A Special Region 8 Appeal

Did you know that the suggested 7th Tradition split of 60/30/10 sends only 10% to Region 8? This is a special appeal for a special 7th Tradition exclusively for Region 8. In this post, a special message from our Region 8 Treasurer.

Give Five to Keep the Spirit of Medellin Alive!
Donation for Special Appeal

“The Spirit of Medellin” has come to mean the life changing experience Region 8 went through during our first International Assembly in Medellin in November 2011. It marked the beginning of the coming together of all parts of Region 8, formerly separated by sea and speech, but now separate no more. Our success at reaching out to all of Region 8 has been beyond our wildest dreams!

But Region 8 needs your help! Our donations are not keeping pace with our expenses. Donate here now Continue reading

Watch the Southeast Overeaters Anonymous Region 8 (SOAR 8) Conference via Online Video

Remote attendance of the Southeast Overeaters Anonymous Region 8 (SOAR 8) Conference is available with the aid or current computer technology. This technology can be used to videoconference as sub-committees between assemblies so that members can have the face-to-face meeting experience from wherever they may be in the Region. Another use reported by current members is that it allows for video “face to face” contacts with other OA members – some in very remote parts of the region – who otherwise are limited to phone meetings. Please download this PDF for more information on linking into the conference. Please download this PDF for more information on using Oovoo.

SOAR 8 Recovery Convention and Business Assembly

The Middle Tennessee Intergroup is hosting the March 2015 SOAR 8 Recovery Convention and Business Assembly in Nashville, TN from March 13 – 15, 2015. The deadline to register is February 10, 2015, and you can register online at soar8mar2015.eventbrite.com (there is a surcharge added when using the online registration website) or by downloading the registration form here and following the directions as enclosed. Continue reading

Treasurer’s Report from the July 2014 Business Assembly

TREASURER’$ REPORT – JULY 2014 BUSINESS ASSEMBLY

This is the first time since I have been treasurer that I can report to you that our prudent reserve is within our bylaw-mandated range of 40 – 60%.  We are currently at 46%.

For those of you who are Green dots or haven’t been here in awhile; for the past 3½ years, our prudent reserve has been in the 70s and 80s.  While your board and Ways $ Means committee have been working diligently to bring our projected income and expenses into balance for the purpose of reducing our too-high prudent reserve, we would prefer to keep it closer to 60%.

So for the first time, I’m asking you to dig a little deeper into your purse or wallet as you make your 7th Tradition contributions in the coming months, in order to make the minimum suggested donation of $3.00 or more.  If you are abstinent today because of OA, think about what your recovery means to you and give as if your life depends on it.  As a program friend of mine is fond of saying, “I owe a debt I can never repay”. Continue reading

News from WSO

Did you know we have podcasts on the website that talk about pamphlets in our wide array of literature? Check out these new ones!

NEW PODCASTS ON OA WEBSITE

This year at the World Service Business Conference 2014​ the Ask-it -Basket was answered by the Trustees after the conference. The answers to that Ask-It-Basket can be found in this post here. Continue reading

July 2014: SOAR 8 – Baton Rouge

The SOAR 8 Recovery Convention will be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 11-13, 2014. The convention will be held at the Embassy Suites Baton Rouge. OA needs your service at this event! There are lots of opportunities. If you would like to volunteer at the event, please click here to download the registration form.

You can register to attend the event at http://www.soar8july2014.eventbrite.com. (Please not that a surcharge is added when using this website to register).

Want more information? Visit the SOAR8 website at http://www.oaregion8.org and click on the links in the box called “Next Regional Assembly.” For more information on SOAR 8, please contact Aleta P. at (225) 753-2739 or aph42@att.net. Continue reading

Join the SOAR 8 Mailing List

Stay up to date with Region 8! Subscribe to AllRegion8@oaregion8.org!

By subscribing to this mailing list, you’ll be privy to all the announcements and news that the Board and Committee Chairs are sharing with the Regional membership. You’ll also learn about exciting ways to carry the message, not just locally, but throughout our region, which includes Central and South America, as well as 8 domestic states in the Southeastern US.

To subscribe, send an email to allregion8-subscribe@oaregion8.orgContinue reading

Report from November 2010 SOAR 8

Report from the November 5-7, 2010 SOAR 8
Recovery Convention and Business Assembly
from SOAR Reps Mary Anne and Neill

Executive Summary

Recovery

The theme of the convention was “Fun in the Sun with Abstinence.” Unusually cool November weather could not mar the beauty of the Westgate Lake Resort or the smiling faces of people who came for recovery, business or both. Multiple pairs of brightly-colored flip flops taped to door jambs and windows led participants from the registration area to the meeting rooms which were decorated with smiling suns and reminders of the beach. The luncheon table on Saturday was decorated with shells and tables for the Saturday night banquet each sported a large sand castle centerpiece and beside each plate was a tiny vial of sand with an OA message such as “One bite is too many but 1,000 are not enough.”

