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Abstinence Anniversaries

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I am looking for any writings that give reasons why we celebrate abstinence anniversaries. I have just become the anniversary chairperson for a meeting I attend and would like to give a clear explanation of the benefits of celebrating anniversaries. Can you direct me to a writing or provide me with the reasons?

We celebrate to reflect our pleasure and our relief from the disease of compulsive overeating. It’s been my experience that this is not a “congratulatory” type of celebration, but one rooted in our happiness that we have found a solution to our common problem that has worked for a significant period of time. The fact that we have found a path of recovery from compulsive eating and can share it with our friends and fellows is reason to celebrate. It also allows those still suffering to see that there is the possibility of long-term relief for them as well.

Why celebrate abstinence and not simply time in the rooms? This probably comes from other fellowships that celebrate sobriety or clean anniversaries. In fact, I am not aware of any Twelve Step fellowship that celebrates time in the rooms. Insofar as our Preamble says that “our primary purpose is to abstain from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors and to carry the message of recovery through the Twelve Steps of OA to those who still suffer,” celebrating the fulfillment of our primary purpose seems appropriate.

Although we work this program one day at a time, long-term recovery from compulsive eating is the result we strive to achieve. For many of us, that recovery process starts with abstinence, which is certainly the most solid thing to hang an anniversary upon. So we celebrate.

— Members of the Board of Trusteees provide answers to Ask-It Basket questions

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