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Being Human

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Tradition Twelve brings the concept of equality to my mind. I hear that members of Twelve Step programs come from everywhere— from Park Avenue to the park bench.

No one is more important than anyone else, and our outside status is of no consequence. A program member can recover despite his or her race, religion, or financial status. We exclude no one.

The idea of equality helped me. I used to spend a lot of time comparing myself to others and usually losing. I compared my importance, financial status, and past history of addiction to those of others. It took a long time before I believed I am equal to others. I think one of the reasons this happened is because I heard the Twelfth Tradition over and over at meetings.

Tradition Twelve also reminds me that OA is spiritual, and I seem to need constant reminders of things important to my well-being. This program differs from the diets I followed because I rely on a Higher Power instead of willpower to keep me sane about my food and body size.

The subject of placing principles before personalities is also inherent in Tradition Twelve. This state of mind keeps my anger, judgment, and controlling nature in place. It also protects the survival of the Fellowship.

I am not in OA because I am completely well; I wouldn’t be at meetings if I were. I believe I am a spiritual being having a complex and difficult human experience. Since this is probably true for everyone else as well, I must learn to allow others and myself the opportunity to grow, change, make mistakes, have successes, sometimes act elegantly, and sometimes be a mess. I think part of the meaning of Tradition Twelve is allowing ourselves to be human.

— Edited and reprinted from Calling newsletter, South Central Pennsylvania Intergroup, June 2007

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