One of our members attended the SOAR Spring Conference. Here is her report. It is in either .docx or .pdf format. Choose whichever you’d prefer, they are the same. Please feel free to read this wonderful information!
Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 6 am til midnight, Eastern Time, USA
18 HOURS packed with meetings, fellowship, A Dance! hours of fun & Solid Abstinence!
Come join us and share your experience, strength and hope! Together we can get through these holi-daze abstinently! Invite your friends. Pass the word.
For more information, please download the flyer below!
18 HOURS packed with tips, meetings, fellowship, as well as many activities.
LIKE A skit! And a dance! Chew and chats!
Come join us and share your experience, strength, and hope! Together we can get through these holidays abstinently! Invite your friends. Pass the word.
Please note it is FRIDAY, December 25, 2020 and not Thursday, December 25, 2020!
Report by Triangle IG Rep Clare on the SOAR 8 Recovery Convention and Business Assembly in Memphis, Tennessee October 11-13, 2019
Skillfully conducted following the parliamentary procedure of Robert’s Rules of Order. This is to ensure that all have equal rights and obligations to carry out the region’s group conscience. Representatives attended from all over OA’s Region 8, including 3 members from South America and 4 virtual voting members. Our region is the first to allow virtual attendance. Next SOAR 8 Business Assembly will be in March of 2020 in Baton Rouge, LA. The one after that will be in October of 2020 in Nashville. There will be a recovery convention August 20-22, 2020 in Orlando, on the 60th anniversary of the founding of OA. People will be coming from around the world. Registration begins January 1st 2020. Treasurer’s report showed how the contributions from many IG’s help spread the message of recovery in our region. There is a fund to help send IG reps to WSBC meetings. Also funds to help with local workshops and retreats and to send IG reps and committee chairs to the SOAR 8 business assemblies. There are PIPO funds to help set up a booth at a health fair. Secretary reported that there are 55 IG’s in our region, with 607 meetings. 23 of the IG’s sent reps this past weekend; that’s 42% represented. There is a new “Welcome Back” pamphlet for those returning from relapse. The newcomer pamphlet “Where Do I Start?” is now reduced in price to 35 cents. We want young people (in young 30’s or under) to make podcasts. In answer to a question, the Chair commented that HOW and A Vision For You are both registered groups within OA and part of the fellowship of OA, within our fold. If you want to use them for your recovery, please do so. There is still confusion in the health care community about our disease; they only say it is a mental problem, not a physical allergy. Use the tools on the Region 8 website to help set up a local health fair booth or workshop to educate health care professionals. We have no opinion on outside issues, including bariatric surgery. For a standard of healthy weight for you, ask your doctor. We don’t have an opinion on a plan of eating; it is up to the individual, with suggestions from the Dignity of Choice pamphlet. B.I.N.G.E is an an acronym for Believing I’m Not Good Enough. Neill was voted the new Region 8 chair of the Twelfth Step Within Committee. That is in addition to holding that position on our IG and at the level of WSBC. He announced that there are 26 relapse mentors signed up on the Region 8 website. Forms were passed out at the convention for folks to sign up to be sponsors, night owls, speakers, etc available to all by pressing the red “Recovery Help” button on that website. Pat from Baton Rouge will be the new night owls chair and Pat from Little Rock all be the new relapse mentor coordinator for the website. Note that any of the speakers listed are available to speak via Skype at your local meetings. Continue periodically reminding your groups how to access these wonderful 12th Step Within resources on the website. “Ask me about the red button”. Can do during announcement time during a meeting or at holiday serenity recovery days. Gold Coast, FL gave a report on the last Business Assembly which they hosted in April 2019. Ideas of how to do were shared. Also there is a Hosting Manual on the Region 8 website.
The following motions were passed:
to remove the Unity With Committee as a standing funded committee
in both the Policies and Procedures and the Bylaws
to add Unity With Diversity as a subcommittee of the 12th Step Within Committee
to change the word “Chairman” to “Chair” in the Policies and Procedures WSBC already made this change
to change his/her to “their” for reasons of inclusivity
to change the graphic on the home page of the SOAR 8 website and correct our name there
to fund 2 Chairs for the SOAR 8 Tech Web Committee
after hearing talks from 4 applicants, decided to fund them all as delegates from Region 8 to go to the next WSBC.
elected Katrina to continue 2 more years as SOAR 8 Chair
elected Michelle to continue 2 more years as SOAR 8 Treasurer
PIPO’s new Chair is Marissa
12th Step Within’s new Chair is Neill
we need IG’s who are willing to sponsor other IG’s seeking help
PIPO has $2,000 to help IG’s put on health fairs
IGOR members are available to come to our area to put on a service workshop
Tech Web wants to put short podcasts on the SOAR 8 website
Ingrid, the rep from Columbia, announced an OA convention Nov 9-11, 2019 in Medellin. She invited us to come share our experience, strength, and hope. We just need to pay for our ticket; they will pay the registration fee for us. They wait for us with arms open.
