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Language of Unity

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A number of years ago, my intergroup passed a motion supporting our belief that while meeting formats may differ, there is but one Overeaters Anonymous. Over the last few months, we had discussed as a group the “language of unity.” We agreed that what we call ourselves and each other can serve to unite or divide us.

One of OA’s strongest assets is that there is not just one way or one right way to work the program. What works for one person may not work for another. As a result, there is a need for (and room for) many different meeting formats under the OA umbrella. We are all part of OA, joined by the desire to stop eating compulsively and to carry the message of recovery to the still-suffering compulsive overeater. Meeting formats and the ways people work their programs may change. The Steps, Tools, Traditions, and Concepts of OA, however, do not change.

Our intergroup wants to make sure it sends the message clearly—we are all part of Overeaters Anonymous, and none of us is modifying OA. Sending this message is especially important in our publications and communications. We may attend meetings with different formats, agreed upon by respective group consciences. We do not, however, belong to different types of OA. OA’s framework is broad enough for us all. Therefore, in our language we do not want to give the impression that any of us modify OA. It is with this intent that we passed the following motion at our intergroup meeting:

“There are not different kinds of OA. There are, however, different meeting formats such as HOW meetings, Step meetings, Big Book study meetings, Traditions meetings and literature discussion meetings. In intergroup publications and communications, OA will always be referred to as OA. If distinctions are wanted or needed they should refer to meeting descriptors or meeting formats.”

This motion was passed in order to provide guidelines for differentiation of groups within our Fellowship. The goal is to provide a framework, so we do not imply that by using terms such as “traditional OA” or “regular OA,” we modify OA.

— Becky

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