Q&A: An interview with the NYC Intergroup Chair

Tom M. is the outgoing Chair of the Greater New York Metro Intergroup after serving in this position for the past two years. He has been a member of OA since April 1981. During that time he has held service positions in Connecticut Intergroup, Massachusetts Bay Intergroup, San Francisco Intergroup, and now New York City. Metro Memo interviewed Tom about the state of Intergroup.

MM: What is Intergroup anyway, and why is it so important?
TM: Intergroup is just the name we have for groups in a particular area coming together—apart from our individual meetings—to do the necessary work to keep the OA fellowship going. No one individual meeting prints the meeting lists, for example, or answers a help line, or maintains a website. All the groups come together, in theory at least, to keep these common, necessary functions going.

MM: What drew you to doing service at the Intergroup level? What has been your experience serving as Chair of the NYC Metro Intergroup?
TM: What has drawn me to do service has been the knowledge that I need to do my fair share. If I didn’t do that it wouldn’t sit right with me. My experience serving as Chair has been mixed. It’s very rewarding to work with the dedicated group of fellows who show up each month at Intergroup meetings. What’s dismaying is that the majority of our groups—nearly 70 percent feel it’s fine to never send a representative to Intergroup, or to volunteer at a health fair, or help out with answering newcomer calls. There’s a very real possibility Intergroup could disband in 2015 if individual meetings don’t recognize that they have to do their fair share, both financially and with hands to do the work.

MM: What positive changes have you seen during your tenure as Chair?
TM: Well, the level of contributions is up, by over 50 percent. That’s a positive, but it really should be 100 percent. The reintroduction of the Metro Memo after a nearly 1.5 year hiatus is a real positive too, and the huge benefit people get from the ongoing retreats is also terrific.

MM: Where do you hope to see the New York Metro Intergroup five years from now?
TM: I hope it’s functioning and has representation from all the groups. I hope it increases its outreach to the outer boroughs, and into Spanish speaking meetings. I also hope we have a vigorous outreach program so that we are regularly visible at health fairs.

MM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
TM: I think the primary purpose of Intergroup is to do the work that the individual meetings cannot do on their own, such as printing the meeting lists or maintaining the www.oanyc.org website. But it also means organizing ourselves so we can be a beacon of hope for that suffering person who is out there trying to stop, and doesn’t know how to do it. I hope members of Overeaters Anonymous in New York City who read this will ask themselves “Is my group doing its fair share to help that suffering person? Am I?” And I hope we can all join together to provide that hope in New York.

Published in Metro Memo – April 2015