In addition to the Business Assembly meetings, there was a rich variety of recovery meetings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, some of which focused on newcomers, relapse and recovery, and Higher Power. Also at least six speakers shared their stories; there were meditation meetings and meetings on the tools. There were two skits, in one of which our own Neill M. /.played the part of Mr Serenity. A long-term recovered compulsive overeater from Canada presented an eight-session program called “The Big Book Comes Alive for OA”, going deeply into each of the 12 Steps.
Some points which resonated with me from meetings I was able to attend:
Some points from speakers’ meetings:
I saw in my first meeting people who had what I desperately wanted: serenity. They could offer me love; I couldn’t do that.
I need service; something to help me stay connected. Otherwise I might start thinking, “What do I need from them?” I thought I was Wonder Woman, that I didn’t need help from anyone.
I got abstinent, but listening to The Promises, I realized I had no joy. So I got a sponsor and walked through the Steps. It is a spiritual program. After Step 9, I was free, dancing in the sunlight of the spirit. The miracle of the program is that it teaches us how to live. I am not alone. There are my brothers and sisters in the fellowship and my HP is always with me.
Looking outside to my comfort foods, meant I was avoiding something inside me: feelings, inner truths, instincts, intuition, heart.
Now I feel alive for the first time in my life, guided by grace, my HP. My HP is fundamental to my program. I have an amazing relationship with my HP.
Nothing is perfect in Nature; everything is evolving. I remind myself that “it’s going to be fine”. Seeking equilibrium and balance is where I need to live. I need to be conscious of my contact with my HP every day, so I can “course correct” when I start to stray. Relax into abstinence; do not fight it. Exercise every day even if I don’t feel like it. Pause and experience life, rather than rushing through it. Focus on gratitudes and positive thoughts even if it seems naive. Reach out for power and strength when needed rather than try to go it alone.
When controlling food, I was not enjoying it. When enjoying it, there was no control.
Prayed to God, “This is all I’ve got. If you’ve got something else for me, you’ve got to bring it and give it to me.”
I lost the weight, but it was a white-knuckle abstinence. The physical allergy was gone, but the mental obsession was still there; I was angry. I was restless, irritable, and discontent. So I did the Steps as outlined in the Big Book. I experienced an awakening, an unfolding, peace, and contentment. All relationships are better. I have neutrality around my binge foods. None of them call to me. The process of coming into full recovery is a miracle, but it is not a mystery.
Friends and family were well-meaning, but they didn’t know how to help. “Just push away from the table.” “Eat in moderation.” “You’d be so pretty if you lost some weight.” I was an “exercise bulimic”, feeling if I over exercised, I could eat whatever I wanted. Once I got to my normal weight, I was told I could eat one Oreo. I ate the whole package. I ate in secret; it is a disease of isolation. At the OA meeting, I answered “yes” to almost all the 15 questions. By praying to God each day, “Please help me be abstinent just for today”, I surrendered my food to HP and I got 30 days abstinence. Then my mind was clear enough to find a sponsor and start the Steps. God showed me the way. God is with me all the time. I’m going to keep listening.
From a few of the Big Book meetings:
The Big Book (Alcoholics Anonymous”) is a textbook for how to work the Steps and recover; a set of instructions. Study it and follow its directions.
In order to say I am a recovered compulsive overeater, with a daily reprieve, I no longer am wanting or needing to return to that which I’ve abstained from.
I must take this disease seriously; get abstinent; work the Steps and continue to work them, giving as much as I can to help others or I will go back. The greatest preventable cause of death is compulsive overeating. It is the last socially acceptable addiction. It is hard to take it seriously, but we must.
I wanted to believe that if I ate moderately, I’d be OK. Didn’t want to believe that my body was different from others. But deep down I knew that once I started eating certain things I could not stop eating them. I have an allergy to some foods, defined as an abnormal physical reaction to these substances. Also they overwhelm my mind with the phenomenon of cravings or mental obsessions. Which foods these are vary from person to person. I can eat things you can’t and you can eat things I can’t.
My mind can come up with many excuses for returning to the food: I’m depressed; I’m happy and want to celebrate; I’ve lost this much weight, surely a little taste won’t matter; I’m lonely and no one loves me; any buildup of emotions; they made it especially for me, so how can I refuse; I’m in this town and shouldn’t pass up tasting their renown delicacy; someone offered something and I forgot and accepted it; it’s organic. My mind could find a way to give a reason which in hindsight was insanity.
