This 10 Day Workshop was held at The Recovery Group on October 16, 2006.

October 16th – October 26th

Share and Questions ~ Tradition 1

“Our common welfare should come first;
personal recovery depends on OA unity.”

Hi everyone, my name is Anylength and I am a compulsive overeater. I have been in Overeaters Anonymous (OA) since May 2nd 1990 and have been abstinent since October 21st 1990. I am maintaining a 70 pound weight loss and am at a normal weight.

I have a great passion and gratitude for OA and have always been involved in giving service. I have held every service position at the group level and have served 13 years at the Intergroup level, 2 years at the Region level and 1 year at the WSBC (World Service Business Conference).

I have learned that the 12 Traditions are not only our saving grace but a wonderful set of principles for my daily life. Not only keeping me well on my recovery path and my “sticky fingers” out of what is really “God’s business”, but also safe guarding our fellowship from harm and providing a safe recovery environment for all our members.

The 1st Tradition reads: “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on OA unity.”

Addicts of any kind are usually running on self will. The AA Big Book talks about the selfishness-self-centeredness of the alcoholic. This coupled with with feelings of “grandiosity” alternating with those of “utter worthlessness” that often accompany our disease makes for a bunch of people who are not best equipped to run a recovery organisation. Even Bill W. realized the importance of Unity to the budding fellowship of AA when he wrote “We had to Unify our Fellowship or pass off the scene.” p. xix

To appreciate any Tradition to the fullest it is often helpful for me to imagine how the fellowship would be if the Tradition didn’t exist. To me a fellowship without unity would be full of discontented members who would not agree on the simplest ideas. There would be factions who would advocate one thing fighting against the members of the other factions who advocate something different. Name calling, criticism and character assassination would be a daily event. And no two groups could really ever agree on whether to use the 12 Steps or not or whether to re-write them to suit their wishes. A fellowship without unity would not be helpful to anyones recovery as the stress it causes would only drive the compulsive eater back to the food.


Do I or have I contributed to disunity among the fellowship?
What could I have done instead?

A unified Fellowship on the other hand would have a clear idea as to what their recovery method would be, i.e. the 12 Steps. And would work toward achieving and maintaining a pleasant environment which furthers recovery and eliminates bad feelings. The kind of environment in which recovery can flourish and members can work together to have safe workshops and recovery meetings, grow emotionally and spiritually and be abstinent. Therefore the personal recovery of the individual depends upon the Unity of the fellowship.

How can I as an individual member support the Unity within OA?

I can support my OA service structure by taking an active part in the group conscious decisions.

I can refrain from gossiping about decisions I didn’t agree with.

I can pray for acceptance.

I can give each member the same treatment regardless of dislikes or prejudices.

I can attend events put on by service bodies to show my support.

I can take my “mess” to my sponsor and my recovery message to the meetings. I can reach out to other members who need support.

How could you contribute to the Unity of OA?

As the 12th step of OA asks us: “ … to practice these principles in all our affairs.” I have taken to incorporating the 12 Traditions into my home life as well. The 1st Tradition translated into my own “home life tradition”. would read: “Our common welfare should come first; personal health and happiness depends on family unity.”

I can easily see how this is the opposite to how I lived my life in addiction, when all I was concerned about was whether there was enough food in the house and when the “others” would finally do as I said and leave me to my eating.

Now I am more considerate of the needs of my family members. When deciding what I want to do I take their wishes and needs into account. I am less likely to tell them how to live their lives, I stay out of fights between other members of my family affirming to both parties that their quarrels have nothing to do with my feelings for either of them and that I will not take sides but will do my best to help them find a solution to their difficulties.

In what ways can you work the 1st Tradition in your home life?

I encourage you to answer the bold typed questions and send these answers to the workshop and/or share them with your sponsor.

Thank you for letting me share.



1. Do I or have I contributed to disunity among the fellowship?

2. What could I have done instead?

3. How could you contribute to the Unity of OA?

4. In what ways can you work the 1st Tradition in your home life?

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