Announcements

  • Bilingual sponsors who can sponsor by mail or email are needed to help members of small meetings in parts of South and Central America.
  • Spanish speakers are also needed to help translate the business materials for Region 8 (e.g., the Bylaws and the Policy and Procedures Manual) into Spanish.
  • The Courier (the OA newsletter by and for health and mental health professionals) needs articles. If  you know someone who is in this field who would be willing to write an article, please urge them to do so.
  • The next Soar Assembly will be March 11-13 in Baton Rouge, LA and the July assembly will be in Nashville, TN.
  • The November, 2011 assembly will be held from the 4th to the 6th in Medellin, Colombia.
  • The name of one of the standing committees was changed from “Unity in Diversity” to “Unity with Diversity” to make the name the same as that of a similar committee at WSBC.
  • Two motions were passed (one to revise the voucher and advance request form and the other to amend the P&P) which reduced the number of meals for which the board and funded committee chairs could be reimbursed. There was already a limit on total spending, but now they will only be reimbursed for meals at working meetings and the Saturday luncheon and banquet at the convention—not for other meals while they are at the convention site or traveling to and from it.
  • The budget for 2010 was presented by the treasurer and adopted.
  • The webmaster position, created at the July SOAR meeting, was returned to the Technology/Website committee. The chair of that committee remains as a funded position (i.e., will have travel to SOAR assembly funded by the Region , but the webmaster will return to being an entirely volunteer position.

Business Accomplished

Election Results

Vice Chair: Gloria L, Central Florida Intergroup (2nd term)

Secretary: Jane C., Central Florida Intergroup (elected acting chair in July)

Region 8 Delegates to 2011 WSBC:

Lisa S., SWLA (Southwest Louisiana) Intergroup

Karen C., Pinellas Traditions Intergroup (FL),  Region 8 Treasurer

Neill M., Triangle Intergroup (NC)

Funded Committee Chairs:

Bylaws/Electronic Documents: Atiya M. (Triangle Intergroup) was re-elected.

Because of time limitations, committees did not deliver oral reports to the assembly so we will learn of the other chairs elected when the assembly minutes are published.


Full Report

Friday night 11-05-10

7:00 pm. Opening Business Meeting

Stephanie, our chair, called the assembly to order in Spanish, as several members of the assembly were from South America and the Caribbean.  Two delegates were attending from Colombia, 1 delegate was from Venezuela, 1 delegate was from Puerto Rico, and 1 visitor was from Ecuador.

We had 12 new green-dot representatives, and 47 voting delegates were present for the Friday evening business session.

Our chair stressed the importance of the delegates putting their abstinence first during the weekend.

North Carolina has the 3rd largest number of meetings in Region 8 (Florida-310 meetings, Georgia-82 meetings, North Carolina-77 meetings).

The Forum topic was “International Region 8”.  The premise was that Puerto Rico, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean Islands are the largest part of Region 8 and more of Region 8 speaks Spanish and Portuguese than English. In land area, the Southern US states account for only 6%. Yet the countries outside of the US have traditionally been under-served by Region 8.

  • 50% of Region 8 speaks Spanish
  • 44% of Region 8 speaks Portuguese
  • 6% of Region 8 speaks English

There are over 170 registered meetings in Latin America and 610 in the southeastern US.

The assembly broke into eight groups to discuss questions related to better serving the interests of our international region. These were the questions assigned:

    1. Internationally, how does Region 8 go from “US” and “THEM” to “WE”?
    2. How can we use technology to expand Region 8 internationally?
    3. How can we expand our resources to fund international travel?
    4. How can we can promote unity, recovery and service throughout all of Region 8?  What are you willing to do to help?
    5. Language difference is the main barrier in effective communication.  How can we make an international Region 8 assembly participatory to all?
    6. What ideas do you have to raise funds or otherwise to translate Region 8 documents into Spanish and Portuguese?
    7. What does the phrase “International Region 8” mean to you?
    8. What kind of mission statement would you write about International Region 8 if you were asked to write something about it for the Policy & Procedures manual or for the Green Dot Manual?

Some of the same suggestions and answers came up from several tables. Here is a partial list of suggestions from the work groups:

  • Increase knowledge in the US portion of the region about the language diversity and relative size of the various parts of Region 8
  • Have a translation program on the website (There is one.)
  • Remember that we are united in our love of recovery.
  • Perhaps US intergroups could sponsor an intergroup in Central or South America or the Caribbean
  • Bilingual sponsors could “meet” sponsorees using Skype
  • Need help from OA as a whole (WSBC) to help us find resources to serve our large region.
  • Need to make every dollar count. Travel may not be the best “bang for the buck” compared to translating materials, computer conferencing, etc.
  • Support translation of our literature
  • Hold meetings in international flight hub cities such as Miami and Atlanta.
  • Unity day would be a perfect time for Intergroups to raise money for service to underserved countries in our region.
  • The mission statement we would write is “Our region’s purpose is to carry the message to the compulsive overeater in every area in Region 8.”

8:30 pm Welcome, Skit, and Panel of Speakers

The business and recovery assembly combined for an evening of recovery messages.