Once I start, I can’t stop. And I can’t stop from starting. This meant I had the disease of compulsive overeating.
So I made a list of those foods which I’ve overeaten. Also I had to look at my eating behaviors, which for me meant volume issues. I followed the 301 plan (3 meals a day; nothing in between; one day at a time). At each meal, I stopped eating before I was totally filled up. I lost the weight and have kept it off. Each person needs to figure out what they need to abstain from, including eating behaviors. If I find I’m starting to need a particular substance to the point of overeating, then I get rid of it from my plan of eating.
I try to be as honest as I can. It is not up to a sponsor to tell someone how to be abstinent. Don’t force sponsees to eat specific things or abstain from others. I don’t care what you choose just so long as you eliminate your binge foods and honestly do what works for you.
Step One tells us we are powerless. We can’t manage our consumption of certain foods. I want a sane mind that tells me, “Why would I eat these foods? They will kill me.” Accept my limitations and don’t eat my binge foods, nor practice unhealthy eating behaviors. For me, this food and that behavior is poison.
There is no need to feel guilty. I have a physical problem. Just as I am near sighted and use glasses to manage that condition, I have a physical problem which renders me unusual around food. When offered one of my binge foods, I say, “I’m allergic to it.” An allergy is defined as an abnormal reaction to a substance, so my response is true.
Step One is the acknowledgement of the seriousness. Step Two tells us that OA gives you sanity. Step One is a description of the problem, the powerlessness, the despair. Step Two is a description of the solution, the power, and the hope. Step Two is about the willingness to try. It’s only a matter of being willing.
It can be useful to study the chapter called “We Agnostics” in the Big Book. Pages 48-51 shows the scientific process, that theory is grounded in fact. It works. Pages 51-53 reveals that the willingness to change our belief system leads to innovation and success. Why not try something different? It has worked for others. Pages 53-54 show that whether you believe in God or whether you believe in truth and science, it will work. Your deepest values can be your HP. I honor truth, love, justice, and beauty and that pulls me in the true direction to do right. Whatever is your conception of your deepest values deep in your heart. Whether you are religious or not, this chapter is useful in sponsoring others who may not be.
Working the Steps unplugs the blockage in the pipeline, so that the deepest values flow in my life until eventually I act via intuition connected to my own God. Prior to that I was blocked, so I couldn’t hear my God. Steps 4-9 unplug the blocks to the connection to God. Steps 10-12 keep it open. Be tolerant that there are different ways of working the Steps.
When writing out Step 4, don’t need to go into the details; that would mean going back and reliving the trauma. Just say things like “hurt me badly”; “made me feel guilty”; “doesn’t allow my life to go forward.” Write what’s bothering you, what’s on your mind from little annoying things to serious transgressions. “I say yes for the wrong reason and feel hypocritical.” “That inconsiderate person took 2 parking spaces and I had to walk an extra distance.” We often find little things on the list obscure big issues. Dig deeper to look at fears, resentments, dishonesty, and self-centeredness. Where was I inconsiderate and self-willed? Go through each fear and see what HP would have me be. The sponsee gets rid of of what’s bothering them and the sponsor is compassionate: “Well, I think everyone feels that way sometimes.”
If after Step 5, we feel delighted; we can look the world in the eye; we can be alone at perfect peace and ease; our fears have fallen from us and we begin to feel the nearness of God, then we can move on to Step 6. If not, we can review our Step 4, pray to God, and ask if we have omitted anything.
A miracle is that now I can watch others eat my binge foods and not only have no interest in eating them too, but am happy they can enjoy them.
The Big Book urges us to get going; go forward; don’t stop. One can work all the Steps in a matter of weeks. Be dedicated; do it as fast as you can. When you finish a thorough Step 9, you’ll no longer want to yield to temptation. The Promises on pages 83-84 are there for you.
It is actually simple to go through the Steps. Recognize you are hopeless. Get honest with yourself. Be honest with another human being. Make amends. Pray for guidance. Help others without any need of reward.
Fall 2019 SOAR Business Assembly
Oct. 11-13, Memphis, TN
Oct. 11, 7pm
-The chair reminded the assembly that our individual recovery was the most important business of the weekend session
-We had 2 delegates from South America, 1 from Brazil and 1 from Colombia
-This was the first SOAR assembly for our newly elected Region 8 trustee Andi S. She was elected at the 2019 WSBC in Albuquerque.
