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Correcting and Cross Talk

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Despite six years of OA and maintaining a 90-pound (41-kg) weight loss, I still sometimes feel attacked in OA.

This was the case recently at a meeting where we read from OA literature and then opened the floor for sharing. As I began to read, someone interrupted with a loud demand: “What’s your name?!”

I stumbled for a few seconds and luckily managed to stifle my first impulse to call the member stupid and rude. Instead, I gave my name and continued reading.

During the discussion that followed, I pointed out that we read at the first of the meeting about not cross talking, and we describe it partly as interrupting when someone else is speaking.

I rarely give my name when I am reading what someone else has written. It seems humbler to let the writer’s words stand on their own. If I give my name, then it feels like I am claiming authorship.

When I thought about it later, I realized I had felt like I was under attack. I began to consider how I would have reacted if I’d not had the experience of working the Steps. I am certain I would have left in tears, feeling humiliated, maybe even saying the words that I refrained from using. I would have gorged on comfort food and never returned to OA.

I hope we learn never to attack and humiliate each other, but maybe to quietly ask, “What’s your name?” after the reading has passed if we really want to know. Or, if we already know who they are, to simply let it go, knowing that with time, they will learn by our example, without the need to “correct” them.

— Ann M.

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