In the introductory skit, performed by the host intergroup, a young woman is plagued by her desire to eat and the character defects that plague her. We see first one character defect than another begin hurling beach balls at her which she vainly endeavors to catch and toss back while continuing to eat. Eventually, just as she is being overwhelmed by the barrage she begins to call for help. Her sponsor comes forward and begins to help catch and toss back the balls. Another person offers to lend her the big book and she also begins helping tossing back the beach balls until eventually the character defects are driven off by the recovery fellowship working as a team to defeat the disease.

Three speakers spoke on the topic “Abstinence is more than a food plan.” Highlights from the panel are highlighted under the first name initial of the speaker:

  1. I have been continuously abstinent for 4 years.  I came in on Thanksgiving knowing that I had lost 100 lbs, but that I had 100 lbs more to lose.  I also knew that I couldn’t do it alone, so I walked into an OA meeting for the first time in 14 years.  I knew that I had to stay this time.  My food plan had worked up to a point, but I needed to stay in the rooms and to work the steps this time around.  I found out about the AA Big Book from a sponsee and wanted to learn more.  I did a 4th step and kept working.  I do a daily 10th step.  I call my sponsor every day and email my food in to my sponsor every day.  It never occurred to me that one day my abstinence would be never wanting to binge again.  My program comes first, before my children and my husband.  The miracle for me today is that I don’t want to eat my old binge foods anymore!  Life is challenging sometimes, but I don’t want to pick up the food anymore.  My kids are proud of their new mom, the “skinny bitch”.  My husband doesn’t have to help me tie my shoes anymore!

P.   I have been abstinent for 13 years with a 65-lb weight loss.  My abstinence is a fine balance between a food plan, working the steps with a sponsor, and giving service.  My H.P. lead me into my service position.  Part of my abstinence is maintaining a healthy body weight.  I heard about maintaining a healthy weight at a SOAR assembly, so I talked to my sponsor, became willing to change my food plan, and lost another 25 lbs.  Part of my abstinence is refraining from thinking that I am not “good enough”.  OA is helping me to release this “toxic shame”.  I am grateful for weight loss, feeling better, courage and emotional growth.  Abstinence helps me to see myself “through God’s eyes”, not perfect, but good enough.  I don’t hold myself up to perfectionism anymore.  I don’t hold myself to a higher standard  than others.  I don’t use perfectionism to beat myself up anymore.  I remember THINK before I speak to people in my life—Is what I have to say Thoughtful, Honest, Important, Necessary, and Kind?  As the Third Step Prayer says, my H.P. is taking away my defects of character so that I can bear witness to others that the program and the steps work!

  1. I have a 125-lb weight loss.  I had to put down the food.  The old G. said, “I’m not a morning person.  I’m not a happy person”.  I’m now a morning person and a happy person.  I smile and say hello to people today.  The old me was morbidly obese with wrinkly skin.  The new me has a normal size body with wrinkly skin.  The old me was held together with safety pins.  The new me is buttons and bows and clothes that fit.  The old me was hooked on tragedy in the news; the new me only gets a little news.  The old me ate alone; the new me likes to eat with others.  The old me was always “just sorry”.  The new me know that I have to change my behavior. The old me was not a listener; the new me knows how to listen.  The old me did not pull my weight at work; the new me pulls my weight at work.  The old me was shoulder pads and puffed up hair so you wouldn’t notice my body.  The new me hasn’t worn shoulder pads and puffed up hair in years.  The old me was never in photos.  The new me loves to be in photos.  The old me had the insanity; the new me loves my life.  The “problem” has been removed as long as I keep in fit spiritual condition.

Saturday 11-6-10

8:30 am. Business Meeting Continues

The morning session began with the serenity prayer in Spanish. Copies were distributed to all participants and the SOAR Rep from Venezuela led the group. This was followed by the reading of the 12 concepts, and the 11-06 entry in Voices of Recovery.

In the Saturday morning meeting, there were 52 voting members representing 24 intergroups, 4 board members and 4 funded committee chairs. There were also 6 non-voting attendees including 3 alternates 1 guest and the 2 pages from the hosting intergroup.

The standing rules were adopted by vote from the assembly. It was then noted that the new method of checking credentials without a role call before each session was in violation of the standing rules we had just adapted. If we wish to adopt a new approach, mirroring the World Service Business Conference (WSBC), that separates role call from credentialing of the membership, there will need to be a motion to modify the standing rules in the Policy and Procedure Manual (P&P).

Two items were put forward to be on a consent agenda. The concept of a consent agenda, introduced at the July 2010 SOAR 8 Assembly in New Orleans, is used to move business forward quickly. If there are items that are deemed completely non-controversial, the chair can seek a consent agenda. For this to occur, the group has to vote unanimously that they have no debate or questions about any item included. If any one objects to any piece, it cannot be part of the consent agenda. Once a consent agenda has been accepted by the group because there were no objections, the whole content is voted “yes” or “no” with no pro and con speeches and no discussion. The two items proposed for this treatment were that Region 8 present a motion for the 2011 WSBC to amend the description of Region 8 in WSBC bylaws spelling out the countries in Central and South American and the Caribbean and a proposal, within the Region, to change the name of one of the standing committees from “Unity in Diversity” to “Unity with Diversity” to make the name the same as that of a similar committee at WSBC.