-33 voting, 4 non-voting members present
-Our Forum topic was Improving Communication across Region 8. Each delegate completed a survey related to 2-way communication. I wrote that Region 8 could best see what was going on in our Intergroup by accessing our website and reading our monthly newsletter. Regarding what is happening at Region 8, the region representatives are the first line of information. However, everyone can receive updates from SOAR via the ALLSOAR8@oaregion8.org email simply by signing up on the website.
At 8:30pm, the business and recovery conventions combined for a Welcome by the Memphis IG. They presented an R&B skit entitled “Sugarfreak” using the song “Superfreak” by Rick James.
We had three speakers sharing their experience, strength and hope. Some of the things I heard were: “I ate sugar until my fingertips were numb”. “I was willing to give up my eyes and my limbs to sugar.” “I need service to stay connected to the OA program.”
-Assembly reconvened. We had 38 voting members, including several virtual attendees who were voting.
-vice chair reported that the Region needs groups or IGs to host assemblies. There is a very detailed hosting manual available. Also the vice-chair is specifically tasked with assisting groups to plan and to host assemblies.
-the treasurer reported that the IGOR (Intergroup Outreach) funding of $4500 is not being utilized. This money is to send representatives to SOAR from IGs that cannot afford this expense. Also, the Carry the Message fund from IGOR is also available to send leaders to workshops and retreats around the region.
-the secretary reported that we have 42% representation at the assembly today. This is a fairly good precentage and includes in-person and virtual representatives.
-the trustee reported that the cost of the newcomer packets has been reduced. WSO has a presence on Instagram. WSO is also seeking young people to do recovery podcasts. The 60th anniversary WSO recovery convention is in Orlando in Aug. Registration begins in Jan.!
-a Vision For You meetings, HOW meetings, and virtual and non-real time meetings are all registered with OA and are all viable recovery options for individuals
10:30am – 11:45am
Standing committee meetings
1)Increase sign-ups for TSW resource lists
2)elect new committee chair
3)elect new Nite Owl and Relapse mentor chairs
4)perform new recovery skit
-All objectives accomplished
-Motions A, B, 1, and C adopted. Motion A removed Unity with Diversity as a standing committee for Region 8 P and P. Motion B added Unity with Diversity as a subcommittee of the TSW committee in P and P. Motion 1 removed Unity with Diversity as a standing committee in the Bylaws. Motion C changes “chairman” to “chair”, making the P and P more inclusive. This is consistent with changes made at WSBC.
3pm- I gave a workshop on Sponsorship for 50 minutes as part of the recovery convention
-our chair Katrina was re-elected for another 2-year term.
-our interim treasurer Michelle was elected treasurer for a 2-year term.
We had 4 applications for 3 proposed fully-funded 2020 WSBC representatives for Region 8. After considerable discussion and debate, the assembly decided to fund all 4 delegates up to $1130 each. This is with the understanding that the individuals will handle anyl additiona costs after the $1130 has been spent.
-The Middle Tennessee Intergroup won the bid for the 2020 Fall SOAR assembly to be held in Nashville, TN Oct. 9-11, 2020
-the assembly had to be extended past 5:30pm for debate and was recessed just before 6pm
This is my last assembly as a Triangle IG SOAR representative for now. This is the end of my second 2-year term, and I do believe in rotation of service. Thank you for allowing me to give this service!
Respectfully submitted by Neill McCormick
The revised Strong Meeting Checklist and OA Group Inventory are now posted online and are available for free download.
Find both online at What’s New (oa.org/whats-new) or at oa.org/documents “Group Secretary Materials.”
Here are the direct links:
Strong Meeting Checklist: https://oa.org/files/pdf/strongmtgchecklist1.pdf
OA Group Inventory: https://oa.org/files/pdf/oagroupinventory.pdf
OA Group Inventory and Strong Meeting Checklist Updated
OA Group Inventory and Strong Meeting Checklist, both available for download on oa.org, have been recently refreshed—see how they can help you check in, both with yourself and your fellow members, at your upcoming meetings. These checklists are intended help foster a focused and supportive group environment to help carry the message to all attendees as we work our program together.
Please share the news of these resources with members, groups, and service bodies.
Please share or reprint this announcement in your group and service body newsletters. Thank you.
