Hi, I am a compulsive overeater and have been in OA for twenty-six years. I have been abstinent for almost three years and have lost about 200 pounds (90 kg).

In the beginning, Bill W. turned away from the bar to carry the message of recovery to Dr. Bob. From one person to another, from one service to another, Twelve Step programs and OA came into being. We now have our own OA Steps, Traditions, and Concepts of Service. Our Preamble, Step Twelve, and Tradition Five all ask us to carry the message of recovery to those who still suffer. And our Concepts guide us in how to do it.

The message we carry is simple: There is a proven, workable way to recover through the Twelve Steps of OA. How we carry that message is through service, guided by the Concepts. I remember sitting in an intergroup meeting reading The Twelve Concepts of OA Service when something clicked: This pamphlet is talking about me! Not just them, the Board of Trustees, because there is no “them” in OA, only we and us. The pamphlet tells me to butt out of doing someone else’s job; let them do it their way, even if they are not doing it right (i.e., my way). I started reading in earnest. Now I’ve taken the Concepts and made them easier for me to swallow.

  • I bring God into everything I do, and I can say a prayer at any time (Concepts One and Two).
  • I make sure I know what I’m doing and am clear about what I need (Concepts Three and Nine).
  • I have a voice. I make sure everyone else does too (Concepts One and Four).
  • I recognize it is okay to make mistakes; in fact, it is expected (Concepts Three and Five).
  • I try not to do too much (Concepts Six and Seven).I ask for help when I need it (Concepts Eight and Eleven).
  • I do not do something I asked someone else to do (Concepts Three and Ten).
  • I trust the process. I don’t judge the judging (Concept Twelve).
  • I do not think “I’m all that!” (Concept Twelve).

These practices aren’t only for my service; they also help in my everyday life, even in just setting up my plan of eating and action plan for the day. As with all the OA program, it is all about relationships. I hope you find this as helpful as I do.

— Lyn C., Western Massachusetts, USA

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