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Meetings are Multipliers

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My first few OA meetings were like stepping into another world. The meetings I attended began with members reading the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. At first, this made no sense to me. I spent my first meeting scanning the crowd while someone read the Steps. Funny, I had no idea someone was reading the keys to my recovery.

By my fourth or fifth meeting, I was asked to read one of the handouts. It was a rite of passage. I was being offered a doable service position, though I didn’t yet know about the Tool of service. What I knew was that I was participating in the group’s routine. If I could accomplish this simple task without too much trouble, perhaps I could eventually work toward the serenity the other members seemed to have. Now, years into my recovery, I cherish the readings of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. I sometimes close my eyes and recite the words in my mind along with the reader. The recitation helps me focus on my reason for showing up.

Just by attending a meeting, I’m practicing Steps One, Two, Three, and Twelve. I admit I am powerless (Step One) by getting out of my daily life and into a room with other Twelve Steppers. I affirm my belief that a Power greater than me can help (Step Two) by sitting my body in a meeting chair. I hand my will and life over to my Higher Power (Step Three) by having an open mind and open heart during our meeting. I work Step Twelve by being present at the meeting. My shares about using the Tools and working the Steps help others remember there is a solution. My 67 pounds (30 kg) of physical recovery is proof this program works. My quiet listening when someone else shares helps that member feel less alone.

A sponsee once asked me why we read the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions at every meeting, which is a good question that probably has many valid answers. The response I gave was, “For years, I recited the mantra ‘Food will make this better.’ Reciting the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions helps me learn a new mantra: ‘My Higher Power will make it better.’ Using the Steps, Tools, and Traditions is a way of life I need help remembering. Reading them at the start of every meeting gives me a gentle reminder and helps the newcomer begin to understand the mystery of our recovery.”

May all who read this be blessed with the beauty of recovery.

— Elizabeth B., Santa Ana, California USA

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