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Care-Full Driver

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When I was getting ready to learn to drive, my father wouldn’t sign my driver’s ed voucher until I wrote a paragraph on responsibility. Being a typical 15-year-old, I waited until the last minute because I thought the idea was dumb and naively believed he would relent. He did not—he wanted me to understand the gravity of driving safely and responsibly.

Now, more than forty years later (having written that paragraph and carried on driving), I also see how my handling of responsibility has changed from when I was eating compulsively.

When I was in the food, I’d take responsibility when it wasn’t mine to assume. I’d jump in unasked and assert what I thought should be done. Other times, I shirked it and used humor or fake-friendly appeal so people wouldn’t dislike me when I didn’t follow through.

After twelve years of abstinence, releasing 130 pounds (59 kg), and working our Steps, I’ve been given an amazing gift: renewed responsibility to share this miracle with people around the world. I am humbled by the blessings that drift into my life due to this ongoing involvement.

I learned early that my primary focus must be to extend the hand and heart of our incredible program by carrying a message of recovery. This is the scope of the Responsibility Pledge, which I add to my action plan. It is my duty to integrate recovery into my life as a daily practice. I know that just being abstinent isn’t enough for me or OA, so I incorporate responsible actions in these areas:

Physical. I maintain a healthy body weight; eat abstinently, alone or in public; and share what has worked for me. I get off my chair and talk to members, newcomers, and longtimers. I call people and participate as a volunteer at events. I carry my “before” pictures and Fifteen Questions with me and show them whenever I meet someone on a plane or whenever I have the opportunity.

Emotional. I talk to my sponsor and fellows and pass on growth to my sponsees. This requires me to be patient, loving, and kind. Since others look to me to see a recovery lifestyle, I approach all interactions with thoughtfulness and respect.

Spiritual. I journal, meditate, and pray on a daily basis, reminding myself I’m not in charge. When I have spiritual health, I am an effective steward of OA. I want OA to be around for friends and family long after I’m gone, therefore, I need to actively share the message that life is great when lived in fit spiritual condition.

As I do when I drive responsibly, I interact with precious cargo in this program called life in recovery.

— Meg M., Minnesota USA

Editor’s Note: OA’s 2016 Strategic Plan includes a focus on the Responsibility Pledge. Region chairs and members of the Board of Trustees are contributing one article per issue on this theme.

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