Your Trusted Servant
Region 8 Trustee
SOAR 8 Recovery Convention and Business Assembly
April 5-7, 2019
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Report from Clare, Triangle IG SOAR 8 Rep
Some points I noted from recovery meetings:
12 Steps gave me a life beyond my past
I live by doing the next right thing
I can choose to enjoy what’s in front of me or I can live over and over again in my past
It’s a privilege to be an addict in recovery
I can’t do it alone. I need to keep on cultivating my relationship with HP
First the addict takes a bite; then the bite takes the addict
FEAR = Feel Everything And Recover or False Evidence Appearing Real (vs Forget Everything And Run)
The power of the pause: Pause when agitated or doubtful and ask for the right action
Do things that make the likelihood better that I pause
Do more spiritual work, so I am more likely to pause and less likely to need to make amends
PAUSE = Pray And Use Spiritual Energy
WAIT = Why Am I Talking?
When in doubt, ask someone who has been in recovery longer than me and seems to be content
Reread pages 84-88 in the Big Book
Be God-relying, rather than sponsor-relying
Invite HP in on decision making and into all my life
Doubt is self-imposed; HP does not have that doubt about me
Came to realize that there are foods I cannot eat safely even on birthdays or holidays
I have enough; I do enough; I am enough
Buried feelings are feelings buried alive
Let me be the clay and let God be the sculptor
In God’s time, not mine.
Communicate with HP by the tool of writing. Send a “Dear God” letter and then a reply from HP to me: “You are amazing. Here’s what you need to do today.” Then I “select ALL” and delete the dialog from my computer and it’s as if the letter actually went to HP. A way to learn what my HP is. 100% personal to me. Available 24 hours a day. All I have to do is ask, to connect. I learn to trust my intuition.
Self esteem improves with service
Journal about each word in the Serenity Prayer
To compare is to despair
Nothing changes until I change
Minds are like parachutes. They won’t work unless they are open.
We are all perfect in our imperfection.
Addiction: it looks like the solution when really it’s the problem
Don’t compare my insides to someone else’s outsides
Instead of stuffing my face, face my stuff.
Walking hand in hand every day with the spirit. Holding hands with HP. God opening new opportunities for me.
A program of progressive honesty
I now live in abundance; the good times are awesome.
I can get through the challenges if I put down the food and work the Steps. One day at a time.
Some points from the SOAR 8 business assembly meetings:
Title of the business conference was “Seeing the Sunlight of the Spirit
Working in My Life”
OA is a fellowship in which we find and share the power of love
the value of attentive listening
the most important thing is our own abstinence
extending the heart of OA to others, to those who give service, and especially to ourselves
we want more members involved in their local Intergroup
we want Intergroup to support stronger local meetings
we want increased attraction and retention of newcomers
we want more personal recovery and leaders who attract others thru that
we want to carry the message for the growth of OA
love, strength and compassion: learning to love myself is an important part of my action plan
IGOR (Intergroup Outreach) will fund committee chairs to come to the April and October assemblies. Also has a “Carry the Message Fund” to bring someone from outside the area to speak to your Intergroup
“We’re all here because we’re not all there”
Unity With Diversity and 12th Step Within committees combined under the umbrella of the 12th Step Within committee: relapse, membership retention, resources
anyone can request to be put on the list as someone with experience, strength, and hope to share about Unity With Diversity topics: diversity of languages; LGBT; pregnancy, traveling, people of color, etc. And anyone can sign up to be connected with someone who has ESH in these areas.
up to us to educate our area about resources available via oaregion8.org website. Neill has been speaking at Triangle OA meetings and is available to speak to any of our local meetings about this
Workshops: put on the workshop you need to hear; while planning for it, ask people in your meetings what topics they would like addressed; make phone calls to inspire people to attend; call it a “celebration”, rather than a worksop; celebrate the five OA “holidays: 3rd weekend Jan (OA birthday), 3rd weekend Feb (Unity Day), 3rd weekend Aug, 3rd weekend Nov (IDEA Day), and December 12th (12th Step Within).
suggestion that Intergroup order OA books and literature in bulk for all the groups in the area and thus save the local groups S & H; this would need someone from IG to coordinate
suggestion to hold monthly workshops on the 12 Steps to inspire people to attend meetings and do service
suggestion that each IG commit to 4 workshops a year plus one weekend retreat
Sponsors need to be reminded to inspire their sponsees to do service and become sponsors themselves
Service is your recovery—we want to spread that message
Say to your sponsee, “I’d love to meet you at or drive with you to IG”
hold workshops directly after IG meeting
break the big job of hosting a workshop into small tasks. People are willing to do one small, time-limited thing like making a flyer or bringing the ice.
one person shared about the success of having an OA booth at her local PRIDE parade
use technology to enable IG reps from far-flung groups participate in IG meetings
we need to support those who have volunteered for service positions and who are finding it challenging to accomplish what they have said they would. We can talk with them about short term and long term goals and help them become better versions of themselves.
2020 WSO Business Conference is in Orlando. This will be the 60th anniversary of the founding of OA