Tradition Nine
OA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.


It took me a while to become comfortable with Tradition Nine. To my ordered, rule-oriented mind, Tradition Nine felt a little loosey-goosey. Who’s in charge? How do we get anything done? Who makes the decisions? These were just a few of the questions I asked myself.

How wonderful it is that all of us are in charge, in one form or another. We’re all in charge of our own side of the street and our own programs, but we’ve relinquished that iron-fisted control urge we used to know so well. By practicing the Steps and Traditions to the best of our abilities, we come together with many different perspectives, always keeping in mind our primary purpose: to carry the message of recovery to those in need.

It’s wonderful how many things get done in our St. Louis Bi-State Intergroup! Meeting groups come together to host Super Saturdays. Committees form to plan and implement retreats, public information projects, and letter-writing campaigns to health care professionals. We all have a voice in decisions made at all levels—group, intergroup, region, even world service. How gratifying it is that these decisions are all based on following our primary purpose: to carry the message of recovery to those still suffering from compulsive eating.

Our intergroup is made up of a small, dedicated group of folks who show up nine Sundays every year to keep track of a budget, plan events and projects, and send representatives to region and world service events. We are chronically short of help, both on the board and in the general intergroup. OA ought never be organized, but that does not give members a pass on giving service and contributing some of our time. I encourage you to give service at the intergroup level. It’s good for our program, and it’s good for groups as a whole.

“Trusting our Higher Power rather than any organizational structure, we can now take responsibility for our shared lives and for the OA Fellowship in which we are recovering together” (The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 183). Thank you, intergroup reps and board for your service to our Fellowship—you are a wonderful reminder of this important Tradition.

Edited and reprinted from OA Today newsletter, St. Louis Bi-State Area Intergroup, September 2016

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