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Emotion Manager

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I am a compulsive overeater and powerless over sugar. It’s embarrassing to admit that publicly because many people laugh when they hear it. But I joined OA twenty-four years ago, and I’m recovering one day at a time. Physical recovery is happening slowly but surely. Where I’ve really seen progress in my life is in my emotional recovery.

Working the Twelve Steps has changed my life. I am a manager at a major company. Recently, I was calling most of my group to a brainstorming session about a new system under development. I have employees who report directly to me, and one of these is a supervisor who also has direct reports. One of that supervisor’s direct reports—let’s call her “Christy”—does administrative work that has nothing to do with the new system, so I walked over to her and said, “You don’t need to attend the meeting.” Then I went to the conference room. We had our one-hour brainstorming meeting, and everyone went back to their cubicles to work on their various projects.

A short time later, that supervisor came to me and said, “Ann, do you realize what you did? Christy thought you were getting ready to fire her, that we were meeting to discuss how we would redistribute her work. She is cleaning out her cubicle now.”

I was horrified! I immediately walked over to Christy’s cubicle. In “cubicle land,” conversations are not very private, but I said, “I am so sorry. I made the assumption that you would have no interest in the new documentation system.” (She agreed.) “But I should have given you the chance to decide that for yourself, and I should not have made that decision for you. Please forgive me. I will not do that again.” She was relieved and forgave me.

I thought back to how I would have handled this miscommunication before my recovery. I would have listened to that supervisor, nodded my head, and not gone to Christy. I would’ve hoped the supervisor would take care of it and avoided their eyes for at least a week, while acting nice and hoping my mistake would be soon forgotten. It was working the Tenth Step, and living the part that says, “when we were wrong, promptly admitted it,” that provided this change in my life, and also gained me the respect of my coworkers.

— Ann S., Indianapolis, Indiana USA

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