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Responsibility and Reward

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Service is both the responsibility and the reward for recovery through the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous.

During my thirty-plus years in OA, I’ve had many service positions. I’ve loved every one of them and learned from them too. Service has taught me about myself, about human nature and addictive behavior, and about my weaknesses and assets; it’s also taught me how important the Twelve Traditions and kindness are.

OA is not an eleven-step program. Early on, I was taught that if I want recovery, I have to be fully committed, and that includes working Step Twelve, otherwise known as doing service. Service keeps me in the game and thinking about something other than myself. I always wanted to be “a part of,” yet never felt I was until I started doing service in OA.

Trust, trust, trust! When I was afraid I was not good enough or ready to do the service I was asked to do, another trusted servant told me, “God doesn’t call the prepared; he prepares the called.” I also learned that just because I was willing didn’t mean I would be automatically selected for service. I had to practice three things: 1) trusting God, 2) getting my head wrapped around not being invested in any outcome, and 3) being gracious no matter what the result.

Rotate, rotate, rotate! When I get the hang of a service position, I tend to think I’m the best person to do that job, forever and ever. But I was also taught the importance of rotation of service. When a member stays too long in any one position, that service can become stagnant, and the opportunity for new blood is lost. Sometimes service junkies like me want to jump from one position to another within a service body to avoid the established limits. But as I study the Traditions, I understand that while this practice may be within the letter of the law, it’s not in the spirit of the law. Learning to let go and trust God to provide has been part of my spiritual growth.

— Edited and reprinted from OA Virtual News newsletter, Third Quarter 2017

Get The Twelve Concepts of OA Service pamphlet (#330) at bookstore.oa.org to better understand the role of service in individual recovery and in our Fellowship.

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