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Outreach Need

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This is not your typical story of inspiration, abstinence, and recovery. This is a story meant to foster awareness inside our OA rooms.

I had been in OA for almost a year and was attending five meetings a week. I held a service position, had gotten a sponsor, and was working the Steps. I had finally found what abstinence meant to me and had seven weeks of abstinence under my belt. My program was on its way. I had found camaraderie and inspiration listening to fellow OA members talk about their experiences, struggles, relapses, and wins. One of the common themes I heard in every meeting was about the importance of outreach and support.

Then I was blindsided. I have struggled with depression all of my life, and I found myself becoming increasingly depressed. I started missing meetings, and my depression got so bad I was hospitalized. Because I had been somewhat active in OA, I thought that someone would miss me and I would receive an outreach call, text, or email. I sat in the hospital day after day, hoping that someone, anyone, would reach out to me, if only to say, “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a while.” That’s all it would have taken for me to feel like I really was part of the OA Fellowship.

No calls, texts, or emails ever came. I felt that the program failed me during my most vulnerable and darkest hour.

I believe in the OA program, and I believe OA works if you work it. So where was the support and outreach, which are fundamental parts of OA?

When I got out of the hospital, I went to a meeting to share my story of hurt and disappointment. My intent was not to shame or blame anyone, but to bring awareness to my fellow OA members and ask them to be more aware of the people who attend meetings for a while and then just disappear.

Since that meeting, I have talked with other OA members and discovered that my experience is not uncommon. It makes me wonder how many people left OA because no one reached out to them.

Knowing what I know now, I’m going to make it my personal mission to pay closer attention to those people who seem to drop out of sight. I’m going to do service by reaching out to them, if only to say, “I hope you’re all right.”

Please take this story to heart and become more aware of people who fall into the cracks. Reach out. Make that call. That could be all it takes to bring people back to OA. I have confidence that it will make the Fellowship stronger.

— Anonymous

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