Q.
As a recovering anorexic/bulimic, I’ve been encouraged over the past thirty years by the addition of more inclusive wording in our literature, such as the phrase “compulsive food behaviors.” Has any thought been given to gender-neutral modifications to the Twelve Steps? When I read them, I say: “care of God/Higher Power as we understand that Higher Power” and “Humbly ask God/Higher Power to remove our shortcomings” and “as we understand that HP . . . asking only for knowledge of God’s will.” In my own group, I’ve asked that gentle consideration be given when I read the Steps aloud because I don’t want to limit my Higher Power by gender designations.

A.
I agree that our Higher Power should not be limited by gender designation. But when I read the Steps, I personally don’t think of God or even the word “He” as limiting my Higher Power to be male.

Our Steps were adopted in 1963 at our second World Service Business Conference, the group conscience of OA. WSBC has discussed the changes that you have suggested, most recently in 2018, but also in 2013, and in previous years. Each time, the vote of the delegates was to keep the Steps as is. So, our Steps should be read aloud as written, but we can replace any words we want to in our minds.

The Steps of Overeaters Anonymous are fundamental to recovery in our program, and we have a very high criteria for changing the Steps, which is spelled out in our bylaws. To change the wording of the Steps, two-thirds of a quorum of delegates to a World Service Business Conference must vote to change them. In addition, registered groups must be notified, at least 55 percent of registered groups must respond within six months, and of the groups that respond, 75 percent must ratify the decision. — Members of the Board of Trustees provide answers to these questions

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