Our First Tradition states, “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity.” To be part of this whole, to belong, my piece of the puzzle is service.

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous states: “We need daily opportunities to be of service to other compulsive overeaters, opportunities which the OA group provides” (p. 110).

Service, for me, is a most important part of this wonderful OA puzzle. Our program grows when we each give service. Thankfully, we have different talents (gifts); we are financial wizards or artists or orators. In my years in program, I have discovered I have many gifts that benefit OA. To share these gifts is not only my responsibility, it’s also my privilege.

My path in OA included service even before I walked into my first meeting. A relative handed me the pamphlet Fifteen Questions and invited me to go to a meeting. There, someone welcomed me and said, “Keep coming back.” Those small acts of service touched my heart and made me feel like I belonged. My first sponsor said, “You won’t keep it unless you give it away.” So I went to meetings early to set up and welcome newcomers.

Then my service opportunities expanded, and with each one came a feeling of belonging. At my first intergroup meeting I said, “I’m just going to listen,” but soon I was planning a workshop. It was such fun, and I rediscovered organizational skills that I enjoyed. An intergroup member encouraged me to attend region assembly, and we carried the message through a public information committee and convention planning. When I walked into my first World Service Business Conference, I was in awe of OA members who were passionate about service. I have that passion today, and I love to share it even after thirty-seven years of recovery.

I ask two things of my sponsees: be honest and do service. This is what I was taught, and sharing my gifts has given me a life second to none.

We can never know when a small act of service will touch the heart of another compulsive eater. Our pieces fit perfectly when each of us brings our unique way to serve, to be part of a whole, to belong.

— Barbara B., Cape Cod, Massachusetts

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