There was an objection to including the motion for Region 8 to propose modification of the description of the region in the OA bylaws so that motion was excluded from the consent agenda. The motion to change the committee name remained on the consent agenda and was passed without debate.

Those who objected to the motion to change the description of Region 8 were not opposed to the idea of making the description more even handed by spelling out the individual countries outside of the US, parallel to listing the individual states in the US. (The current version lists the relevant states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, “Central America and South America.”) Objections were to some wording, and more particularly the omission from the list of countries within the region that do not currently have active OA meetings. The Region 8 Board, which had proposed this motion, withdrew it in order to work on the wording. It is anticipated that a revised version of this motion will appear at the March Assembly in Baton Rouge.

Minutes from the July Assembly in New Orleans were approved.

As is customary, the parliamentarian gave a lesson in procedure. She joked that the “lesson” is almost always based on what we did wrong at the previous assembly. In this case, the lesson was based on a voting snafu in New Orleans. This was particularly relevant as November is the month for the SOAR elections in which half of the board is replaced each year and delegates are elected to represent SOAR at WSBC in the spring.

  • In New Orleans, black ballots were counted as votes for neither candidate. This led to a situation in which, even though there were only two candidates, neither received a majority for two rounds of voting. The parliamentarian then explained that a blank ballot was, indeed, a non-vote and did not have to be counted. However, voters must be presented with the opportunity to vote against a candidate, even if that candidate ran unopposed, or to vote for “none of the above” in a two-way election. Ballots given out later that day would reflect this interpretation.

A seventh tradition was taken, providing $350.20 for the region. A second collection to help defer the expense of travel for delegates from outside the US raised $234.95.

Each of the board members gave a five-minute report with five additional minutes for questions.

  • The Chair reported on her trip to Bogata, praising OA in that country and its commitment to recovery, unity, and service. She also reported about the 50th Anniversary Convention in LA. She said that at least 10% if the sessions there were on abstinence and plan of eating—very consistent with Region 8’s focus on abstinence. WSBC is undergoing a strategic plan and she urged people to check the OA website for more information. She met with all the regional chairs in Region 4 in October and looks forward to having all of the regional chairs at the November 2011 SOAR assembly. She emphasized the importance of supporting Lifeline by subscribing and by writing for it. She also recommended the strong meeting check list (available in English and Spanish. She bemoaned the fact that fewer than 17 percent of the intergroups in Region 8 sent a delegate to WSBC, but this does allow the region to send delegates.
  • The Vice Chair spoke of the value of supporting the regional assembly. She talked about her ongoing work revising the hosting manual. She has led the effort to create a sheet for hotels that spell out all of the needs for the assembly. She has also revised the green dot manual (for newcomers to the Regional Assembly.
  • The Secretary has been working on how to modify and make more efficient the method of credentialing and casting ballots, and of changing the methods that regional reps choose or receive committee assignments.
  • The Treasurer provided a new  report to update the one provided for the meeting packet as that one had to be produced 30 days before the assembly. Region 8 spent more than it took in last year, but the prudent reserve remains in the suggested zone between 40 and 60% of the annual budget.
  • The Trustee, like the Chair, reported on the trip to Colombia where she reported, “The love of OA is amazing.” She reminded us that WSO can give some scholarship help to groups to send delegates to WSBC. She also reminded us that trustees can do workshops to intergroups within the region on any topic within the strategic plan of OA, and that means almost anything related to OA. She stated that the Courier (the OA newsletter by and for health and mental health professionals) needs articles. If  you know someone who is in this field who would be willing to write an article, please urge them to do so. She laughingly reminded us that we have service to prevent suicide, the traditions to prevent homicide, and the concepts to prevent genocide.

In addition to the committee name change on the consent agenda, the Assembly passed the following motions:

  • Two motions (one to revise the voucher and advance request form and the other to amend the P&P) reduced the number of meals for which the board and funded committee chairs could be reimbursed. There was already a limit on total spending, but now they will only be reimbursed for meals at working meetings and the Saturday luncheon and banquet at the convention—not for other meals while they are at the convention site or traveling to and from it.

Lunch

Business and recovery conference attendees had lunch together and heard an excellent speaker who talked about the value of abstinence. He asked everyone to write a sentence or two about abstinence and after he spoke he drew out cards and read from them. He also drew out a card to be the winner of $25 in literature. Mary Anne won this and brought home a new Big Book (to replace the one that has totally fallen apart) and a copy of Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.

An ongoing contest announced at lunch was “Recovery Rocks.” Members were asked to put a small smooth river rock in a bucket for each year of continuous abstinence. The person with the closest guess to the accumulated years of recovery (385) won a prize.

2:00 pm. Committees met

Neil is on the 12th Step Within Committee. Mary Anne is on the Electronic Documents and By-Laws Committee.

4:00 pm. Final business meeting

The budget for 2010 was presented by the treasurer and adopted.

An emergency motion was put forward to withdraw the webmaster position, created at the July SOAR meeting, and return it to the Technology/Website committee. The chair of that committee remains as a funded position (i.e., will have travel to SOAR assembly funded by the Region , but the webmaster will return to being an entirely volunteer position. There was an objection from the floor that this was not an emergency motion. This point was debated, but the motion did move forward and was carried.

