“Is our meeting in trouble?”

circle of chairsIt’s very exciting that our popular new Thursday night Portsmouth meeting is helping a lot of members. On the flip side, we are also saddened by this week’s closure of the Saturday morning Rochester meeting.

When we see our meeting struggle, is there anything we can do to turn it around?

Find out the truth

First off, we need to recognize declining attendance before it dwindles to two to four people. Next, we need information. Without information we’re just guessing why the meeting is struggling. While there’s still a committed group, we can take helpful, informative actions such as:

  • ask former regulars to honestly say why they left—and listen closely with an open mind
  • review the Twelve Traditions to see whether our meeting is keeping to them
  • attend a thriving group and ask what their members find helpful about it
  • assess our meeting through OA’s Strong Meeting Checklist
  • take an honest and thorough OA Group Inventory.

These actions will tell us much about how and why our meeting struggles. As we perform each, we might pray beforehand so that our higher powers can show us the truth. We might not like the answers we get, but by being entirely honest with ourselves and our fellow members and by trusting and relying on our higher powers, we might discover that this process strengthens our personal recoveries too.

Making change

Once we know the why of it, what do we do about it? We look back at our group inventory and at the information we’ve gathered. What are the main themes in it? What are the specifics people didn’t get from our meeting or objected to? If we’ve been honest and thorough, the information we’ve gathered will show us the way. We should also ask members at other meetings what experience they’ve had in righting a struggling meeting. Most important, we should ask our higher powers for guidance. We may need to change the day, time, location, room, format, focus, or our attitudes.

As we change our meeting for the better, we can find opportunities to invite back former regulars, conduct a public information campaign in our meeting’s area, and trust the process will bring about the right situation.

We are willing to go to any length to recover from our disease, so we need to ask ourselves what lengths we are willing to go in helping our favorite meeting flourish. If the answer is “not very far,” it’s OK to let a meeting close. But if the meeting is truly important for us, then we need to take action.

Visit SeacoastOA’s Meeting Resources page or OA.org’s Group Support page for a wealth of helpful information and tools.

Register for “Freedom Isn’t Free” Workshop, August 16th in Portsmouth

break freeRegistration is now open for “Freedom Isn’t Free,” a no-cost, dynamic one-day walk through OA’s 12 Steps. This workshop will emphasize the nature of the disease, getting honest about food, and the process of change. Our guide will be a 32-year OA veteran who has led 25 Step-study retreats.

Join us if you are…
…A newcomer interested in getting your recovery rolling
…A current member who wants to restart your program 
…A long-timer who wants to kick your program into a higher gear
…Anyone who wants a JOLT! of OA energy.

Register now by email or voicemail (603) 418-4398. Please provide your name, your phone number, your email address, and what Intergroup you are from.

Please download this flyer to share at your meetings.

Registration is FREE. We ask for registration because our room is limited to 100 attendees. Registrations are on a first-come, first-serve basis. So please sign up now!

Sponsored by Seacoast Intergroup

Saturday, August 16th, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Community Campus
100 Campus Drive Portsmouth, NH
Google Map

From I-95, take Exit 5 for the Portsmouth Traffic Circle
Exit the circle for Route 1 South
Follow Route 1 South for 2.7 miles
Turn right onto West Road (across from Corpus Christi Parish Church) and follow as it becomes Campus Drive
Community Campus will be on your left, please use the front entrance.

May’s Tradition of the Month

PurposeIn our Year of Abstinence, we want to be sure we examine everything that contributes to our ongoing, one-day-at-a-time recovery. The OA 12 & 12 tells us that the Twelve Traditions show us how to safeguard OA so that it will be here for us always, helping us get and stay abstinent. They connect directly to our personal recoveries by helping us keep our meetings focused on what’s most important. Which leads us to this month’s Tradition:

5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the compulsive eater who still suffers.

How does this relate to one person’s personal recovery?

When I arrived at OA, Tradition Five ensured that whatever room I walked into, I would hear the solution we have to offer and, if I chose, I could start turning my life around right away.

As I’ve gained experience in OA, Tradition Five has connected directly to working with others. The Twelfth Step tells us that “having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters….” Now Tradition Five tells us that a meeting’s primary purpose is also to carry the message. The connection with my personal recovery is direct and clear. I need to “pass it on” to stay sane and happy, and the Fifth Tradition ensures that our meetings remain a place to do so.

As the OA 12 & 12 says, “we who have found a sane way of eating and living have a responsibility to make sure OA doesn’t become sidetracked…OA will always offer recovery to those suffering from our disease as long as we remember that this is our primary purpose.”

This post represents one member’s experience and not necessarily the opinion of OA or Seacoast Intergroup.