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Recovery through Divorce

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My ex-husband and I divorced about five and a half years into my recovery. It was a painful process, but the Tools and Traditions of the OA program sustained me in a variety of ways:

Service. Initially, I served as convention treasurer to give me a focus on something other than the divorce.

Sponsorship and telephone. I relied more on my sponsor to keep me sane and continued working with my sponsees.

Plan of eating. I continued to follow my plan of eating.

Anonymity. I did not speak about the divorce until my adult kids had gotten the same message at the same time. I insisted that my husband and I not tell them the reasons for the divorce so they would not be put in a position to take sides.

Tradition One. I honored unity of my family and our marriage by giving my exhusband as much of a voice in the matter as me and not taking advantage of him.

Tradition Two. I continued my conscious contact with my HP as a way to protect all parties in the process.

Tradition Three. A rewording helped: “The only requirement for this divorce is that both parties agree on all decisions.”

Tradition Four. The idea of autonomy helped me decide what things I wanted and communicate that I needed him to decide the things he wanted before we made any decisions.

Tradition Five. Our primary purpose was to divorce in a sane way that did not hurt anyone. When it was final, we toasted one another using our wedding glasses.

Tradition Seven. I considered that self-support should apply to both of us. To this end, we used one lawyer, which I had saved up for, and together we paid off the loan on his car so that both of us could enter the divorce debt-free. I also supported myself mentally and emotionally by staying in the day, doing only what I could for that day, and turning my attention to something else if needed.

Tradition Twelve. Whenever possible, I placed principles before my husband’s personality.

I also relied on the Twelve Steps as I walked this journey. I understood that I was powerless over what my husband said or did. I relied on my Higher Power, sometimes in the form of my sponsor, in this process. I was watchful of my words and actions and never responded to something unless I was clear about what I wanted to say. When he criticized me for using our money to pay for my divorce, I said I understood how he might think that, and I calmly explained that I had saved up our money to pay for our legal costs. Each morning, when I did my program work, I sought HP’s guidance in whatever situation I was dealing with. And now, I can use this experience of divorce to carry the message of recovery.

— A.P.R., Brooklyn Center, Minnesota USA

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