To assure continuity, half of the board is elected each year. This year the vice chair and secretary were elected. Next year there will be an election for the chair and treasurer. Although, SOAR is allowed to send up to 5 delegates to WSBC this year, the treasurer reported that we could afford to send three. Therefore we could elect three delegates.

All candidates for the board or WSBC delegates filled out applications that were sent in the assembly packets so that the representatives could read them before we met. Each was also asked to speak briefly before the voting.

Although there had been two nominations for vice chair at the July assembly, only one person, Gloria the current vice chair, submitted an application. In keeping with the lesson from the parliamentarian, ballots asked us to vote “yes” or “no” for Gloria as vice chair.

The following people were elected:

Vice Chair: Gloria L, Central Florida Intergroup (2nd term)

Secretary: Jane C., Central Florida Intergroup (elected acting chair in July)

Region 8 Delegates to 2011 WSBC:

Lisa S., SWLA (Southwest Louisiana) Intergroup

Karen C., Pinellas Traditions Intergroup (FL),  Region 8 Treasurer

Neill M., Triangle Intergroup (NC)

Four regions competed for hosting the November, 2011 meeting which will include the meeting of all of the regional chairs. Competitors from Miami, Pinellas Traditions (St. Petersburg, FL), Palm Beach and Gulf Coast Intergroup, and Medellin, Colombia provided handouts and PowerPoints, danced, sang, and gave out little gifts to the crowd, wooing votes for their location. The choice was made by written ballot and the winner was Medellin, Colombia.

Saturday Night

During dinner and before and after an inspiring speaker, the group was entertained by The Sound Experience, a DJ team that got everyone involved in a musical trivia game. Neill M. performed two songs on a borrowed guitar to the delight of the assembly, and a substantial group, including Mary Anne and sometimes Neil, danced themselves sweaty but happy to a combination of disco and old time rock and roll.

Sunday Morning Business

Both the Board, with committee chairs and the intergroup chairs had Sunday morning breakfast meetings as has become a tradition at the assemblies.

Sunday Morning. Recovery Meetings

After morning meditation, the 12th Step Within Committee presented one of the OA Road Show skits with Neil reprising his now-famous role as the slow-talking southern waitress. After the skit, which highlighted the tragedy of the people who are lost to recovery when they relapse and leave or do not stay long enough for the miracle to happen, members were encouraged to share about how to help those struggling with relapse. Ideas shared included:

  • Committing to call people we haven’t seen in a while and newcomers that don’t come back.
  • We want to be liked so it is hard to confront (or carefront) those people who claim they are “fine” but are obviously gaining weight, missing meetings, etc.
  • One woman shared “When I was in relapse, even though I never returned your calls, I heard them!. Those calls and contacts matter.”
  • If I was going to have a surgical solution to my disease it would have to be a lobotomy rather than a gastric bypass.

Our own Atiya was the closing speaker sharing on the theme that there is no “spiritual part” of the recovery program. The program is spiritual.

Report from July 2010 SOAR 8

Report from the July 9–11, 2010 SOAR 8
Recovery Convention and Business Assembly
from SOAR Reps Mary Anne and Neill

Executive Summary

Recovery

The theme of the convention was “Twelve Steppin’ in the Big Easy.” The recovery convention sessions were organized around the steps and made festive with theme days. For example on Friday all of the attendees from the local COLA intergroup wore New Orleans Saints colors (black and gold) and on Saturday, they all work Mardi Gras beads and other accessories in the Mardi Gras colors of gold, green, and purple. The Friday night skit was on the theme, “Am I Still Your Sponsor?” while the panel presentation, with three speakers focused on the theme “Without the Steps, OA is just another diet and calories club.” On Sunday morning the 12th Step Within Committee presented one of the OA Road Show skits demonstrating what happens to a meeting when people share their mess instead of the message.

