What Seacoast Intergroup learned from our June 1st workshop

Experience is the best teacher. This is true in all of life, let alone in recovery. We don’t know what we don’t know until we know, don’t you know.

Our first workshop on June 1st was a success with more than 50 attendees coming together from all over northern New England. At yesterday’s Seacoast Intergroup meeting, we reviewed the day and the feedback of our participants. Thanks to everyone who took time to respond, as a result we have actionable ideas for making the experience our August 16th workshop better.

Here’s four things we learned about hosting a successful workshop:

1. Our intergroup needs to do a better job of communicating what the workshop is about.

Attendees felt confused because the information we provided didn’t match the content as well as it could have. Some were disappointed as a result.

ACTION ITEM: For our August 16th workshop, we’re going to provide the presenter’s agenda ahead of time on this site. This way members already signed up will have a stronger sense of what to expect, and those still considering attending will have more information to help make up their mind.

2. The more chances attendees have for active participation the better.

Our feedback indicated that participants wanted more chances to share. A highlight for many of our responders was the opportunity to hear how other members and their meetings worked the Traditions.

ACTION ITEM: We’ll be relaying this feedback to our August 16th presenter so that they are aware of our attendees’ feedback.

3. Make sure the air-conditioning works.

This was an unexpected development! Luckily our organizing committee came up with solutions to help. In addition, our August 16th workshop will be held in a bigger room, which should alleviate some of the stuffiness.

ACTION ITEM: Make sure our facility contact has the A/C on and can help us in a pinch.

4. Our area members are an amazing resource and really stepped up to provide service for this event!

In addition to the wonderful work of our organizing committee, numerous members arrived early to do day-of service such as moving furniture, taking registrations, setting up fans, greeting arriving members, and putting out all the little fires that happen at any live event. This is wonderful 12th Step work.

ACTION ITEM: More hugs, handshakes, and thank yous!

We’re excited that our first workshop went off so smoothly, and we are doubly excited to see how much value we can bring to attendees’ personal recoveries in August. If you’d like to contribute service to that day or have ideas on how we can improve the experience, please drop a line.

Food addict or compulsive eater?

Hi, I’m _______, and I’m a _______. That’s a staple of 12-Step culture. It’s one of the ways we remain equals in our meetings and put principles before personalities. In some fellowships, the second blank probably doesn’t have much variation: alcoholic for example. OA is a little different in this way because there are as many food compulsions as there are members. Here are a few of the many self-descriptions that members in our area and elsewhere use:

  • Compulsive overeater
  • Compulsive eater
  • Food addict
  • Compulsive eater and food addict (or vise verse)
  • Binge eater
  • Sugar addict
  • Sugar and flour addict
  • Anorexic
  • Bulimic
  • Exercise bulimic.

It doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, we still get to be members as long as we have a desire to stop eating compulsively. The important thing is that we are in a meeting, seeking a solution, and no longer in denial about what our problem is. There are as many names for this disease as there are members. No matter what we call ourselves, we all belong, we can all be loved unconditionally by this fellowship, and we can all find a path to abstinence that meets our own personal needs if we keep coming back. That’s what OA’s new Unity in Diversity Checklist is all about. In OA we’re all the same, yet we’re all different. It’s what gives us strength and the ability to help members with a wide range of compulsive food behaviors. The Unity in Diversity Checklist is now linked on our Meetings Resources page.

3 great things heard at Sunday’s workshop

Thank you to everyone who attended our first workshop this weekend! And thank you especially to Chris and her crew for a smooth-running event.

We have a lonely, isolating, killing disease. Being with others who share it and have found a solution or are working toward it makes all the difference. The proof was simply being in a room with fifty-one compulsive eaters in it.

Here’s three great nuggets from Sunday:

  1. We have a fellowship that supports us and a program that changes us
  2. BINGE = Believing I’m Not Good Enough
  3. HUGS = Have yoU Given Service?

For those able to attend, we will be asking for your feedback so that we can improve your experience at our August 16th workshop “Freedom Isn’t Free.” For those unable to attend, we hope you’ll join us in August!