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Intentionally Strong

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We can be intentional about strengthening our OA meetings. At your next group conscience meeting, try these conversation starters:

  • What is a “strong meeting” for you?
  • If someone told you their meeting was struggling, what specific suggestions would you offer?
  • What actions might you be willing to take to help a struggling meeting or strengthen a meeting you attend?

OA has many resources for building strong meetings. At oa.org/documents, you’ll find the Strong Meeting Checklist under “Group Support.” Ask your meeting to set aside time to review this checklist, and based on the group’s observations, create an action plan for strengthening the meeting. Then review the Checklist again, this time asking members to think about their personal contributions to the meeting’s strength. For example, the question “Does the meeting start and end on time?” becomes “What can I do to make sure our meeting starts and ends on time?” Revisit the Checklist and your action plan after three months and look for progress.

The OA Handbook for Members, Groups, and Service Bodies, available at bookstore.oa.org, covers such topics as: “How to Keep Them Coming Back,” “Getting Things Done in Your OA Group,” and “What does the secretary do?” (Think you don’t need a group secretary? Try it for a while! You might be surprised to find how much a secretary can strengthen your meeting.) Get a copy of this pamphlet and read it with an eye toward doing what is possible for your group, large or small.

OA’s website, oa.org, is full of amazing resources. Check out the Group Support page under “Groups/Service Bodies.” Bring a new voice into your meeting with a podcast from oa.org/podcasts. Also, make sure to register your meeting and keep the meeting’s details up to date so the World Service Office can send important information and help newcomers find your meeting. Go to oa.org/find-a-meeting and look under “Meeting Changes.”

There are many other ways to make meetings stronger:

  • Help your intergroup put on a workshop about building strong meetings.
  • Go to a meeting you’ve heard is strong and watch for things to bring back to your meeting.
  • Go to one more meeting per week than you think you need, just to share hope and carry the message.
  • Be part of your meeting’s core. Show up early, show up often, and attend business meetings.
  • Read the Traditions in the OA Twelve and Twelve, Second Edition, then answer the italicized questions at the end of each chapter.
  • Set aside time each October (the tenth month) to do a Tenth Step check on the strength of your meeting.
  • Focus your meeting on strong topics. For example, give each member a slip of paper with the OA Principles, the Serenity Prayer, the promises, or a short quote from OA literature and ask for shares on that topic.

What ideas do you have for strengthening your meeting?

— Beverly M.


For Discussion and Journaling

“Intentionally Strong” offers practical suggestions for finding opportunities to strengthen a meeting, both as a group effort and as an individual service. Give this writer’s suggestions a try: gather with fellow OA members to write and discuss responses to the questions and materials suggested in the story. What are the basic changes needed in your meeting to make it stronger, and what is the plan for getting there?

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