Announcements

  • The 12th Step Within Committee is very interested in ideas about what intergroups do to help spread the recovery message to those in relapse or still struggling.
  • The Ways and Means Committee is interested in fund raising ideas that local IGs have used successfully.
  • The July 2011 SOAR will be in Nashville, TN, July 8-10, at the Holiday Inn Opryland. It will be hosted by the Middle Tennessee Intergroup. Registration will be $40.
  • Everyone is encouraged to attend OA’s 50th Birthday Celebration to be held August 26-29, 2010 in Los Angeles.
  • According to the CRC 7 of the 10 states with the highest rates of obesity are in our SOAR region. Our regional chair announced this to draw our attention to the need to grow OA in our region, to make it available to everyone who wants it. She said emphatically that obesity is not an outside issue.
  • We are trying to increase our service to countries in our region outside of the US. There was a delegate to this assembly from the island nation of Aruba. Our chair and trustee will be conducting a service and traditions workshop and speaking at an assembly in Bogota, Columbia.
  • Responding to a request for more efficient checking of credentials, the board instituted a system in which board members and IG reps showed their badges to the doorkeeper who kept a simple tally and reported that tally for voting purposes. It was more efficient, but the down side was that it didn’t let us know which intergroups, or even how many intergroups were there. We only know that there were 28 reps, 7 funded chairs, and 3 board members as the voting members of the business assembly. This does not count the parliamentarian and the regional trustee who cannot vote..
  • Non controversial motions (i.e. to institute two new forms for transactions with the treasurer) were voted to be placed on a consent agenda. If any one objects to any piece, it cannot be part of the consent agenda. Once a consent agenda has been accepted by the group because there were no objections, the whole content is voted “yes” or “no” with no pro and con speeches and no discussion.
  • The Technology/Website Committee is looking into developing a system in which contributions to SOAR can be made online with PayPal or something similar. This is contingent on finding a process that does not violate the traditions by seeming to endorse an outside enterprise as well as full protection of privacy.
  • In addition to the two new forms on the consent agenda, the Assembly made the following decisions:
    • A section was added to the By-Laws to allow for emergency appointment of nominees to the regional trustee position if there should be no nominations at the fall assembly, or if a vacancy should arise when there is no business assembly before WSBC needs the nominations. There had been no contingency plan for this in the by-laws until this vote.
    • New language for the Soar8 Policies and Procedures Manual (the P&P) was accepted to flesh out descriptions of the Unity in Diversity Committee and the Bylaws/Electronic Documents Committee which were created at the last assembly. New language was not yet accepted for the new Technology/Website committee as that committee is still working on defining its role.
    • An emergency motion passed to move the SOAR8 webmaster position from being a part of the Technology/Website committee to a position in service to the board. Although the current webmaster is a volunteer, the motion was amended to give the board the freedom to hire a non-volunteer webmaster in the future if that should become necessary. Whether or not the webmaster is a volunteer, his or her expenses to attend SOAR assemblies will be paid, but he or she will not vote.
    • Following the resignation of our long-time secretary Joel, an interim secretary was elected to serve through the end of the November assembly when the elections are held.
    • Nominations were taken for board positions. Elections will be held in November.
    • Because only 17% of Region 8 intergroups (10 of 59) were represented at WSBC this year, we can send up to 5 additional delegates from the region. However, in the treasurer’s opinion based on the current budget, we will only be able to afford to send 3. Eleven delegates, including Neill, were nominated from the floor. They must each submit applications to the SOAR8 board by early in September. Voting for delegates will take place at the November election.

Procedural Changes

Business Accomplished


Full Report

Friday night 07-09-10

7:30 pm. Opening Business Meeting

After the traditional opening—serenity prayer, 12 steps, 12 traditions, and the 07-09 reading from For Today—Stephanie (Action is the magic word), our chair, welcomed the representative from an intergroup that had not been represented at SOAR before, the Caribbean island Aruba. She then went on to talk about how even though this was a business meeting, abstinence was the most important thing that any of us were there for. She encouraged us to do whatever we needed to do to maintain our abstinence including asking someone to be a temporary sponsor for the meeting, calling or texting our sponsors back home, and maintaining our regular daily spiritual practices. She distributed “smiles on a stick” and reminded us then, and throughout the meeting of our slogan, “Fun in abstinence!”

She explained our new system of checking in at the door, an experiment in streamlining the meeting by eliminating the intergroup-by-intergroup roll cal that has traditionally started each session and been repeated after every break. IG reps showed their badges to the doorkeeper who kept a simple tally and reported that tally for voting purposes. It was more efficient, but the down side was that it didn’t let us know which intergroups, or even how many intergroups were there. We only know that there were 28 reps, 7 funded chairs, and 3 board members as the voting members of the business assembly. This does not count the parliamentarian and the regional trustee who cannot vote.

The meeting ratified a new agenda that added election on an interim secretary (necessitated by the early resignation of our previous secretary, Joel) and nominations for representatives from SOAR to next year’s World Service Business Conference.

Our vice chair, Gloria (Trust God. Clean House. Help Others.) was ill and unable to attend, but she is getting better and expected to be back at work soon.8

The business meeting concluded with a tutorial on using our website OAregion8.org. One feature that was especially highlighted were our link to the meeting list for the region. Through this connection, if a meeting changes its information on the OA.org website, it will automatically be updated on the SOAR website as well. There is an events calendar to which intergroups can submit their retreats, conferences, and other events, and a message board called the forum which includes, but is not limited to password-protected sections for communication among committee members between assemblies.

8:30 pm COLA Welcome, Skit and

In the skit, performed by the host intergroup, a sponsor checks in with her sponsees, asking them each if she was still their sponsor.  She asked them why they hadn’t been in contact or had stopped working their program.  They all had reasons or excuses for not being in regular contact.  She reassured each one that she was still there for them, but that they needed to stay in touch and work the steps.

The evening’s panel discussion topic was “Without the steps, OA is just a diet and calories club”.  Three people shared their experience, strength, and hope. Highlights from the panel are highlighted under the first name initial of the speaker:

D.  “I did all my eating in private.  I did a lot of dieting in my head.  I avoided interaction with people.  When I came into OA, I wanted to find THE DIET.  I did lots of diets, the cabbage soup diet, 2 shakes and a sensible dinner diet, etc.  I dieted off my weight, but I gained it back.  I smiled on the outside, but I was dying on the inside.  People in OA understood me when no one else could.  I bought all the OA literature and though that I could figure OA out all by myself.  Having a sponsor really helped me.  ‘Keep coming back’ really worked for me!”

