Welcome Back Workshop, Nov 4th in York, Maine

Join us on Saturday, November 4th at 9:00 am in York, Maine, for Welcome Back to a New Beginning! If you are currently experiencing relapse or have been away from OA for some time, we hope you will join us. Our three person panel will tell us how they survived relapse and came to thrive in OA. Check out our Welcome Back Workshop Flyer for all the details. There is no registration necessary.

If you are not currently experiencing relapse, you are also welcome to join this fellowship opportunity. In fact, please consider inviting someone you haven’t seen at a meeting for a while. This handy guide provides some language for inviting someone to join the event. We know from experience, that there’s nothing more powerful for members who are out of the rooms than to receive a caring call or email from OA friends.

Together we get better. Join us to hear our speakers’ experience, strength, and hope, and enjoy fellowship with other compulsive eaters. Please share this flyer widely with OA friends from this and other areas, especially anyone in relapse. And please announce this special event at your meetings.

Announcing Our November Workshop on Steps 10-12

Seacoast OA is excited to announce our next workshop! On November 15th, we’ll be hosting a free workshop on Steps 10, 11, and 12. Everyone is welcome. We ask that you please register in advance so that we can reserve the right sized room. Be sure to bring pen and paper as well as your OA 12×12 (optional).

Share this  flyer with your home group!

To register by email, click here and give us your first name and last initial. Or call 603.418.4398 and leave your first name, last initial, and your email address.

Here’s all the details:

Steps 10, 11, and 12 Workshop
How do Perseverance, Spiritual Awareness, and Service help us maintain our recovery?
Sunday November 15th
1:00 to 4:00 PM
Portsmouth Community Campus
100 Campus Drive
Portsmouth, New Hampshire 03801

Directions to Portsmouth Community Campus from I-95:

  • Take Exit 5 for the Portsmouth Traffic Circle
  • Exit the circle for Route 1 South and travel 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.

How to Get Started Sponsoring in OA

Yesterday’s Sponsor Training was inspiring. If you weren’t able to make it, this recap can give you some ideas about your own sponsorship opportunities.

Speaker One: How to Get Someone Started with the Food

Our first speaker focused on step one, and especially on helping a new sponsee define their plan of eating and gain abstinence. Here are three key points that our first speaker made:

  1. Share what you eat and how you created your food plan
  2. Everyone gets to develop their own food plan, and our role is to support them as they implement it
  3. Honesty is the most vital and crucial thing a sponsee needs in step one, and it’s our job to point this out and help them find it.

Speaker Two: How to Guide Someone Through the Steps

Next, our second speaker shared how to guide a sponsee through the steps:

  1. Share up to the level of your experience with the steps
  2. Remind them that this is a program of action and that the steps are the program
  3. Don’t listen to the doubts inside that say “My program isn’t good enough.”

Sponsorship: A Getting-Started Guide

We also passed along a copy of OA’s official sponsoring guide as well as Sponsorship: A Getting-Started Guide. This locally produced collection of Seacoast OA members’  experiences with sponsoring is now available on our Recovery Resources page. Here’s three key ideas from it as well:

  1. Just do it! Get started right away whether you have doubts or not—it’s worth it!
  2. It takes courage to ask someone else for help: Tell sponsees what a privilege it is to work with them and that everything they say is confidential
  3. We’re there to be as helpful as we can, never to judge, chastise, or belittle.


Finally, we wrapped up with a wonderful Q&A that everyone in the room contributed their experience to. Here are a few questions, answers, and comments you may find helpful:

Q: How do we best help someone who is slipping?

A: Be gentle, we OAs are filled with enough shame. Tell them that hope is far from lost, and perhaps try offering this OA nugget, “simply resume.” It’s important to also help them trace the root cause of the slip so they can see the warning signs next time. For chronic slips, you might also try working with them on OA’s “Been Slipping and Sliding” worksheet or its “Strong Abstinence Checklist.”

Q: What do I do when a sponsee is constantly making excuses?

A: Remind them that this is a deadly malady that requires us to work hard for the solution. But we must remember that the motivation must come from within a sponsee, not from us. We are there to pass along our experience, not to enforce our suggestions, and everyone arrives at recovery in their own time.

Q: Do we continue to sponsor someone after they have completed the twelve steps?

A: Even when we have worked through all twelve steps, we remain chronically ill people who need the help and support of others. If we are “full” perhaps this sponsee will now require less intensive work, opening some time for you to work with others.

