work hard to keep the costs of doing the business of OA to a minimum. The budget is agreed upon in a process similar to the one we use in Region One Assembly. The General Service Trustees (as a group) make the financial decisions for the fellowship. They are wonderful human beings who want to keep costs to a minimum and yet provide excellent service to OA. They always keep the good of the organization and the purpose of carrying the message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers as top priorities.
The OA office operates very well and their job is to serve the fellowship. Believe me there is no one there being overpaid for doing a poor job or wasting our money.
The workings of the OA office to produce literature, send out books, notices, and keep track of all our meetings, have an excellent website, support Trustees who travel for OA business and to provide services – all of these things cost money. OA is not making a profit but we are not free. Our 7th Tradition states that we will be self-supporting by our own contributions.
I truly believe that the World Service office is an excellent steward of our money. I have personally started donating $20 per month on the Automatic Recurring Donation which is available online. This is in addition to putting more than $3.00 per week in the basket of the meetings I attend regularly.
When I was binging I spent tons of money - that just went to my waist and hips, my craziness and hurt my health. Today I am very grateful for my recovery and give from my gratitude.
In love and service,
ASK IT: I'm a little confused. You say that "It is not a religious organization" But when I read your 12 steps, it sure sounds like you are. I could use some help with my over eating. But I just can't do the religious thing. Do you have any ideas for me? I have known people that go to rehab and then come out acting like god just saved their lives. I can not do that to my self. I don't need god to save me, I should be able to do it myself. I do need help, but I do not want to have religion be apart of it. *************
I can certainly understand your confusion. When I first came to OA I bristled at the word God, especially when I heard people refer to anything more specific. But I also felt that I really was a compulsive overeater, these people seemed to have an answer and nobody tried to get me to go to any church. Then I realized that the Steps said things like "Power greater than ourselves", well that was OK. And they said "God as we understood Him". I did not like the "Him" part but it really did not tell me what I had to believe.
So I started to think about what it really was that I did believe and I knew that there was power or spirit at the beach and in the mountains that I felt close to when I was near those places. I found that no one tried to make me believe anything; they really only talked about their experience and that felt just fine. Once in awhile there are some people who do try to push their religious beliefs onto others in OA but most of the time they do not. I know that sometimes when I tried to explain some of my "nature" ideas to others who were Christians they got kind of uncomfortable around me.
To me a religious program is something that sets forth a specific set of beliefs and there is NO where in OA that does that. OA has some practices which are similar to some religious practices, such as confusion. But therapy might be like that too. But nowhere does OA try to make me belief anything really specific about God. I personally know Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and believers in the power of the universe who work a 12 Step program. So by my definition OA is spiritual rather than religious. I have a much closer connection with God of my understanding today than when I first came into OA.
My main suggestion to you would be to give it a try - what do you have to loose? I know that no one could convert you to any thing you don't want to believe so it should not hurt you to go and see if it makes sense for you. More than anything I hope that you can find a way to have peace with your food and your weight.
Q. We are having a dilemma that disturbs some people in my home group. It is a small meeting and we are not getting people to do service. But one person is complaining and she is our Intergroup Rep and not at all our meetings. Is it AGAINST our RULES to have a Treasurer/Secretary for more than 6 months or a year?
Also a big problem just arose with business meeting – we have it during our meeting and one person wants to have it after the meeting. Other members don’t want to stay after for the business. They vote for after our regular meeting so they don’t have to listen to business. My question is who will stay. Is the Secretary required to STAY for the business meeting? The meeting seemed to be working fine before these problems were introduced which didn’t seem to need fixing except for this one person.
A. These issues between group members can be rather upsetting for people. There are no RULES which dictate how an OA meeting must conduct its business. But there is much guidance in the OA Handbook.
I have seen meetings have business meetings within their group time and after the group time. One suggestion which seems to help in either case is setting a time limit on the business meeting. And there are advantages and disadvantages to either within or after. If business meetings are held after a regular meeting only the people who are truly interested in the business will attend and those few have the advantage of being able to make a decision which others might not go along with. The business meeting after a meeting gets right down to business and has no pressure to get back to the “real” meeting. But they do not assist all members in participating in the business process.
I have seen business meetings work very well if they only take 5 – 10 minutes of a regular meeting and then stop. Anything which is not concluded this month can wait until next month. I have also seen business meetings go on for an hour and a half after a regular meeting, but they went much better when there was a 30-minute time limit.
OA really does encourage rotation of service, which means that no one person should hold a specific service position in a group forever. However it is really up to the individual group conscience how long that should be. I think that a treasurer position is one that can have a limit of 2 or 3 years. Sometimes it depends on how much is involved as treasurer, but especially if you have a bank account and have to change signature cards a limit of at least 1 or 2 years is very helpful.
I really do think that it is part of a meeting secretary’s duties to stay for business meetings even if it is after the regular meeting. If a person can’t commit to doing that then they probably should not be the secretary. However I do understand that if someone took on the position believing that the business meetings were held within the meeting and then that was changed, that it could put a strain on the person and perhaps they should give up the position.
I suggest that you refer to the OA Handbook; available in the OA bookstore on www.oa.org. I also suggest that you review the Traditions and the Concepts of OA. Informed and loving group conscience, respect of other people’s views and remember that God is the ultimate authority as reflected in our group conscience.
Question from OA Website:
Q: How important is the sponsor in the success of their charge (sponsee) going through the 12 steps?
Obviously everyone is different, but isn't there a level of competence necessary for someone to be a sponsor?
A: The answer to your question is Yes and No. Yes, ideally the sponsor would have excellent recovery and never say something to hurt another person and always lead them to perfect recovery through the 12 Steps. Or at least have gone through the Steps themselves and be abstinent for a period of time.
But while it is ideal to have a sponsor in recovery – people can recover without a sponsor. The founders of AA program recovered with less than ideal sponsors. And many times an honest “partner-in-recovery” is better than available alternatives. If both partners start out with the idea that-- we are not totally sure what we are doing but let’s follow what is written and help each other – this may be the very best solution. It is important for people to be honest with each other about how much they know or do not know.
It would be fabulous if there were always tons of sponsors in recovery to choose from. However there really are several alternatives to not having enough sponsors in a given area. In addition to the possibility of using a partner-in-recovery.
Hi! I am Pat O’C., your Region I Trustee. I am thrilled to be your trusted servant on the bottom of the service pyramid of OA. In order to do a good job, I need you. I need your love of OA, your good ideas and your help. I simply cannot and do not want to do this alone. Please reach out to me by clicking below on “contact the Region I Trustee”. If you have a question or comment. I look forward to hearing from you!
Contact The Region I Trustee