A Radical Departure from Normal Reporting,
And a Radical Psychic Shift
A psychic shift occurred for me at the November 2010 SOAR 8 Business Conference, which began nearly 9 years ago when I first walked into the rooms, and was carried by a current greater than myself to service beyond the group level.
We have all felt the growing spirituality of individual OA members as it is carried into OA meetings. A fellowship evolves that urges us to participate fully, and we find ourselves willingly offering service to the group and other individuals. Sooner or later, we individuals are called to have a voice in how our central meeting or meetings are run. As in our personal homes, we find we have values that need a voice.
In OA, groups remain autonomous, unity in diversity is supported, many give service rather than only a few.
Our Intergroup, the Triad Intergroup, is made up of meetings or groups in roughly 7 counties in north/central North Carolina. We have meetings in North Wilkesboro in the west over to Greensboro in the east, and recently our southernmost meeting was listed in Salisbury, [Rowan] County.
Triad IG is organized in accordance with our Twelve Steps, Traditions, and Concepts of Service. Other than following these principles, intergroups are also autonomous—except if we affect OA as a whole, and except that we are required to have filed a set of Bylaws with WSO so we are transparent and accountable to our members.
Triad Intergroup is an affiliated intergroup of the Southeastern Overeaters Anonymous Region, number 8, or SOAR 8. SOAR 8 does the business of marshaling resources and distributing resources, of representing its Intergroups, groups, and members, a conduit to the World Service Organization.
At the World Service Office, outreach goes on all over the world, literature is published, and our group conscience by this time is a mighty thing. Group conscience has helped OA evolve endlessly from its early days. We have powerful examples such as how plans of eating evolved, how the definition of abstinence continues to evolve, and most recently, the birth of a ninth tool — plan of action. Work in the last few years has helped OA focus our resources to understand what to do and how to be attractive to those who still suffer, without falling into the pitfalls of promotion.
In early November, contributions from all of the affiliated meetings in the Triad Intergroup area sent me to Orlando, FL for the third of three annual SOAR 8 Business Conventions.
The complete minutes of the Business Convention are published online [on the SOAR 8 site]. Rather than duplicate those here, I want to summarize the three events that stand out for me.
- Motions earlier this year ruled that there would be no motions from the floor at this convention, so only emergency motions could be introduced outside the planned agenda. The intention was of course to make more business possible. The result was that several emergency motions came up that were not emergencies; they simply had to come up to fix other problems which always seem to arise with parliamentary procedure. Eventually, the non-emergency emergency motions were voted down because they weren’t emergencies. Most of our motions turned in a big circle—a phenomenon I am happy to say has me laughing today instead of howling in frustration. What I learned was the business of running a principled, spiritual organization is metaphysical. When I approached being the Chair of our area, I feared it would then be my job to be sure recovery reached all those who suffer. Uh huh. Big job. Instead, I found more third step work than I thought existed. I found personal freedom, I watched my fellows find freedom from their personal burdens, and then I went to SOAR 8 and found recovery in that journey as well. It just never looks like the picture in my head.
- Although it is difficult to hold a committee service position when not attending all the business meetings, it is not impossible. I joined the Bylaws committee because Atiya from Raleigh is the Chair, and I thought I could do something useful, being neighbors. I will be working with her to attract subscriptions to Lifeline as part of the electronic documents section of the Committee's primary purpose. No doubt you'll be hearing more about this…
- The main event I want to report here is that in November of 2011, SOAR 8 will be hosted for the first time in history outside of the United States. We will meet in Medellin, Colombia. I began the weekend of meetings feeling concerned that SOAR 8 resources would be drained by helping South Americans. Why weren't we talking about how wacky the delineation of our Region is? Why were we dealing with all those cultural and language issues when we still need help right here, when there is so much to do? And then… I heard another Rep connect the concept of nationality as contrary to the principle of anonymity. My magical mind began to open up. When it was time to vote on our next November location, the Colombian delegates spoke about their recovery, their desire to have a voice, their willingness, and the urgency of their calling. They were standing up to offer me service.
Recovery is for those who want it, not those who need it.
I came home moved beyond words… until I started writing this… and now you probably wish I HAD moved. Those of you, who want recovery, reach out to service, gently, within the guidelines of your step work, but reach. There are Yoda-like adventures and a fellowship beyond your imagination out here. You cannot imagine what will happen or how it will play out for you in your recovery, but I assure you, you will be lifted.
–Linda, Triad Intergroup Chair