Wrapping Up

Everyone in the room had three things we seemed to all agree on:

  1. We will not be perfect sponsors
  2. Another’s inability to recover is not our fault, and another’s success is not ours to claim but God’s
  3. We cannot play therapist, nutritionist, or doctor to a sponsee—it’s not good for them or us!

If you couldn’t make it, we missed you. We’ll be doing this again in the fall, and we hope to see you then, and hear your experiences, too!

Announcing two exciting Seacoast OA events!

Seacoast OA is excited to announce events in May and June that can help us all make progress with our programs. Everyone is welcome!

Sponsor training

First on Saturday, May 16th, we’ll be offering our first ever sponsor training workshop. This one-hour session will cover the basics of sponsoring. You’ll hear from two local members with experience sponsoring, receive official OA literature on sponsoring, get time time for  questions and answers, and more. The session is free and does not require advanced registration.

Who should attend:

  • People who want to start sponsoring
  • People whose sponsors have suggested they begin sponsoring
  • Sponsors and their sponsees
  • Anyone who wants to sharpen their sponsoring skills

Saturday, May 16th
10:30 to 11:30 AM, immediately following the 9:00 York meeting
York Hospital Medical Office Building, 16 Hospital Drive
Basement conference room
Please share this flyer with your groups

Workshop on Steps 4 through 9

Following up on our popular March workshop on Steps 1 through 3, this afternoon workshop takes us through the “action Steps.” Learn about what the 4th Step inventory is and how to give it away in Step 5; why the 6th and 7th Step are crucial to our recovery; and how to make amends to repair the relationships in your life. Bring a pen, a notebook, and your copy of The Big Book because we’ll be doing this important work together!

This workshop is free, but we ask that you register ahead of time so that we have a headcount for the room and any materials.

Saturday, June 13th
1:00 to 4:00 PM
Portsmouth Community Campus
100 Campus Drive, Portsmouth, NH
Directions are on this flyer, which we encourage you to share with your groups
Register by email

We’ll see you in May and June!!!

Reflections from Unity Day #2: Surrender

In our previous post, we started to look back on what we heard at Unity Day. Here’s another gem from our speakers.

Compliance, they said, is not the same as surrender. Before we came to the program, many of us would comply with a diet program, lose the weight, then gain it all back…with “interest.” Why? Because we were just obeying. We didn’t surrender.

Surrender to what? To a lot of things. Surrender is a process that begins even before we walk in the door. “Step Zero” is surrendering to the idea that we’re in so much pain we have to do something about it. So we go to a meeting. That’s as far as some of us get because we may not yet be ready to surrender the idea that we can control our eating. Or our life. That’s the surrender of Step One, to the hopelessness of our disease and the damage it does to us.

As we hear others talk about their recovery in spiritual terms, however, we come upon another place to surrender. For many of us, Step Two feels like game over. We won’t go down the spiritual path because we’ve had negative experiences with religion, and we don’t want to admit we are insane. We might be able to surrender to the idea that God exists and has the power to help us, but we may not be convinced God cares about our food. We may believe that a Higher Power cares about others but not about ourselves. We might be able to surrender to the idea that we are bonkers about food, but at least that insanity is our own. Admitting to all of Step Two can be a lot to swallow, and we may need time, perhaps a lot of it, to fully surrender ourselves to it. Some of us require more “research” into the pain of compulsive eating before we reach a place of surrender. But that surrender must be ours.

Then comes Step Three with what feels like a monumental surrender. “We turned our will and our lives over to the care of God….” Even if we can surrender to Steps One and Two, we’re in a tough spot. Will we still be ourselves? Can I really trust a Higher Power? With my very life? Here’s the catch, though, we’ve trusted ourselves, and it’s gotten us misery. We turned our will over to food and let it drag us around to the fridge, to minimarts, to restaurants, to garbage cans, to other people’s plates, and worse. This was the best we could do with what we had, but now it’s time to try something else or, more accurately, Someone Else. We decide to surrender our will and our lives because it’s our last, best chance to live a life worth living. We didn’t come to OA on a winning streak. We didn’t sit through meetings to stay sick with this disease while others got better. We surrender to Step Three because the alternative is continued pain. It’s not until later, after we’ve tried it for a while, that we learn how joyful and how much easier life can be when we aren’t trying to run the show.

