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What Service Is

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From the very beginning of my time in the OA rooms, I heard that service is a Tool. However, I never thought about it as a way to connect to my Higher Power and preserve my abstinence until recently. I tended to think of service as a Tradition. It was, in my mind, a practice that was important to preserve the group. Recently, however, my Higher Power showed me otherwise.

I was at my home meeting for a business meeting. It was a small group, only three of us, and one thing that became very clear was we had made many decisions that were not yet incorporated into our meeting format. The leader of the business meeting asked if anyone could retype the format, incorporating the additions and changes that had been decided upon over the last several months. With only two of us there besides the leader, I raised my hand.

I was always a bit hesitant to perform service beyond going to meetings or setting up chairs. I felt that I was too new in my recovery and not ready to take on that additional burden. However, the following week I was at my desk at work, and the urge to eat hit me. It was strong, alluring, and persuasive. In prior days, I might have made my way to the vending machines, or even gotten in my car to drive for a binge, but this time I set my work aside, picked up the format from my bag, and began to type it.

I typed the entire format, beginning to end, without stopping or proofreading. It took about thirty minutes, and when I was done, I no longer had the desire to eat. Upon reflection of the miracle I had just experienced, I realized I had learned something. In performing service, I gave myself a gift. When I needed it most, I had a direct connection to my Higher Power right in my bag. I gave myself a minimeeting at my desk that day. As I typed, I connected to my Higher Power, and the compulsion to eat abated.

No longer will I feel like I am too new to use the Tool of service. Service is not a Tradition to strengthen the group— though it may. It is a part of my program that is available to me at any time, and a gift from my Higher Power.

— Karen S., Exton, Pennsylvania USA

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