How can I best serve Thee-
Thy will (not mine) be done.
My name is Shlomo I am a food addict and compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.
Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006
Now that you have done the work on all twelve steps and continue to live all twelve steps on a daily basis,
It is time to do some work on the traditions.
We don't have the time to do the traditions real justice, since I didn't plan on writing about them in this workshop. But as I think that no recovery is complete without them, I will share a bit on the traditions hoping that you will continue to study and implement them in your life, since they are spiritual principles that teach us how to relate to others.
One of the assignments in the previous share was to read the traditions and their interpretations in the literature and to answer some questions about applying them in your family.
Now it is my turn to share on the OA traditions.
First let me write the five requirements that a group or meeting has to meet in order to be registered as an OA meeting:
OA Bylaws, Subpart B, Article V—OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS GROUPS SECTION 1—Definition
a).1. As a group, they meet to practice the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. 2. All who have a desire to stop eating compulsively are welcome in the group. 3. No member is required to practice any actions in order to remain a member or to have a voice (share at a meeting). 4. As a group, they have no affiliation other than OA.
Section 2–Composition a). A group may be formed by two (2) or more persons meeting together as set forth in Article V, Section 1.
To this was added the requirement that groups should meet and share in real time, which excludes the TRG and other internet loops from possible registration by OA
"Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity."
This reminds me of the saying: 'United we stand; divided we fall.'
This is true for every team effort, be it in sports, at home, (looking at a family unit as a team), at work, in a fellowship meeting, in fact everywhere.
What unites us in OA?
The two components of the cement: Our common illness and our common solution.
There are no rules that command us to do anything in OA.
No one can force me to do anything, and I am very much encouraged to be myself and express my individuality in my step work my abstinence and everything else.
So why should I care about the welfare of the group or meeting?
Because I need them. I need the help of the other food addicts.
I need to help other food addicts.
I need to share with other food addicts and I need to hear other food addicts share.
I can't work on my recovery alone.
In order to recover I need help and I need to help others.
So the common welfare of the meeting and the fellowship is of the utmost importance to me.
We are like musicians in an orchestra who play different instruments.
Everyone has his part.
The parts may be individually different but when played together united in the common goal of producing a symphony, a wonderful thing happens.
A synergetic effect. A musical masterpiece is recreated.
By working together as a team we have achieved something that could not be achieved if everyone thought only of himself and didn't care about keeping pace with the others.
An orchestra is a nice example of how boring it could be if all the instruments were the same and played the same parts, and how wonderful it is to be composed of different instruments who express their individuality not only by being different but by playing different parts and together creating something beautiful.
The same is true in football, basketball and it is true in all our affairs where we act as social human beings.
We are by nature social human beings and we are also by nature individual human beings. Even such a simple thing as our fingerprints is different and unique to each person on this planet.
So unity and not uniformity is the rule.
What is meant by our common welfare comes first?
We have to be concerned about the wellbeing of the group as a whole.
We have to understand that what we think is good or convenient for us is not always good for the group and I should not try to force the group to do what I want.
I have a right to my individuality and I have the right to express my opinions but once a group decides on something I should not try to divide the group.
I should try to understand and look for what I have in common with others and not what are our differences.
I should try to understand the group's needs and reasons for what is done even if I think differently, and I should support the group.
Let me give a simple example that pertains to common welfare and unity.
In my home group a decision was reached that food names should not be mentioned in the meeting.
I didn't think it was a good idea.
I think that food should be mentioned freely and not mentioning it is just a form of hiding from it that does not contribute anything to my recovery
The traditions don't say anything about mentioning food.
This is something that is left for each meeting to decide for itself.
Others said that when food is mentioned it makes them want to eat and encourages them to binge.
The decision was made and food is not mentioned.
I should try to understand that the group (most people in it) feels more comfortable when food is not mentioned.
I should try and find the reasons for this feeling even if the reasons were not expressed in the meeting.
I think I did find them or at least some of them.
If we share about food it is usually about relapse.
And most people in the group want to hear more about the recovery part since this is what encourages them to continue with their recovery efforts.
So I should avoid mentioning foods in this meeting and not try to steer people up against something that to me looks a bit silly but is not against the traditions and makes the group as a whole more comfortable.
