Home Steps Authority in the Rooms

Authority in the Rooms

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When I came into OA about thirty-three years ago, I was working for an important corporation. It just amazed me that OA meetings were so much more efficient and effective than corporate meetings. Corporate meetings, with all the power, resources, and experience at their disposal, should have been the better, but in my observation, here is what I’ve learned.

Everyone in an OA meeting is there for the same thing: recovery from compulsive overeating. We buy into running the meeting by adhering to its meeting format. Is the meeting format something that was created by the hierarchy of OA? No. The meeting format has been gleaned by group conscience over the years. So long as the Steps and Traditions are upheld, any one group can modify the meeting format if that is what they decide through group conscience. By following the meeting format, we are giving authority to “a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience” (Tradition Two). We trust the process because we see ourselves and other members recovering from compulsive eating.

I remember once when a local therapist attended my OA meeting. She considered herself an expert, generously lending her knowledge to the meeting. It was apparent, however, that this didn’t work. The only authority in our meeting is a loving God, and OA’s structure is such that we, through the process of listening to all and making informed choices, are able to follow our loving God. OA does not depend upon credentialed experts to lead meetings.

I enjoy being amazed, over and over, by being part of a Fellowship that respects its Traditions. I can be sure that any OA meeting I venture into will take its authority from a loving God as described in Tradition Two.

— Carrie A., Centralia, Washington USA

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