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So Much More

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Tradition Seven: Every OA group ought to be fully self supporting, declining outside contributions.

Our Seventh Tradition has been an important one for me.

For years, I put $1 in my meeting’s basket if I could afford it. Honestly, there were times when even that was a stretch, like when I was going to college at age 40, living on loans and grants, with two children, rent, car payments, and insurance. I knew I was receiving way more than the dollar bill I was able to put into the basket at meetings, but it was the best I could do at the time. I didn’t know how OA could survive on a mere $1, but to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention to OA’s financial affairs because I was having such a difficult time with my own.

As the years passed and my recovery deepened, my financial affairs started to get better. I still put $1 in the basket because I thought that was what was expected. I was going to several meetings a week, so I thought I contributed enough.

Then came my own personal awakening, and my HP woke me up gently. At first, I became aware that getting change from the basket was a problem: I’d have twenty-dollar bills in my wallet, and one of my meetings was small. There weren’t enough people putting in one-dollar bills for me to get back nineteen. I thought, at first, this was a problem to be solved somehow. But then I started hearing during our meetings’ openings an added phrase about Seventh Tradition contributions: “a suggested contribution of three dollars or more if you can afford it.” I was now at a place where I could afford it, but that didn’t really solve my problem of getting change for twenty-dollar bills. Finally, my HP led me to see that if I put a twenty-dollar bill in the basket once a month, and didn’t take out any change, then I was contributing $5 per week to that meeting. I chose to do this at the first meeting of the month, so I could keep track of when to put another twenty-dollar bill in, and this is my practice today.

Sometimes I worry that others don’t know I give $20 at the beginning of the month and just see me pass the basket during the other three weeks. But that’s not what’s important. It’s important to me to continue to financially support the program that has helped me and many others so much. I want OA to be here for a long time. Not just for me, but for the newcomer who doesn’t yet know there is hope and a solution that works.

It’s funny: even after all these years, I still feel that I get back so much more value than the dollar amount I contribute.

— Laurie S., Monterey, California USA

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