Just what are “trusted servants?” We read Tradition Two every week in our meeting. It states in part, “Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” While I was attending an OA region meeting, it became very clear to me just what that “trusted” bit means. Looking at the leaders of the meeting, watching them be sane, reasonable, and wise for three days, I realized they shared certain characteristics that enabled me to trust them.

First, they were all abstinent, with a five-year current minimum for abstinence. They prove to me that this program works in them—and not just that it can work, but that it does work. I appreciate having leaders who are abstinent today, and for many days leading up to today. It means they are grounded in physical recovery.

Second, those trusted leaders were working the Steps to the best of their ability. For proof, see their continued abstinence. More proof was evident in their sanity, maturity, and humility. They were willing to apologize when they made a mistake or began to take something too personally, and they were also willing to be unpopular when they felt the next right thing might go against a popular opinion.

Third, each sane and abstinent leader was using the Twelve Steps outlined in the Big Book as his or her plan for living. They were living examples that abstinence is the point of Overeaters Anonymous. Without abstinence, we have little of substance to offer the newcomer.

At my home meeting, if a member holding a service position breaks abstinence, that person steps down from that responsibility. This is not punitive but merely respectful of the group and the Tradition to have “trusted” servants. There are jobs every day that anyone can help with, such as setting up chairs or stacking them after the meeting, so there is always service available to everyone who wants to help.

Thank you to all those trusted servants—abstinent, working the Steps, and living in recovery—for leading OA today.

—Anonymous, United Kingdom

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