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Principle Practice

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“We must remember that serenity and humility come with acceptance” (Voices of Recovery, p. 282). Sometimes I have to ask myself: What am I not accepting? The fear that I am not good enough? For whom? You? Them? Me? God?

Nothing makes my life seem out of control faster than a B.I.N.G.E.—Believing I’m Not Good Enough. So I don’t even have to binge on food. I can binge on negative self-talk, self-pity, worry over my to-do list, resentments, or expectations (and an expectation is only a resentment waiting to be born). I can go on and on— after all, isn’t that what a binge is?

Step Twelve teaches me to “practice these principles in all our affairs” to the best of my ability with God’s help. So I looked on the OA website at our list of forty-two spiritual Principles: twelve for the Steps, twelve for the Traditions, and eighteen for the Concepts. For instance, when I consider the Fourth Tradition’s Principle of autonomy, I understand that my actions (and inactions) influence those around me. Just as my compulsive eating impacted my loved ones, so too does my recovery. As in all things OA, it is not just about me anymore.

I noticed something: Humility is listed twice as a spiritual Principle—so it must be important! Unity, trust, and responsibility are also listed twice. Coincidence? I think not.

And then I saw it: When I H.U.R.T., I am reminded to turn to Humility, Unity, Responsibility, and Trust. In other words—service. When I am feeling sorry for myself, or hurting for some other reason, the quickest way to feel better is to do something for someone else. It can be as simple as getting to a meeting, setting up chairs, or making a phone call; or as scary as speaking in front of a room full of people. All I know is that doing service helps keep me abstinent.

— Lyn C., Massachusetts USA

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