A.  “I heard that if your Big Book is falling apart, then you are not.  I have been a compulsive overeater all my life.  I had no emotional skills to deal with life, so I ate.  I gained weight due to a death in my family, 70 pounds over the summer.  I spent my life holding back from experiences due to fear.  All the solutions I found before OA were about diet and calories.  I weighed 263 pounds twice and was alternately anorexic and bulimic in my life.  When I came into OA I found that there was a spiritual solution for my compulsive overeating.  I learned the importance of the fellowship.  I got a sponsor.  I had a calling network.  But I had to work the steps and use the tools.  Then I experienced freedom, freedom from the bondage of food and fear.”

G.  I am abstinent for 17 years with a 100 pound weight loss.  The diet clubs worked for a while, but I would always gain the weight back.  I have a disease that is mental, physical, and spiritual.  All my life, I looked for the book that would show me how to live.  When I joined OA, you (the fellowship) gave me the book, the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  As the Doctor’s Opinion states, my body is as abnormal as my mind.  I used to make the refrigerator my God.  When I came into OA, I had borderline diabetes, high blood pressure, heart palpitations, and knees that hurt.  My doctor told me that I might not live to be 50.  I went out of his office, prepaid for a year of a well-known diet club.  Then I went to an ice cream store.  I decided that if I might die, I might as well eat some good food before I died.  In OA I found that I had to be food sober from my binge foods.  I work the steps and use the tools.  I make 3 OA phone calls a day.  I do what I need to do each day to be abstinent.

Saturday 07-10-10

8:30 am. Business Meeting Continues

The morning session began with the serenity prayer, reading of the 12 concepts, and the 07-10 entry in Voices of Recovery. To perpetuate Fun in Abstinence, we were introduced to Recovery Bingo. Everyone was given two bingo “cards” with each of the 25 blocks containing a word or phrase such as “Bylaws,” “Meeting,” “Motion,” “Service,” “Serenity,” or “Sponsor.” Any time someone in the meeting used one of the words on either or both of the reps’ cards they would mark off that square. If a player was able to mark off five cells in a row in any direction, he or she was instructed to wait until the current item of business was open and then proceed to the center microphone to call “bingo.” Prizes were given to the first 10 people to get “bingo.” Neither of your reps really liked this game very much because we found it hard to pay attention to the business at hand, take good notes for our report to you, and mark our cards at the same time.

In the Saturday morning meeting, there were 41 voting and 4 non-voting members in the room including the pages from the Memphis group.

After adoption of the standing rules, the concept of a consent agenda was explained. If there are items that are deemed completely non-controversial—in this case the treasurer had proposed the modification of 2 forms that she uses for routine business functions—the chair can seek a consent agenda. For this to occur, the group has to vote unanimously that they have no debate or questions about any item included. If any one objects to any piece, it cannot be part of the consent agenda. Once a consent agenda has been accepted by the group because there were no objections, the whole content is voted “yes” or “no” with no pro and con speeches and no discussion. The two form revisions were accepted as a consent agenda and the agenda was accepted so that no further discussion or voting was required.

Minutes from the March meeting in Memphis were approved.

As is customary, the parliamentarian gave a lesson in procedure. She covered two points—withdrawing a motion and “The Gordian Knot.”

  • Withdrawing a motion. If the chair has not stated the motion, it is the property of the maker of the motion and can be withdrawn. Once the chair has stated the motion, it belongs to the assembly. The chair may ask if there are any objections to the withdrawal. If anyone objects, it is resolved with a straight “yes” or “no” vote.
  • The Gordian Knot (named after the near-legendary action of Alexander the Great). This occurs only when there has become a hopeless tangle (for example many nested amendments and people wanting to withdraw amendments, etc.) and neither the chair or parliamentarian know how to resolve it. It calls for a suspension of the rules which allows all of the action to date to just be set aside and for the group to begin at the beginning. To implement the Gordian Knot requires a 2/3 majority.

Each of the board members was to give a five-minute report. Because neither the vice chair nor the secretary were there, the chair asked for and received permission to extend the time for herself and the regional trustee.

