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Healthy Program Boundaries

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The Tenth Tradition, like so many other Traditions, keeps OA meetings focused on the OA message of recovery through the Steps, Traditions, and Tools. It sets a healthy boundary as to what is appropriate to say in a program setting and discourages digression into outside issues.

I’ve learned about setting healthy program boundaries by seeing the Traditions in action at meetings. I try to keep the program message clear when I speak, whether it is during meetings, in casual conversation before or after the meeting, or on the phone. If I mention a personal issue that I might eat over, I make sure my share includes how I use OA Principles to deal with the problem. What I might say casually off topic could give someone an excuse to stay away from the rooms or divert them to the latest diet, exercise plan, or spiritual quest—all of which failed to help me become and remain abstinent over time.

The boundaries that I’ve learned about in the rooms have helped me experiment with setting healthy boundaries in all parts of my life. I have seen that unnecessary controversy robs me of my peace of mind and separates me from the people with whom I am trying to build relationships. But I have to be careful not to use this Tradition as an excuse to avoid sharing my opinion, especially when my Higher Power lets me know that it’s important for me to do so. Stuffing down my feelings is something that will eventually take me back to stuffing it all down with the food.

— Anonymous

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