Now let us see what this means at home with my family.
The common welfare of the family should be my first consideration. That means providing for them financially, spending quality time with them, taking care of each other. Letting other family members express their individuality and their opinions freely and not forcing them to accept mine. Being there for them when they need me.
There is a saying: treat your family members at least as well as you treat your sponsees.
It is amazing sometimes how we treat our sponsees with love patience and tolerance and don't express those things towards our family members.
At work when we work as a team on a project I should do my share and have the success of the project in mind. I should do my work and help and cooperate with others when they need help, and ask for help when I need it.
I should not try to be a star who does not consider others but see how we can progress together while each one does his individual part.
"For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern."
This tradition is not about God's role as an authority in OA. It is about our behavior in OA.
God is mentioned to let me know that there is an authority and it is not I, in spite of what I may think.
A group is composed of human beings so the traditions are meant to teach the members of the group how to behave.
Traditions one and two are about my need to understand others and learn from them.
So I should not try to control. I can't give orders and no one can give me orders.
There are only positions of service.
Those are tasks that I can and should volunteer to do in order to help the group function and exist, like secretary, treasurer, taking care of the tea and coffee supply, inviting speakers, welcoming newcomers, arranging the room for the meeting etc…
Decisions in the group about what should be done in each task, how long a person stays in a task, how long is the meeting, what kind of format to read, the nature of the meeting, how long is each sharing time, etc… are all made by group conscience.
A group conscience is different than just a majority vote in the following aspects.
First it should be an informed group conscience.
Which means that the members should have a clear idea of the subject they are meant to vote on and have their say for and against it.
Everyone can ask for a group conscience on a matter that he thinks should be changed or introduced to the group.
When I vote I should think of the welfare of the whole and not on what is only convenient for me.
Examples of some matters dealt by group conscience are the length of the meeting, the time of the meeting, the day of the meeting, bringing pets like dogs, bringing babies or small children to the meeting,
requirements from speakers, etc… all those are dealt with by group conscience.
In fact everything pertaining to the group is dealt with by group conscience.
If the group conscience decides against my opinion I should accept it since this is the common welfare and I have to accept it and keep unity.
There is one thing that a group conscience cannot decide and that is any decision that is contrary to the traditions.
The traditions themselves are not a subject that can be voted on in a group conscience.
No one can give me orders and no one can enforce rules but my best interest is to have the group's welfare and unity come first and therefore working against them is working against myself and my recovery.
Now let us see what this means at home with my family.
I have to respect every family member's opinion on issues pertaining to the family, not try to control others and force them to do my will.
What we do and what we don't do in the family should be clear to all and accepted by all by way of a group conscience.
Service tasks like chores should be filled and shared between family members as well as benefits like allowances to children etc…
Children should participate in family group conscience according to their ability and age.
There should be rules and boundaries agreed upon by group conscience and so things shouldn't be dictated and tasks should be rotated.
At work, and in all my affairs.
Not every tradition can be applied outside OA as it is applied in OA but the essence can be applied
In my relations with others I should have the welfare of the whole at heart, giving a helping hand, explaining rules and decisions, trying to do things in an atmosphere of harmony and understanding, and not by forcing my opinions and orders on others.
Whenever there is a possibility of arriving to a decision by voting it should be preferred,
keeping in mind that it is not my task to rule the world and not even a small part of it.
But it is part of my well being to work for the well being of the whole even if it is not always what is personally convenient for me.
"The only requirement for OA membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively"
No one can decide for me if I am an OA member or not.
I don't really have to do anything to be a member.
I don't have to work the steps or be abstinent, or anything else and still have the right to sit in the meeting and share the same as others.
There may be special requirements for service tasks in the meeting or for speakers in a meeting.
But there are no requirements for sharing or participating in a group conscience.
The only time I can be expelled from a meeting is if I behave violently or harass people in the meeting, and that is only from that meeting at that time.
I am can't be expelled from OA and I can return to the next meeting.
OA exists so everyone can have the opportunity to recover even if he does nothing in that direction except come to a meeting.
In order to recover I have to work on the recovery program.
But I don't have to recover in order to be a member.
I am only given the opportunity to work on my recovery.
At home with my family.
One cannot decide for me what I am or what I am not.
It is for me to decide.