Merely complying with the Steps because a sponsor says we need a Higher Power just prolongs the issue. Pretending to turn our will and lives over to God doesn’t allow the solution to fully take hold. Even if we must “fake it ’til we make it” and “act as if,” we find at some point that we’ve stopped struggling and that even more surprisingly we’ve started accepting, if not downright believing, that this solution will work for us.

Online Steps workshop!

Working ALL 12 Steps Online Workshop2015 is our year of Steps, Sponsorship, and Service. Now OA is offering online virtual workshops to help you gain understanding and experience of the 12 Steps.

Listen to the introductory session on “Step Zero” at oa.org, which OA.org describes as:

Members talk about what gave them the gift of desperation, and journal questions are offered to help members prepare to work the 12 Steps as the workshop continues.

Each workshop is the second Sunday of each month, from 3:00 to 4:00 PM ET. Sessions are being recorded and will eventually be posted at OA.org.

So mark your calendar now, and on February 14th, call to join at:

  • Conference line: (424) 203-8405
  • Pin code: 952619#

If you have any questions at all, contact vst4oa@hotmail.com. Here’s a flyer to remind you that will also be posted on our front page. Please share with other members.

Unity Day 2015 Coming to the Seacoast

Unity Through DiversityIf you haven’t heard, Seacoast OA is hosting Unity Day in our area. It’s been a long time since we’ve had the opportunity to do so, and we’ve got a dynamite day  planned. Details below!

What is Unity Day?
A day to recognize the strength of the OA fellowship worldwide. As the first Tradition says—”Our common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends upon OA unity.” The Traditions, the solution we find in OA, and our group conscience bind us together in unity and common purpose. “I put my hand in yours and together we can do what we could never do alone!”

Who’s invited?
Everyone! Come one, come all! Newcomers, returning members, and long-timers alike! A great opportunity for sponsors and sponsees. Bring a program buddy for a fun and inspiring afternoon.

How will Unity Day help my recovery?

  • You’ll hear three diverse experiences of attaining and keeping the abstinence that helps unify us, with speakers from Intergroups in the nearby region.
  • You’ll join OAs worldwide at 2:30 PM for a powerful moment of reflection that reaffirms the strength inherent in OA’s unity.
  • You’ll enjoy a special focus on our common solution to compulsive eating with a workshop on Steps 1, 2, and 3, guided by a member of the NH Intergroup.

When will it be?
Saturday, February 28th, 2015 from 1 PM to 4 PM.
SNOW DATE IF NECESSARY: March 14th, 2015 from 1 PM to 4 PM.

Where will it be?
Portsmouth Community Campus
100 Campus Drive
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Is there a fee or registration?
No, there is no fee and no registration.

Is there a flyer I can share with members at my meetings?
Yes, you can download it by clicking on the 2015 Unity Day flyer, and you will find it on our front page and under the Meetings menu above.

A Video Introduction to OA

If you missed our “Freedom Isn’t Free” workshop yesterday, we missed you! It was a great recovery experience. Our leader had so many great things to say, and in our next couple of posts, we will highlight a few resources and initiatives he mentioned in passing so that we can all learn more about them.

Today, we’ll focus on the newcomer video he mentioned and how you can use it yourself whether you’re new to the program or not. The Westchester United Intergroup (WUIG) has created a video just for newcomers that we’ve made available on our Newcomers page. The point of the video is to quickly help newcomers understand exactly what the program. In fact, it’s good for OA veterans too! In about nine minutes it covers:

  • the cycle of addiction
  • some key terms of recovery
  • how to get honest about our food
  • how the Tools and Steps work
  • what to do to get started.

Click the image to watch it.

What a great way to learn about OA FAST!

For Newcomers

  • Watch the video so that you’ll understand the basics of OA.
  • Talk about it with other members, especially your sponsor.
  • Reflect on it as you read our Newcomer’s Packet.

Current Members

If you have an opportunity to 12th Step someone, this is a great way to do it. Share your membership with them, tell them your story, and if they’d like to know more, this video is a great resource for them.

Sponsors and Temporary Sponsors

Here’s three ways to use this video with someone you’re working with:

  1. Have a newcomer or sponsee watch it by themselves to learn about the program.
  2. Watch it with them and talk about it as you watch (ideal for use with a tablet device or laptop)
  3. Watch it yourself and use it as talking points for working with others or sharing at a meeting.

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.

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!