Home Traditions Tradition 11: Attractive Anonymity

Tradition 11: Attractive Anonymity

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Living in a small town, I found it difficult to maintain anonymity. At first, I did not want anyone to know I was a member of OA. My meeting took place in the church I attended, so I felt somewhat uncomfortable. Later, I helped the members find another meeting space.

Then there was the challenge of finding ways to attract others to the meeting. Another member and I contacted the local newspaper and found a reporter willing to interview us without using our real names. The article she wrote gave personal accounts in detail and included basic information about OA and the local meeting location. We were very pleased with the result, and it did attract some new members.

I was surprised when an OA member told a nonmember about my ties to OA. First of all, I did not like having my OA membership disclosed. But worse, the nonmember insisted I tell her more about the meeting.

“You are in charge of OA,” she said.

I was in her house where she was entertaining other women and the conversation was causing others to wonder what I was doing. I wanted to be sure they did not misunderstand and believe me to be an expert who made all the OA decisions. Fortunately, another woman suggested we talk about it later.

When I attended my next OA meeting, another member made an amends, saying it was she who had told the hostess about my OA membership. The meetings continued without any other embarrassment, but it made me see that anonymity is vital to our recovery.

Overeaters Anonymous has changed my life, and I continue to use the media for attraction without sharing personal information. I want to let others know about special events like Unity Day or a Tradition workshop. I can stay anonymous, and that brings a sense of humility.

Our meetings are still going after thirty years, and I have maintained my anonymity along with my serenity. There are people who have never seen me with the 60 pounds (27 kg) of added weight that I carried in 1985. When I choose to share my OA membership, people say, “You don’t look like you need to be in OA.” I reply, “I have stayed in the meetings so I can continue to know recovery.”

I can be an attraction because I remember how anonymity works.

— Anonymous, Oregon USA

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