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Simple and Wonderful

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For me, some of the hardest people to be comfortable with are members of my family of origin. I’m the only one who’s in a Twelve Step program, and sometimes when I’m with them, I feel like I’m in another world—yes, the world I had lived in too, until six years ago when I found my way back to the OA rooms after a thirty-plus year relapse. Oh, how I just love my new OA world!

I have a wonderful husband of forty-five years, two daughters in their 40s and their husbands, and five magnificent grandchildren ages 7 to 12. I am blessed beyond belief, but among the adults, there seems to be a tension, and we don’t always get along as well as we should.

Last year, my husband and I gifted everyone a day of zip-lining. It was something none of us had done before, so there were certainly some quizzical faces when it was suggested that the eleven of us, ranging in age from 7 to 72, attempt such a feat. I was also a bit apprehensive because my daughters were not on the best terms and I have sometimes tenuous and tedious mother/daughter relationships with them myself, but nonetheless, we agreed we would all go.

Before the trip, I told my sponsor how I was feeling, and she gave me some of the best advice. She told me to go zip-lining with my beautiful family and treat each of them just as I would a fellow OA member.

I had never thought to do that. For years, I’d always said how much more comfortable I was with my OA family than with my family of origin, but it never occurred to me to treat my immediate family like I do my OA family.

When we headed for the park, I traveled with a whole new attitude. Everything went great, and all of us had the time of our lives together. There was no tension, no judging, no bad words—just fun, fun, fun. It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized not only how my attitude had a lot to do with it but also how what I had learned in OA played such a big part.

In Step Seven, we learn that “Humility . . . places us neither above nor below other people on some imagined ladder of worth. It places us exactly where we belong, on an equal footing with our fellow beings and in harmony with God” (The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, p. 52). That’s exactly where we were at the start of our zip-lining adventure. We were all beginners: The 7-year-old was on the same rung as the 72-year-old. We all began in the same introduction class, moved out to the practice course, and tried the beginner level together. And yes, we had a real unity, just like Tradition One, as we helped each other put what we had learned into action. We stuck together like glue and depended on each other for the help and support we all needed!

As the day progressed, we each began to see our individual capabilities. Reasonable boundaries developed, which is something else our program teaches us how to do. I enjoyed the beginner and intermediate courses along with my daughters and youngest grandchildren. Others went off to the advanced and expert courses. My husband and one son-in-law discovered that the park bench would be a better place for them. We all found what was good for us individually and enjoyed doing that. We were also accepting of each other’s boundaries and respected them—yet another thing we learn in our magnificent program.

The trip showed me that what we are taught in OA can be applied to a day together with my family. The love I felt and gave that day was the same love I feel and give when I am in the rooms. It was unconditional, respectful, and sincere. I am so glad my sponsor gave me that simple yet vital piece of advice. Zippity doo dah! What a wonderful day it was!

— Terry G., Newburgh, NY USA

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