Home How OA Changed My Life Applying the Traditions

Applying the Traditions

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This year I will celebrate my twenty-first anniversary with my large corporate employer, a miracle I can only attribute to the OA program and my Higher Power. I am grateful for this continuing gainful employment that has enabled me to provide financially for myself and my now-grown children. I am exceedingly mindful that this anniversary might not have come to pass were it not for program.

Looking back, it was in an OA Step Study meeting where I learned of my propensity for “big shot-ism” and saw how I used my employment circumstances as a stage to act out that character defect. Today, I am more inclined to ask HP for guidance in making me more of a “trusted servant” at work. Before program, I’d never fared well working in teams; I’d wanted to take all the credit and do as little work as I could get away with. Today, I can be a contented worker among many, no more and no less important than others.

Program, most notably using the Twelve Traditions, continues to keep me on an even keel. When I’m at odds with a fellow worker or experience dis-ease with a company policy, or even a challenging customer, I’m immediately reminded of our First Tradition: “Our common welfare should come first.” This puts me back in touch with the concepts of being common, being in common with others, and taking into consideration our common welfare, which helps me keep my ego in check, since “common welfare” seldom means “me being right about something at all costs.”

Tradition Nine reminds me that I am directly responsible to the many I serve, including my supervisor, coworkers, and customers. Applying this Tradition in my workplace reminds me I am a grownup, interconnected with others, and my behavior or non-behavior has a ripple effect on those around me. I no longer live in a vacuum in my own head, only looking out for my perceived number one (me).

Tradition Ten is one of my most favorite go-tos during my workday. I need not have any opinion on what is going on in other departments or at coworkers’ desks, unless it directly impacts how my corporate employer fulfills its mission statement. At my workplace, politics, religion, diets, company gossip, and character assassinating discussions are outside issues. I no longer feel a need to express an opinion when I’m on the job.

During one troubled time I was experiencing, a loving OA fellow gently pointed out that my many workplace struggles might have arisen from me making my employer my higher power. This was true, but I was blind to it at the time. Coming to see this truth and looking at how I could bring my recovery-self to my employee self was the beginning of my healing.

Most importantly, I’ve learned to follow Step Twelve’s suggestion to put “principles before personalities.” I’ve cultivated new friends and ideas by being willing to really apply our OA policies of diversity and inclusion. Today, I have coworkers and customers who I count as true gifts. I may have little in common with them, but because of program, I find places of authentic connection with almost everyone in my work life. Over and over, I’m shown to pay attention to similarities with others. My work relationships today are much richer and deeper for this change in me, thanks to OA.

Like all of us, I can slip and slide. I have days when I experience disharmony in my work environment, but my program means I don’t have to stay stuck in places of discord any longer than it takes for me to reconnect to OA’s tools for living in the solution.

— Susan H., Altamonte Springs, Florida USA

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