This 10 Day Workshop was held at The Recovery Group on October 16, 2006.

October 16th – October 26th

Share and Questions ~ Tradition Eight

"Overeaters Anonymous should remain forever non-professional,
but our service centers may employ special workers."

My name is Dodee and I'm a compulsive eater.

AA 12 x 12, page 166

“AA will never have a professional class. . .We have discovered that at the point of professionalism, money and spirituality do not mix. Almost no recovery from alcoholism has ever been brought about by the world’s best professionals. . . Every time we have tried to professionalize our Twelfth Step, the result has been exactly the same: Our single purpose has been defeated.

Alcoholics simply will not listen to a paid twelve-stepper.”

From the OA 12 x 12

“As OA members, we may donate many hours of service to each other. . . For this, none of us receives payment in money. Our reward is something that money cannot buy – our own personal recovery.”

On the day that I made my first phone call to an OA office, a man was answering phones. I was terrified, ashamed, embarrassed – and probably other things. I asked for a meeting near my home. He gave me one choice. I got the feeling he was in a hurry to get me off the phone. I heard no empathy in his voice.

I found out later that he was a paid employee of the Intergroup office. He cleaned the office and answered the phone sometimes.

The first service I did outside my home group was to drive to that office to answer phones and return calls for a few hours on Wednesdays. I really wanted those who had the guts to reach out to get to talk to someone who understood how hard it was to make that call.

This Tradition says that it is ok to have paid professionals running offices, answering phones, mailing out literature and doing other administrative jobs. But we are never paid for fellowship service we give.

The first reason I heard for doing service in OA was that it would keep me abstinent. It’s just another paradox of the program. I selfishly give to others to help myself.

Here is one area where TRG differs greatly from OA. All of the administrative jobs on OA are done by volunteers. There are no paid workers at all. There are 1,620 pages of web sites. If you were a paid employee of WSO, you would be supplied with a computer. Of course, each TS of TRG has to buy their own.

Each loop has coordinators, who not only watch over each loop, but do administrative work on it. Some loops have greeters and 12th Step Within positions as well.

All of the special services take work. There are sponsor coordinators, telephone angel coordinators, editors of newsletters, loop division leaders – I could go on and on.

The OA 12 x 12 says that the reason no one is paid for fellowship service is that we need to give every member the opportunity to reap the benefits of doing service. I’m reminded of the adage “many hands make light work.” When each of us does a little, it’s easier to uphold the traditions.

It also talks about members in positions in hospitals or mental health clinics who are also in OA. As in the question from the Tradition Six post yesterday, it discusses the person who is a professional in that field. She is able to share ESH with some people at work, but when she attends her home meeting, she is not a professional and is treated like every other member. It also reminds us that we are to freely give service, but not advice.

Please don't think that I am against having paid professionals in offices of OA, from the Intergroup to the World Service Office. The early AAs learned that it was necessary to have paid positions.


Have you ever tried to “fix” others in your meeting or loop?

Have you ever worn your “professional” hat while in a meeting or loop?

Are you doing your share of service?

What are your reasons for doing service?

Have you ever resisted giving up a job in OA? Do you practice “rotation of service?”

Have you ever treated volunteers like they “owe” you service? For example, demanding to be removed from a loop?

Have you ever taken for granted the service work in your f2f group? For example, the treasurer or person who orders your literature?

Do you see how service work keeps you abstinent, in addition to making you a bigger part of the program or group?

Do you have other thoughts on Tradition Eight?

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