Let us say that my son tells me one day that he is a homosexual.
I have to accept him and love him as he is. It does not make him less a member or less loved.
I shouldn't interfere with his decisions or convictions.
"Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or OA as a whole."
No one can dictate to a group what to do, but if a group wants to be registered as an OA group it cannot decide to do anything against the traditions since this may affect other groups and OA as a whole.
A group cannot decide that it does not use the twelve steps and the twelve traditions as the basis for its meetings.
That is the only restriction.
All the rest is up to the group to decide and decisions are of course made by group conscience.
Autonomy is also autonomy from outside influences.
Outside organizations should not be allowed to interject their practices into OA meetings
Let us say that the group meets in a church or a hospital or some other institution.
Those institutions cannot dictate to the group how to behave or run its meetings.
As a member don't impose your will on the group and don't judge others in the group.
They have their right to their ways and mistakes.
At home with my family.
Respect the choices of each family member and don't dictate to him.
And don't let others dictate to the family.
The family reaches decisions autonomously.
"Each group has but one primary purpose- to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers."
What is the message?
The message is that there is recovery from food addiction and compulsive overeating.
The recovery is achieved by having a spiritual awakening as the result of working all twelve steps.
We have to stick to this primary purpose since in order to stay in recovery I have to share my recovery with others and in order to recover I have to learn from others who have recovered how they did it .
I can share and learn about recovery in OA meetings if they stick to the fifth tradition.
Otherwise the message will be so diluted in other issues that it will not be recognizable and then it will be lost.
As a member of the group it is therefore my duty to share not only about my problems but also about my efforts to solve them by working the steps.
If I don't know what to do I can ask for help and get it from other members who can share their experience with me after the meeting.
The overeaters who still suffer may be newcomers and may be others who have not reached recovery or have relapsed.
Even those in recovery have to hear the message in order to strengthen their recovery and of course they have to share their own recovery.
At home with my family.
What is the main purpose of the family unit?
I think it is to raise children and give them a loving caring and supporting environment.
As long as I stick to the primary purpose the family will function as it should, in harmony and benefits, for all its members.
I shouldn't let problems at work or differences of opinions with my wife or children disrupt the primary purpose.
It means showing the love and care by actively spending quality time with the children, being supportive and loving, and letting them develop and express themselves as they see fit and not force my opinions on them.
Building and developing harmonious relationships with the wife and children and so on.
"An OA group ought never endorse, finance, or lead the OA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose."
Tradition six tells me how to keep the groups focus on the primary purpose.
OA groups stick to their own business which is recovery from food addiction by working the steps and traditions.
There are a lot of really worthwhile enterprises out there.
As an individual I can belong and participate in any of them.
But an OA group should not, and I should not promote them or deal with them in OA meetings.
The same with money property and prestige.
This tradition does not say that I as an individual have to be poor. It says that an OA group should not deal with such issues.
Since those issues are very controversial and will split and divide the group conscience and disrupt the group.
What is true for the group is also true for OA as a whole.
The organization should be a non profit organization and not have any property.
A group should not have property and should not deal with accumulating money.
The money contributions should be used for paying rent on the meeting place, and paying expenses like buying coffee and tea for the meeting, paying the traveling expenses of speakers who are invited from other groups, buying literature, etc...
There should be just a few months reserve money for regular expenses.
I there is any money left it should be contributed to the OA intergroup or main office to help with their activities.
Those activities include a website, printing pamphlets, meeting lists, publishing and printing literature, etc…
OA is not affiliated with anything that is not OA.
This is an all encompassing interpretation of the sixth tradition.
It also includes other twelve step fellowships, even those who are dealing with recovery from compulsive overeating.
OA is not affiliated with online loops and therefore TRG is considered by OA to be an outside issue.
This was brought on because one of the criterions for An OA group or a group that is recognized by OA is that the meeting and sharing should be in real time. This cannot be done in loops. It can be done in online meetings and therefore TRG meetings are recognized by OA.
In this matter OA is a bit behind the times
AA did recognize the internet as a legitimate place to practice the AA message.
Personally I hope that one day all the fellowships that deal with recovery from compulsive overeating by the twelve steps and twelve traditions will be united and that includes the internet fellowships, loops and meetings.
