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Intergroup Involvement

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Before I got involved in service at the intergroup level, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to intergroups and what they do. Now, I see all the services they provide and what we would miss if we lost our intergroup. Our web page, telephone answering service, meeting lists, equipment, speakers list, Fellowship-wide celebrations like IDEA Day, communications with region and with world service, professional outreach and public information efforts—these are just a few things that could go away if our intergroup dissolved. So when I was elected chair of our intergroup, my first priority was to do no harm. I wanted to continue the excellent level of service given by previous chairs and do anything necessary to sustain the intergroup.

While losing our intergroup would be a hardship for those of us who are already members, newcomers who wouldn’t be able to find us are the ones who would suffer most. I want OA to be here for my grandchildren should they need it, and for everyone else’s grandchildren too. OA saved me from a slow, painful, early death, a “suicide on the installment plan.” It would sadden me if I thought it might not be here for others, so I am taking steps to ensure its longevity.

Service can be seen as a privilege, and those who give service can feel honored to have the opportunity because we receive way more than we give. In fact, the best rewards of recovery don’t come until we give it away. (I believe the spiritual awakening talked about in Step Twelve isn’t fully realized until we “carry this message to compulsive overeaters.”) Of course, sponsorship is the most important service we can do, but service at the group and intergroup levels is also part of carrying that message.

I used to think I was too busy to get involved with intergroup, that my plate was full enough (pun intended), but after I spent some time praying and meditating on God’s will for me, it became obvious my Higher Power wanted me to step forward and volunteer beyond the group level. During one of my morning meditation periods, I said to God, “Please send someone to chair intergroup.” And the answer came back, “You’re someone.” I thought, “I can’t do that; I’ll mess it up.” And then I heard, “You know how this works: I don’t call the perfect, I perfect the called.” Then I remembered a saying about the only way to know if you are working up to your potential is if you are a little scared. I’ve always loved that idea and have frequently used it to get through new challenges when I didn’t quite know what I was doing. It’s the spirit I bring with me to a new service position. I know that I will receive so much more in return than I’ll give.

As the Big Book says, “We aren’t a glum lot . . . We absolutely insist on enjoying life” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 132). My promise as chair of my intergroup is that we will all have at least one good laugh at every intergroup meeting. Recovering compulsive eaters are my tribe, and spending a Sunday afternoon with people who are just like me is fun. It can be for you too. Check out your intergroup and join!

— Edited and reprinted from Voice of Recovery newsletter, Greater Pittsburgh Intergroup, First Quarter 2017

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