Twelve Concepts

In Overeaters Anonymous, the Twelve Steps serve as the spiritual principles that support our personal recovery from compulsive overeating. The Twelve Traditions aid us, individually and collectively, in maintaining unity of purpose within the Fellowship and in all our affairs.. The Twelve Concepts of OA Service, adopted by the World Service Business Conference (WSBC) in 1994, help us apply the Steps and Traditions in our service work, which is an important part of the OA program. The Concepts define and guide the practices of the service structures that conduct the business of OA.

These Concepts depict the chain of delegated responsibility we use to provide service throughout the world. Although they focus on OA world services, the Concepts direct all OA’s trusted servants to well-considered actions for group participation, decision making, voting and the expression of minority opinions. The Twelve Concepts support our primary purpose of carrying OA’s message of recovery to the still-suffering compulsive overeater.

The Twelve Concepts of OA Service

Concept One

The ultimate responsibility and authority for OA world services reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.

Concept Two

The OA groups have delegated to World Service Business Conference the active maintenance of our world services; thus, World Service Business Conference is the voice, authority and effective conscience of OA as a whole.

Concept Three

The right of decision, based on trust, makes effective leadership possible.

Concept Four

The right of participation ensures equality of opportunity for all in the decision-making process.

Concept Five

Individuals have the right of appeal and petition in order to ensure that their opinions and personal grievances will be carefully considered.

Concept Six

The World Service Business Conference has entrusted the Board of Trustees with the primary responsibility for the administration of Overeaters Anonymous.

Concept Seven

The Board of Trustees has legal rights and responsibilities accorded to them by OA Bylaws, Subpart A; the rights and responsibilities of the World Service Business Conference are accorded to it by Tradition and by OA Bylaws, Subpart B.

Concept Eight

The Board of Trustees has delegated to its Executive Committee the responsibility to administer the OA World Service Office.

Concept Nine

Able, trusted servants, together with sound and appropriate methods of choosing them, are indispensable for effective functioning at all service levels.

Concept Ten

Service responsibility is balanced by carefully defined service authority; therefore, duplication of efforts is avoided.

Concept Eleven

Trustee administration of the World Service Office should always be assisted by the best standing committees, executives, staffs and consultants.

Concept Twelve

The spiritual foundation for OA service ensures that:

(a) No OA committee or service body shall ever become the seat of perilous wealth or power;

(b) Sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, shall be OA’s prudent financial principle;

(c) No OA member shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority;

(d) All important decisions shall be reached by discussion, vote and, whenever possible, by substantial unanimity;

(e) No service action shall ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; and

(f) No OA service committee or service board shall ever perform any acts of government, and each shall always remain democratic in thought and action.

Spiritual Principles in the Twelve Concepts

A spiritual principle is associated with each of the Twelve Concepts.

Concept One: Unity

Concept Two: Conscience

Concept Three: Trust

Concept Four: Equality

Concept Five: Consideration

Concept Six: Responsibility

Concept Seven: Balance

Concept Eight: Delegation

Concept Nine: Ability

Concept Ten: Clarity

Concept Eleven: Humility

Concept Twelve:

(a) Selflessness

(b) Realism

(c) Representation

(d) Dialogue

(e) Compassion

(f) Respect

For more information about the Twelve Concepts, read the pamphlet The Twelve Concepts of OA Service, available from our online catalog.

Taken from with permission © 2020 Overeaters Anonymous, Inc. All Rights Reserved.