I as an OA member can do something to help this happen sooner by asking OA to discuss this matter of internet loops and to vote on it again. If a lot of OA members flooded OA WSO with requests to accept online loops it may help OA to move in this direction.
At home with my family.
I don't criticize others approach to life.
I don't have the right to judge others and I should not be influenced by others.
As an individual or even a family, money and accumulating money and property is not something that should not be dealt with, unless I tend to misuse it and then the family should act together to use money sensibly.
"Every OA group should be self supporting, declining outside contributions."
To be independent means to be self supporting. Otherwise we will be dependent on the supporters and will have to do what they want us to do.
This means that every group should support itself by its own contributions and I as a member am responsible to contribute so that the group can continue to exist and function.
The same is true for OA as a whole.
Every meeting should also support OA since it is part of the whole.
OA 's World Service Office (WSO) provides important services like publishing books, pamphlets, lifeline journal, maintaining worldwide meeting lists, and answering all kinds of questions and inquiries and informing the world of our existence and activities.
All this costs money and this comes from the donations of the groups.
This is not all there is to self support.
A functioning group and a functioning OA need all kinds of volunteers for service.
A group cannot function without members volunteering for service in the group.
The same is true for intergroups and OA as a whole.
Part of my recovery is giving service.
It is also important to limit the service period in order to avoid the turning of a service task into a control task.
One member should have only one task.
There should be a time limit to the service task. The usual service period in a group is half a year to a year.
Then someone else should take this task and if there is no volunteer then it should remain open, even if the group finds it difficult to function.
We learn to get out of our self centeredness and selfishness by doing service and we learn to ask for help from group members.
In all my affairs:
I have to be balanced in money matters, and not spend more that I earn.
This is the meaning of self supporting. It is true for the family unit and is true for the individual.
Every member of the family should contribute his share by doing service tasks (chores) in the family, and do what he can according to his age.
A child who goes to school should concentrate on his studies and do some chores at home.
If he can do some work that earns him pocket money and it does not affect his other activities adversely then he should do it.
Everyone should help at home and not wait for others to do for him what he can do himself.
As an individual, if I have problems with the IRS and I am helped by an accountant I don't leave him with all the work. I help him in whatever I can and ask him if there is anything else I can do to help .
If I go bankrupt I don't leave everything to my lawyer. I do my part and help him in any way I can.
I have to be aware of undue dependency on others and also on isolation from others.
Let us say I am a damsel in distress. My car has a flat tire and a nice knight stops his car and offers to help.
I don't just give him the keys and tell him to open the trunk and start working.
I help him with the changing the wheel, even if I get my hands and dress dirty.
I should not let him do for me what I can do for myself.
"Overeaters anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers."
Working the steps and teaching the steps is experiential.
I have to experience the disease and the recovery.
Otherwise I am trying to transmit something I have not got and experience shows that it does not work, since there will be no identification and no real opening up to one another.
So the twelve step work should be done by us compulsive overeaters and it should be done freely as it was given to us freely.
As an organization there are some tasks like office work accounting, etc, that are best left to professionals.
For those tasks OA may employ special workers.
At home with my family.
We have to remember our primary purpose. The love and care of the family for its children.
So if in order to spend more quality time with the children and each other we can hire someone to do some of the household work it could be a good thing.
We have to be careful not to overdo it since some chores at home are good for teaching the children responsibility.
"OA as such out never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve."
Organizations can be described by the power pyramid.
At the top is the head of the organization. Under him are the executives and at the base are their workers.
Orders and directions come down from the top to the base.
That is the way organizations work but that is not the way twelve step fellowships work.
The twelve step fellowships can be described by an inverted pyramid.
The base which is composed of the meetings is up and the top of the pyramid which is WSO is down.
And between WSO and the groups are all the other boards and intergroups.
There is no chain of command since no one can command or force anyone to do anything.
All the positions are service positions and not control positions
The service boards and committees can make suggestions and they make suggestions, but any group can accept or reject the suggestions as it sees fit.
The reason it works so well is because the common problem and the common solution force everyone to consider the welfare of the whole first, knowing that without the fellowship we are doomed.
So the groups deal with recovery and the service bodies deal with suggestions and actions on helping and facilitating recovery.
