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Guided Out of Isolation

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Tradition One: Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon OA unity.

I love how The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous reflects on Tradition One and talks about our isolation in the disease (pp. 109–117). I remember, about eight years ago, being surrounded by my loving friends and family but feeling completely miserable. I was a social butterfly, but it was because I was always looking for an escape. Isolation was my end goal. All I wanted to do was be by myself and eat.

This Tradition shows us that, above all else, we get our abstinence and peace when we surround ourselves with our people. I remember coming into the rooms and wishing I could get the peace and happiness that others seemed to have. I finally found myself in a safe spot, one where others shared with me about their experiences with isolation. They spoke my language and were just like me.

It was a relief, yet terrifying at the same time. The jig was up, but I felt I could finally change.

This was all made possible because of our Traditions. I was able to see both the program and the recovery because my meeting was structured and focused on the solution. There were guidelines for sharing and specific topics for the meeting. If there was a problem with the format, or any other problem within the group, it would be brought up at the group business meeting. These factors allowed me to feel comfortable and share openly, and recovery was easier with the guidelines that were set in place.

Thank God I was lucky enough to get into this program with everything in place for me to succeed. All that was left for me to do was to fully surrender and work the Steps with my sponsor. Thanks to HP, I have been doing just that, successfully, for eight years now. Thank you, OA.

— Edited and reprinted from OA Today newsletter, St. Louis Bi-State Intergroup, January 2017

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