Hi, my name is Anylength, I am a compulsive overeater and very pleased that so many of you have embraced this workshop and are sharing your experience, strength and hope with us.
Again for those of you who have only recently joined this workshop – we are glad to have you with us. If you want to read the previous postings of this workshop please go to the following website:
If there is such a thing as a “favourite”, Tradition 10 would
have to be one of mine. To keep the OA name out of public controversy, to keep opinions on outside issues where they belong – outside the rooms of OA - is one of the saving graces of our fellowship and is also is very important to my recovery.
There are really two parts to this Tradition, both ensuring that
we can go to an OA meeting and can leave with our a serenity restored and our minds “stilled” in a safe environment.
The first is that “OA has no opinion on outside issues”. This means that no matter how disturbing the news outside whether they be the results of a well publicized murder trial, or the newest diets gadgets, or other fellowships, political parties or religious organisations, or our newest hobbies and latest travel plans, or the names of books we just read or their authors, these things have no place in OA.
As soon as I bring these into OA I am not at risk of not only breaking the 6th Tradition by implying an endorsement of outside issues but also of Tradition 5 as I would be “watering down” our OA message of recovery. But most disturbing to the newcomer might well be that an opinion voiced in a share at the meeting might be understood as being the opinion of Overeaters Anonymous as a whole. And if the newcomer doesn’t agree with this opinion they might well decide not to return to and organisation who “seems to believe” in certain doctrines and opinions contrary to those the newcomer believes in. If this happens the original “voicing” of an opinion on outside issues has actually the power to kill as it robbed a newcomer of the chance to recover.
The other part of the 10th Tradition that “the OA name ought never been drawn into public controversy” is equally important. Not only do we not have opinions on outside issues but we do not want the OA name drawn into any controversial issues, especially at the public level.
An instance in my local area is well worth mentioning here.
An article about eating disorders had been printed in a newspaper and for whatever reason OA got an unfavourable mention. The article was not factually incorrect but OA didn’t rate very highly in the esteem of the journalist.
Many members came to the next Intergroup (IG) meeting and demanded that they do something about it.
There was a heated discussion where members got to vent their anger of OA having been given a hard time in the article. The Serenity Prayer had to be said a couple of times to calm things down.
Then an old timer suggested we look at Tradition 10. The person pointed out that if IG was to write a letter back to the paper to demand an apology we would be drawing the OA name into a public controversy and that it would ultimately only do more harm to our fellowship.
With annoyance still written on some of the faces we bowed to the wisdom of the Traditions and left the matter alone.
What I learned from that instance was that I don’t always have to have the last word and that I can be humble enough not to engage in fighting the rest of the world on every matter that upsets me.
It was a real lesson in humility.
OA’s 10th Tradition has also been a safe haven for my at times of extreme stress in the outside world.
It has been a wonderful peaceful place to come to when the world outside appears to be going “mad”.
Thank you for letting me share,
1. Do I ever voice strong opinions on outside issues at OA meetings?
2. Do I insist or “hint” that my ideas are representative of OA as a whole?
3. Do I ridicule outside organisations, i.e. religions or other weight loss treatments by naming them and commenting badly on their practices?
4. Am I willing to help those in OA whose beliefs and ideas differ very much from mine?
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