Every position in OA is a service position for a limited period of time and the person is approved for the position by a group conscience.
At home with my family.
Humans are social beings. They need to connect to others and are also able to separate and be alone.
We feel comfortable and safe with boundaries and some kind of pecking order.
Boundaries are also important in the family.
Children should know their duties and their rights and what is expected of them and so should the adults.
There should not be enforcement but mutual understanding of what is best for the family.
This is achieved by discussion and letting everyone share his opinion.
And decisions should be made by mutual agreements.
This makes for harmonious family life.
In other organizations and at work the power pyramid is usually a necessity.
But there too it is important to keep bureaucracy to a minimum or it takes on a life of its own and jeopardizes the organization by stifling and petrifying it.
"Overeaters anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the OA name ought never to be drawn into public controversy."
We have only one thing to deal with in OA and that is recovery by the twelve steps and twelve traditions.
Everything else is an outside issue.
That includes religion, diet clubs, nutrition, politics, even other twelve step fellowships, literature that is not OA approved (AA approved literature is also approved by OA)
Having no opinion does not mean that as individuals we don't have opinions on those issues or don't participate in them. But we don't deal with them in OA.
Not expressing opinions on outside issues in OA goes both ways.
We don't express approval and we don't express disapproval.
We just don't deal with them and deal only with our primary purpose of recovery from compulsive overeating by the twelve steps and twelve traditions of OA.
This keeps us focused and concentrated on our main purpose of carrying the message.
In all our affairs.
We don't judge others and their views on politics and any other issue.
A lot of times getting caught on outside issues is a sign of self avoidance.
Instead of dealing with what should be done I deal with something else.
I should watch out for this and always examine my motives.
"Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always to maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television, and other public media of communication."
The information about OA and its existence should be given to the public at all levels and means of communication.
People cannot be attracted if they don't know that OA exists and what it does.
Promotion means giving promises, like come to OA and you will lose fifty pounds in 30 days, and all kinds of other promises that are given by different kinds of commercial organizations.
We don't promote. We don't give out promises. We just tell about OA and its activity.
OA is not anonymous and shouldn't be anonymous.
We maintain personal anonymity.
This means that while we give information about OA we don't give information about ourselves.
I don't appear on television saying I recovered and lost 400 pounds in OA why don't you?
We maintain personal anonymity in order to avoid ego inflation and in order to guard OA,
Since today I may be in recovery and tomorrow I may be into my illness and people who look on me as an OA representative will give OA bad publicity which it does not deserve.
So personal anonymity is necessary for my recovery and for OA as a whole, and should never be broken.
In all my affairs.
An inflated ego is dangerous for my recovery so personal anonymity should be preferred.
Unless there is a real and justified need to disregard it.
"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."
Anonymity and humility go hand in hand.
It means that we treat everyone as equals in OA.
We don't look down on anyone and we don't worship anyone.
There are no stars in OA since being a star is usually an ego trip which eventually brings a downfall.
Looking at everyone on eye level, not judging or criticizing other members or what they do and not worshiping some of them, is the key to our behavior in OA.
There shouldn't be self promoting or tries for distinction.
We are all God's children gathered together for the purpose of recovery from our common illness.
And as such we are all equal.
In all my affairs.
I don't try to promote myself at the expense of others.
Which of course also means avoiding gossip and behaving according to the code of love and tolerance towards others.
What I try to do in this share on the traditions is encourage you to study them and apply them in your life and when you sponsor to make the traditions and their practice part of what the sponsees should learn and do.
1. Give specific examples from your personal experience in twelve step groups, how the traditions were used to solve all kinds of problems and also give examples of tradition violations in meetings and how those were resolved.
2. Give specific examples of different aspects of your life where you apply or should apply the traditions.
3. If you are an OA member and think it important that the tool of online loops should be part of OA, make suggestions in OA to remove the restriction of real time communication.
Share with us.
4. Go over the 20 questions that you answered at the beginning of this workshop.
The questions are on the website in the first share of step one.
Answer the questions again.
Share with us the differences between your present answers and your answers at the beginning of the workshop.
5. Share with us what you gained from this workshop and how it affected you.
If you have any suggestions please share them too.
I will be with you till the end of this month. And answer any questions that you have about the steps and the traditions. As always you are invited to ask questions. Your questions are always welcome and are really needed.
