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Invaluable Tool

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OA’s Strong Abstinence Checklist and Writing Exercise is a small, trifold wallet card. My OA group ordered some and distributed them in an abstinence workshop we conducted last summer. It was a handout for participants to take home.

Well, about a month after our workshop, I really examined it, and I now find it an invaluable tool to help me work my program. I journal the writing exercises and talk about them with my sponsor. Sometimes only one question from the card gives me enough to write and share about for clarity with my own abstinence.

I have used the card when chairing a meeting. I ask each attendee to choose a question from the writing exercises and write about it during the meeting. Some choose to share what they write.

When an OA member asked me to be her sponsor and asked if we could start working together on abstinence, I suggested using this card. My sponsee wrote out her answers and sent them to me by email. She found that writing her responses and talking about them with me was helpful, and so did I.

I take out the Strong Abstinence Checklist and Writing Exercise wallet card at different times, but especially when I anticipate situations that challenge my willingness and ability to follow my plan of eating and exercise routine. The card helps me invite my Higher Power into my abstinence so I do not try to run on self-will. Picking up the card starts my Steps One, Two, and Three. The writing exercises make a real difference because when I write out specific answers to the questions, my answers give me clarity. I see where I am making progress in my program, and I see where self-will can creep in and sabotage me. I see character defects cropping up, and I become aware of what footwork I need to do to keep my abstinence.

— Mary Beth S.

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