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Doing “service” is one of the tenants of Twelve-Step communities. It can aid your recovery by getting you to meetings, helping you feel like part of the group, teaching you a new skill, or providing a break from incessant navel-gazing!

At the individual level

There are easy things you can do at the individual level. Showing up at a meeting, turning on your video, or sharing are all considered service. This helps others see they are not alone.

You can take people’s phone numbers and do an outreach call or text. People who are in program are used to this, and if they can’t take your call, they won’t answer! If you haven’t seen someone at a meeting for a while, you could text them and ask them how they’re doing.

After you’ve worked some of the Steps or been in the program a while, you might be ready to help a newcomer get started or be a temporary sponsor.

At the meeting level

Our meetings always need volunteers, and you can start small. Some positions are one-offs, like being a timekeeper or weekly caller.

Some meetings have formal positions, like Secretary (the person who leads the meeting by reading a script), Zoom Moderator (the person who screenshares or records speakers), a Speaker Seeker (the person who finds speakers), or Zoom Bouncer (the person who helps keep the meeting safe from Zoom disruptors). Often these positions are shared and are for a limited time (e.g.,  a six month commitment). 

Meetings cannot survive without service by attendees. You don’t need to be an expert; most meetings will train you in what you need to know. And, you don’t need to have attended for years before you volunteer! Next time a meeting asks for service, ask to speak to someone after the meeting to find out more.

Note: At traditional OA meetings there may be an “abstinent” requirement (e.g., you need to be abstinent for three months before holding a position). This is not usually true at secular meetings, but it’s good to know this exists.

Build your Zoom Skills

It’s highly likely that secular meetings will continue to meet remotely; we just don’t have the geographic critical mass to host in-person meetings. Here are some good websites for more information:

San Diego OA Intergroup (free classes and handouts)

Free Personal Zoom Account (sign up for the Basic free account, good for practicing your skills)

Above the Meeting Level

If your meeting is registered with OA, it will probably belong to an Intergroup (IG). Ask at the meeting about becoming your meeting’s Intergroup Rep. This usually entails attending a monthly meeting and reporting back to your meeting about the issues at hand. If you really like Intergroup you may eventually want to take on a position that serves the entire IG community, like Treasurer or Tech Host.

The Secular Service Board of Overeaters Anonymous encourages all registered and non-registered OA meetings to send a meeting representative to attend their quarterly meetings. The Secular Service Board sends a member to the OA World Service Conventions, and they are gathering secular recovery stories for an official OA publication. Check their website for more information.

With Secular Overeaters

Secular Overeaters has no paid positions: everything we do is powered by volunteers. If you want more meetings, start one! If you’d like specific workshops, join the Workshop Team! If you have a good idea that you’re willing to develop, email us!

Volunteer to be on a Workshop Panel
Volunteer to help with Zoom or Facilitator duties on the Workshop Team
Volunteer your other skills (writing, legal advice, collage work, etc)

Partial List of Other Positions

Facebook Administrator
Podcast Editor
Workshop Team (facilitator, Zoom host, or developer)
Website Team (writing, editing or technical support)
Special Projects (helping with 501(c)3 status, survey analysis

We also post service opportunities in the monthly newsletter.

Back in the in-person meeting days, service positions included Literature Sales and Treasurer. Zoom meetings don't usually have these roles. Instead we need people to lead meetings by reading a script or to know Zoom skills like screensharing, posting in the chat or keeping the meeting safe from Zoom disruptors. Collage by Jenny M.