I want to thank all of you for your participation in this workshop.
I enjoyed it immensely and I learned a lot from your shares and questions.
Thanks are due to Gary who does a marvelous job of putting the shares and the questions and answers on the website as soon as possible and sometimes even sooner.
I also thank Gary for his patience with my corrections and pickiness.
I thank Mari the TRG founder (her cofounder was God) who talked me into giving this workshop and gave me a free hand to do it any way I see fit.
I thank the WTS adm. for their help.
I thank my H.P. for giving me the inspiration and the ability to write and just let the words flow.
If there are any mistakes, wrong interpretations or unclear explanations they are my doing not His.
If some of you want to keep in touch after the workshop or ask questions you are welcome.
Just write to: Shlomosh@actcom.co.il
I wish us all a life full of recovery
Food addict and compulsive overeater.
Questions for the Leader
1. Should a speaker in a meeting or a member who shares in the meeting identify himself by his full name or tell personal information about himself?
2. Should the names of speakers and leaders of meetings or studies or workshops be published in inside informational material like fliers newsletters etc… or announced verbally before the event?
1. The question of anonymity is dealt with by traditions eleven and twelve.
Tradition eleven is about PERSONAL anonymity at the level of the press, radio films and other communication media.
When appearing in the media as an OA member one should keep personal anonymity and not give his name or picture.
Information should be given about OA but not information that identifies or glorifies a particular member.
When a member speaks or shares at an OA meeting he may give any personal information he wants including his full name address and phone number.
Or he may give no information about himself at all.
It is up to him.
At meetings members usually identify themselves by their first name or their first name and the initial of their family name, but there is nothing contrary to the traditions with identifying myself by my full name or using a fictitious name.
People who do service have their names and phone numbers printed on OA newsletters and on the OA website in order to facilitate
getting in contact with them.
On the OA website the private names and phone numbers of contact persons for meetings are published.
This is information that has to be given in order for OA to function properly.
The names of people who do service in intergroups and other service bodies and their phone numbers are often printed in OA newsletters to facilitate getting in touch with them and get needed information from them.
2. In OA, the intergroups, regions, individual groups or any other sponsoring service bodies refrain from publishing the names or titles of speakers/leaders at OA functions in all informational materials (flyers, newsletters, etc.)
This results from the interpretation of 'principles before personalities' in tradition twelve.
We don't set members up on pedestals and we don't have stars, since this is ego inflating to the individual and can interfere with his recovery.
It is also not in accordance with the humility principle and equality of people in OA.
Of course when the speaker or leader in the meeting or marathon or study begins to speak he may share whatever he wants about himself, including his full name address and phone number.
Other fellowships may act differently. It depends on their interpretation of traditions eleven and twelve.
Different fellowships interpret the traditions a bit differently and implement them differently.
TRG is not OA.
A fellowship in cyberspace is different than a fellowship not in cyberspace.
Its structure is different and its service and organizational needs are different.
The interpretation of the traditions in TRG and their implementation can't be exactly the same as in OA.
They have to be adapted to the different conditions in cyberspace.
Therefore TRG has its own interpretation and implementation of the traditions.
You can read them at:
The name was changed from traditions to guidelines for some reason that is not entirely clear to me but those are the traditions and their implementation in TRG.
In TRG the custom is to announce the names of the speakers/leaders and sometimes give information about the speaker and what he intends to talk about or do in a particular meeting or study.
The idea behind this is not to glorify the speaker, but to arouse the interest of all the members of TRG and entice more of them to participate in an activity that may enhance their recovery.
This is done for every speaker and leader so they are treated equally as people who give this particular service.
If this policy should be changed or not is a matter for group conscience, remembering that it is not the tradition that may be changed but its interpretation and implementation.
Food addict and compulsive overeater
When you wrote about the traditions you wrote about the OA traditions.
Does this mean that WTS is part of OA or affiliated with OA?
The WTS loop is part of The Recovery Group (TRG).
TRG is an independent and autonomous 12 step fellowship. It is not part of OA and is not affiliated with OA.
What I wrote about the OA traditions is also essentially true about the TRG traditions .
But still there are some differences in the implementation of the traditions that should be discussed . So I will do it here.
