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Suggestions for Tradition Five

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Tradition Five: Each group has but one primary purpose— to carry its message to the compulsive overeater who still suffers.

Tradition Five is clearly stated. It’s the follow-up question that’s important: how are we supposed to do that?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Attend meetings regularly and participate by sharing and helping out when you can.
  • Read OA literature and the AA Big Book regularly.
  • Obtain a sponsor or sharing partner as soon as possible.
  • Identify your trigger foods and develop a plan of eating that includes foods you’re supposed to eat in the right portions.
  • Abstain from those trigger foods. This means keep away from your trigger foods, one day at a time.
  • Pray often during the day and on a regular basis while developing a personal relationship with your Higher Power.
  • Work the Twelve Steps in order and with the help of your sponsor as quickly as you can.
  • Reinforce awareness of Steps One, Two, and Three regularly.
  • Be aware of your gifts from your HP and express gratitude regularly.
  • Make several outreach calls weekly, sharing your progress and showing concern for other members.
  • When you and your sponsor agree, share your progress with a newcomer seeking help by offering to sponsor someone.
  • Continue to apply the Steps, Traditions, and Principles of the program to your life and relationships, discussing your progress with your sponsor regularly.
  • Realize and accept the fact that your body’s allergy to your trigger foods will be with you for your lifetime, but the obsession of the mind will be quieted if you “keep in fit spiritual condition” (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 85).

The word “regularly” recurs throughout this list of suggestions. It appears that new habits are necessary to foster recovery and grow in it! The bottom line is that we “don’t simply carry the message, we are the message” (The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, pp. 86–87). Enjoy the promises of each Step and smile as you get better.

— Edited and reprinted from The Butterflyer newsletter, Chicago Western Intergroup, July 2017


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