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World Service, Worldwide Friends

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I’ve long been a self-proclaimed “service junkie.” I learned very early the benefits of attending more than just one group. I’ve also reaped the benefits of having a sponsor and being a sponsor. It didn’t take me long at all to get involved at the group, intergroup, region, and world service levels, and I’ve been blessed to attend some of our World Service Conventions.

It can be difficult to adequately express the rewards of stepping outside the safe and comfortable room of my home group. Stepping beyond my group, I met others in my local community and expanded my knowledge of OA as I listened to many other members share their varied experiences. I found new friends in nearby groups, and eventually, I became involved in our intergroup. Similarly, as I attended our region assemblies, I met more wonderful people from beyond my own country. We are fortunate that our OA regions typically cross borders into at least one other country.

My service and involvement at the region level then introduced me to World Service Business Conference. In this setting, not only did I meet people from many countries but also some of our World Service Office staff for the first time. At my first two Conferences, I even had the pleasure of meeting and spending a bit of time with our founder, Rozanne S.

I love to travel. I always have. During two personal trips to Europe, I had the fabulous opportunity to attend meetings in Scotland, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Portugal. In each of these countries, I was met with a warm welcome from an OA member. Today, I have friends throughout the world whom I’ve met only because I was willing to admit my powerlessness over food, willing to step outside of the comfort of my own group, and willing to trust in a Higher Power to guide my path along the way.

One disadvantage of service is that it can take away from family time, but World Service Convention often gives us the opportunity to have both. Our Conventions are often located— just a walk, short drive, or shuttle to many well-known attractions. (The planning committee always considers locations with nearby attractions and arranges special room rates to allow for stays before and after Convention.) I make plans to go early and take some family time before settling into the Convention.

I always look forward to Conventions. I know I’ll be reunited with my “worldwide friends” and meet new ones. The speakers, the workshops, and the exploring before and after are all wonderful. Most heartwarming is when I see a friendly face from somewhere, anywhere, and “I put my hand in yours” again.

— Bonnie

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