OA is the oldest 12 step fellowship that deals with recovery from compulsive eating and food addiction. But it is not the only one. There are GreySheet and CEA-HOW that were once part of OA and left OA to become independent fellowships because of disagreements about the implementation of the traditions. There is FAA which was never part of OA .
There are other groups which are active in cyberspace.
TRG is the largest and oldest cyberspace twelve step fellowship and is a haven for giving support and practicing recovery from compulsive eating and food addiction.
TRG is also the only 12 Step "community" offering e-mail support groups, online 12 Step meetings, foreign loops and meetings, a newsletter, a sponsor program, a Writer series and other programs and services.
TRG was founded in 1995 and began with two loops WTS-Working the Steps and Journey to Recovery. It grew and developed to many different loops and Online meetings.
You can read the information about TRG, the loops and the meetings on the TRG web site.
TRG follows the same traditions as A.A with the appropriate changes from 'A.A' to 'The Recovery Group' and from 'drinking' to 'eating compulsively'.
The implementation of the traditions in TRG is not the same as in OA, mainly because of the varied structure of TRG and its broad minded attitude towards recovery.
And because it is active in cyberspace which is an entirely different ball game than face to face (f2f) meetings.
Cyberspace gives a very wide variety of possibilities to practice recovery that are at the fingertips of the member, something that is impossible with f2f meetings.
There are also a variety of issues in cyberspace, technical and otherwise, that demand specific implementations of the traditions.
Some of TRG's specific interpretations of the traditions are as follows:
In the 12 step loops and in the meetings we recommend reading OA and AA approved literature and of course literature written by TRG.
In the special focus loops the members may also quote different material specific to that loop's focus as long as they don't infringe on copyrights.
Cross talk is not allowed in the loops and meetings.
We define cross talk as responding to another's share or giving advice, or debating with someone.
It is okay to respond to a person's share by adding one's own experience, strength and hope and using the original share as a springboard. It is also okay to congratulate someone or encourage someone.
In the WTS loop the only shares allowed are answers to the leaders assignments and requests.
Special focus loops.
Any homogenous environment for dealing with compulsive eating is not considered an outside issue.
Therefore TRG has special focus loops of different kinds like a loop for alcoholics who are compulsive eaters, a loop for Christians who are compulsive eaters, a loop for people who follow the greysheet food plan, loops for compulsive eaters who are diabetics or homebound or suffered abuse, loops for kids and teens, and dozens of other special focus loops.
The lists can be seen on the TRG web site at http://www.therecoverygroup.org/odat/index.html
The advantage that TRG has over f2f meetings is that here one can participate in online meetings 24 hours a day every day of the year. And all the TRG support groups are at one's fingertips 24 hours a day every day of the year. The choices are not limited as in f2f meetings. There is one thing that TRG cannot give. It is the personal hug, mingling and contact that can be made only when people meet f2f.
Members of TRG must learn one another from the inside out rather than vice versa.
You can read the TRG guidelines which are the traditions together with their implementation at
TRG is creative and active in many areas which enhance recovery and the feeling that it is one big family.
TRG developed a popular quarterly Newcomer program which is ours alone.
And our Writer's Series and and daily meditation letters .
TRG also created and publishes a monthly lengthy high quality newsletter called Serendipity.
You can read about it at
I hope that some day all the twelve step fellowships that deal with recovery from compulsive eating will unite or at least not treat each other as outside issues.
This is a vision for the future for which we in TRG are ready.
Can you give us some recommendations and suggestions that may help us to enlarge our spiritual quest?
That's a tall order.
I am just a beginner on my spiritual quest.
I can share with you some of the things that are helpful to me.
As a food addict I found out that nothing that I tried can replace the daily work of the steps, the contact with other food addicts and the sharing of experience strength and hope (ESH) in living the twelve steps.
The other thing that I found out was that what works for me is God help methods and not self help methods.
The most practical and useful recovery enhancement tools that I have found were written or presented by addicts of different kinds
Another thing that I have found useful is to never stop learning somethings that interest me and are fun. And most important, use what I have learned.
I can give references to some twelve step web sites that I found useful.
You are probably familiar with them or with others like them.
There is no end to books and courses that may be helpful.
I will leave that to you to explore.
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