The OA group conscience meetings I’ve attended that were successful allowed members to practice recovery principles in an open, orderly manner with surrender to a Higher Power and the goodwill of all OA members.

Successful group conscience meetings were announced ahead of time at regular meetings. They used the Suggested Format for a Group Conscience Meeting available at oa.org and had a preannounced agenda that allowed for member contributions. They were led by an OA member acting as a trusted servant, who created and followed an announced meeting agenda that members could contribute to at the beginning of the group conscience meeting. Agenda topics were adequately explored to meet the needs of the group and then voted on or withdrawn. The leader solicited input from members and followed Robert’s Rules of Order for voting. The meetings were structured for timed sharing that enabled participation for all without dominance by vocal members or withdrawal by quiet members. Topics requiring additional input and discussion were tabled until the next meeting. The meetings ended on time and with a prayer for compulsive overeaters in and out of recovery.

Participating in group conscience meetings has brought me out of isolation. It has helped me learn about open-mindedness and willingness in hearing things out. It has taught me about Higher Power working through each of us together at the group level. This takes me out of ego-based attitudes and thoughts. It helps me interact with others, as Higher Power wills, by my listening and sharing about what may help the newcomer and serve for the good of all, with tender care for all members.

When I slipped and had to step down from a trusted-servant position, participating in a group conscience meeting allowed me to experience acceptance and forgiveness from Higher Power, others, and myself. It also allowed me to experience renewed gratitude and joy in recovery when—Thank you, Higher Power!—I became abstinent again and willing and able to do service at the group level.

When participating in group conscience meetings, I’ve done my best to develop substantial unanimity wherever there was uncertainty or controversy about which course of action the group ought to take. I do this by:

  • reflecting on the topic at hand
  • reading Conference-approved literature about OA principles related to the topic
  • talking with others about the topic on program phone calls
  • checking the oa.org website for information and guidance
  • listening to other members
  • speaking when necessary
  • trusting a Higher Power
  • turning over my will and the results of the group conscience to that Higher Power
  • reminding myself that each participating member cares about OA, recovery, and doing Higher Power’s will
  • reminding myself that the group can amend or change its decisions as needed
  • being aware, gladly and consciously, of Higher Power’s presence, OA recovery, and my chance to participate in this group conscience meeting about a program and meeting I care about
  • noting with a grateful heart that we are no longer alone or without help
  • praying that, Higher Power willing, all compulsive eaters everywhere and always have this awareness and comfort.

I’m grateful to be the way Higher Power makes me in OA, and I’m grateful that Higher Power allows me to be gladly right-sized in group conscience meetings where I can be one among many.

— Alyson H., New York USA

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