Since March 14, 2020, I along with everyone else on the planet has been coping with the fallout from COVID-19. This is my experience in the pandemic as a member of Overeaters Anonymous.
However, aside from the devastation around me, OA has been my lifeline. Throughout it all, I was able to attend meetings by phone and ZOOM, and maintain 110 pound weight loss.
I decided not to attend my March 14 meeting in person, but instead used ZOOM to call into my meeting and someone passed their phone around to attend. Because of our intergroup, we were quickly able to have our next meetings be on ZOOM and have continued until this day.
Next thoughts turned to the safety of out of state travel. I usually visit my son and family in CA, and had my OA friends to talk over the issues, and came to the realization that I need to cancel travel plans.
But that was not the only travel I had committed to. The OA World Service Conference was to be held the week of April 20 and I had made travel plans for that as well. WSO could not cancel the event until the state mandated it without incurring a $100,000 penalty. Again, I had the support of OA friends until the in-person event was cancelled. WSO scrambled and sent out the necessary materials to read by vote by email. All our committees continued working and communicating by email and ZOOM.
The Region 6 Spring Assembly was also done successfully by emails, but by late summer it seemed any conventions would have to be postponed or done by ZOOM. Our fall R6 Assembly was on ZOOM, and although sorely missing the companionship of other OA members, we successfully had our virtual assembly.
MBI has been meeting every month — at first by phone, and moved quickly to ZOOM, we accomplished all our business including a retreat reunion, and most recently an open house to both let members know that our intergroup does and inviting them to visit our meetings.
This is what I have experienced at the service level of intergroup and above, but probably the most profound is the relative serenity I have from working the OA program on a daily basis. Because I have a higher power to lean on, a sponsor that I have a commitment to call on a regular basis, sponsee calls daily, a set routine of reading OA literature found at OA Bookstore (including the AA Big Book), texting and calling people (in and out of program), meditation, maintaining my food plan, and exercise, I can say that I feel mostly calm in my daily life.
That is not to say that unsettling events never happen — I had to take my husband to the hospital for chest pains and tests (turned out ok) and I fell and hit my head on the cement at the pool, went to emergency room (also turned out ok). My husband’s job has been cut back to 5 hours a week, and my part-time job has been closed. I have learned in OA to focus on Gratitude. I am so grateful for what I have been given, but yet my heart grieves for all those who have not been as fortunate. We have a lot of slogans in OA, but I leave you with this one: Do what you can when you can. “A life of sane and happy usefulness” is what we are promised as the result of working the twelve steps. Service fulfills that promise always to extend the hand and heart of OA to all who share my compulsion; for this I am responsible. Jeanne K.