  • The Chair praised COLA for their recovery presentation of the previous night and talked about how the board had attempted to implement suggestions from the March meeting to streamline procedures. This included pre-assigning mentors for green dots (first time reps), the consent agenda (explained above), the elimination of the roll call, and continuing to work toward remote attendance. (Currently, members unable to attend can log in and watch the assembly but they have no mechanism for speaking or voting.) She gave a brief report from WSBC (as did several other board members) and reported that she and our regional trustee (Gerri, trust God and buy broccoli) will go to Bogota, Columbia for a service and traditions workshop and to speak at an assembly there. She also reported that, according to the CRC 7 of the 10 states with the highest rates of obesity are in our SOAR region. She said that this was a call for the need to grow OA in our region, to make sure that it is available to everyone who wants it. When questioned from the floor about whether obesity is an outside issue, she said emphatically that it is not.
  • The Treasurer provided a new  report to update the one provided for the meeting packet as that one had to be produced 30 days before the assembly. She hopes that the November contributions will bring our regional finances into better line with our budget. She asked that if groups want confirmation of their contributions that they include an e-mail address for that purpose. Two technical issues are currently under investigation. One is the pros and cons of enabling groups to make contributions online through an intermediary such as Pay Pal. The other is to make the mandated list of group contributions available on the website, but with some assurance that this information is not available to inappropriate readers.
  • The Trustee, like the Chair, reported on the WSBC. She reiterated that only 17% of the service bodies (primarily intergroups) in Region 8 were represented at WSBC, which permits the region to send up to 5 additional delegates next year, as funding permits. She encouraged everyone to attend OA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in Los Angeles August 26-29 and passed around a sample of the souvenir bookmark issued to celebrate the anniversary. She also stressed the importance of supporting Lifeline—including placing them in doctors’ offices with local meeting information written on the back. She concluded by talking about the importance of carrying the message by example, by maintaining a normal weight.
  • One of the Region 8 delegates also gave a report on WSBC. All 3 reports are carried in full in the most recent issue of the SOAR Newsletter, available on the website. Everyone reporting on WSBC encouraged members to give feedback on the new tool “Plan of Action.”

In addition to the two new forms on the consent agenda, the Assembly made the following decisions:

  • A section was added to the By-Laws to allow for emergency appointment of nominees to the regional trustee position if there should be no nominations at the fall assembly, or if a vacancy should arise when there is no business assembly before WSBC needs the nominations. There had been no contingency plan for this in the by-laws until this vote. (Amending By-Laws requires a majority of ¾ of the votes.)
  • New language for the Soar8 Policies and Procedures Manual (the P&P) was accepted to flesh out descriptions of the Unity in Diversity Committee and the Bylaws/Electronic Documents Committee which were created at the last assembly. New language was not yet accepted for the new Technology/Website committee as that committee is still working on defining its role.
  • A general motion also passed, after an unsuccessful attempt to amend it, to fund the regional Chair to attend the World Service Convention every three years. Under the previous policies and procedures, the chair was funded to attend the required meeting of the regional chairs that takes place at that conference, but not to attend the remainder of the conference.

Lunch

A CD of the lunch speaker has been donated to the intergroup tape library.

2:00 pm. Committees met

Neil is on the 12th Step Within Committee. Mary Anne is on the Electronic Documents and By-Laws Committee.

4:00 pm. Final business meeting

In accordance with the by-laws, the Board had appointed Jane C. to act as secretary for the assembly following Joel’s resignation. However, those by-laws also stipulate that at the first assembly after the resignation, an interim secretary must be elected. A written ballot is used for elections. The winning candidate must receive a majority of the votes. Jane C. and Patty S. were nominated and the election was very close. Because some people abstained (turned in blank ballots), no one received a majority on the first 2 ballots. Finally Jane C. was elected to serve through the next assembly after which the person elected at the regular November elections will begin. Both of the candidates for interim secretary were also nominated for that position.

Gloria (the current vice chair) and Janice S. were nominated from the floor as vice chair. They must submit applications 60 days before the next assembly. As there are two apparently eligible candidates, there will be no nominations from the floor in November.

The Chair and Treasurer are elected on alternate years with the Vice Chair and Secretary so that there is never an entirely new board.

Although, as explained above, SOAR is allowed to send up to 5 delegates to WSBC, the treasurer reported that we would most likely be able to afford to send 3. There were 11 nominations including Neill from our intergroup. All applications must be submitted by early September.

The July 2011 SOAR will be in Nashville, TN, July 8-10, at the Holiday Inn Opreyland. It will be hosted by the Middle Tennessee Intergroup. Registration will be $40.

Two emergency motions were passed. The first was to move the SOAR8 webmaster position from being a part of the Technology/Website committee to a position in service to the board. Although the current webmaster is a volunteer, the motion was amended to give the board the freedom to hire a non-volunteer webmaster in the future if that should become necessary. Whether or not the webmaster is a volunteer, his or her expenses to attend SOAR assemblies will be paid, but he or she will not vote. The second was to give the ways and means committee a budget override of $265.99 to cover the costs of additional fund raising.

Saturday Night

After dinner and an inspiring speaker, the group was entertained by The Double Steppers—a local group of cloggers who clogged in a sort of line dance formation, unlike NC cloggers whose performances are more closely related to square dancing. There was a DJ afterward; but tired from a long day of business, only a handful of us stayed to dance.

Sunday Morning. Recovery Meetings

After morning meditation, the 12th Step Within Committee presented one of the OA Road Show skits demonstrating what happens to a meeting when people share their mess instead of the message. It pointed out how important it was for those people with real recovery (even, or especially when they are in the minority within the meeting) to not only share in meetings but to be available to sponsor and encourage those who may not be seeing or hearing much about the 12 Steps in their current meetings.

Members were encouraged to share what their meetings and intergroups did to carry the message within the fellowship.

The assembly ended with a final inspiring speaker, “I put my hand in yours,” and the Serenity Prayer.