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Of Our Own Accord

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Today, I attended a meeting of a monthly group conscience. The main issue under discussion was whether to start using a timer to limit each member’s share. This was quite a hot topic! It came up because, at our last meeting, a member refused to stop sharing even after they were cut off. Conflict ensued and feelings were hurt. In light of this, our group decided to hold a longer discussion and allow everyone to share thoughts on the matter.

Some people were in favor of timed shares. They did not want our group turning into a place for people to go on and on. They felt it was important that everybody be given the time and opportunity to share. Others felt it would be rude to cut someone off, even if they went over a timed limit. They felt that if someone needed more time, it should be granted.

All the members present were able to share their opinions, and at the end of the meeting, it was agreed that a timer will be used for each share. If the timer goes off but the sharer continues, the leader of the meeting will continue to chime the timer after allowing about a minute in overtime. Finally, we decided to incorporate sharing guidelines into the opening of our group’s meeting format.

This seems like a lot of drama over just a simple matter. I got pretty frustrated during this long ordeal. However, looking back, I can see how this issue was very important to our group. We can only succeed together, and, just like individuals in recovery, our group needs to take regular inventory. We are a program based in solution, and members of each group can decide what works best for that group to succeed.

The beauty of this program is that my group decided to make a change. We do not force or put down any other groups who do not follow our lead. What works for my group might not work for every group. Each group has the ability to create a structure that works for them. As long as they are not abusing the OA program, they are able to operate of their own accord.

I found my group and I am so grateful we have the Traditions to keep it strong and current with my recovery.

— Edited and reprinted from OA Today newsletter, Saint Louis Bi-State Intergroup, April 2017

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