Just Go

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I’ve been in OA since December 1982 but did not attend a World Service Convention until 1997. I went to intergroup and Region Six conventions. I chaired local conventions and was a keynote at a regional convention outside of Region Six. Somehow, I didn’t pay much attention to any other events. Each year, I would be asked about going to World Service Convention but decided against it.

The World Service Convention in New York City in 1997, however, really changed my outlook. Not being inclined to moderation, I went to as many Convention workshops as possible. I went out to explore the city and even managed to see a few Broadway shows. Of course, I then made up for those hours with even more workshops and OA meetings. I went to my room each night exhausted, and the different topics started to blur, but I had to absorb as much as possible.

The best part of Convention was sitting and talking to OA members from all over the world. Every time I escaped the chill of the hotel, I would run into an OA member. We shared, laughed, and drank copious amounts of coffee. There was a 4th of July cruise in the harbor. I was on the boat that had no problems beyond being a bit overcrowded. We oohed and ahead over the fireworks and laughed.

I then attended Conventions in Dallas, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Cleveland. I can’t tell you which was best. I did the most sightseeing in Philadelphia and the most shopping in Dallas. I got the worst sunburn on my face in Los Angeles. I can tell you that a workshop in Los Angeles about body image was the one that had the greatest impact on me. I sat down with another Overeaters Anonymous member and shared how much I learned and how envious I was at the level of honesty and clarity from all three speakers. I laughed the most at a workshop in Cleveland on GLBT/LGBT issues. The leader was hilarious, and the sharing was hard hitting. I also learned that I can’t attend every workshop and down time is a necessity rather than a sign of avoidance or weakness.

At each Convention, I reconnected with members I hadn’t seen in a long time. In Cleveland, I attended a meeting of former world service trustees. I felt old. They had aged far better than I. We didn’t talk “OA politics”; we caught up, and we spent some time remembering those who had passed or had just left the program. (It sounds depressing unless you were there.) We shared stories—some funny, some not.

World Service Conventions are fabulous, educational, exhausting, inspiring, fun, and . . . just go to Orlando and fill in the rest for yourself. If you’ve never been to a World Service Convention, go! If you have been, go! If you’re not sure, go! I intend to be there. In our “one day at a time program,” I hope to see you there.

— Bob F., Canada

Save the date! Convention is August 20–22, 2020. More information to come.

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