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


A WORKSHOP FOR THE 12 TRADITIONS
October 16th October 26th

Share and Questions ~ Tradition Twelve

"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all these traditions,
ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."



Hello everyone, my name is Athena and I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater. Tradition 12 for me is one of the most important of our Traditions because annonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program. Anonymity brought me into the rooms in December 1980, along with desperation. Anonymity enabled my trust in other OA members to respect and keep that anonymity. That, in turn, allowed me to tell my story honestly and completely, for the first time, and to continue to share my experience, strength, and hope every new day.

This Tradition gives me the say in who I tell I am a member of OA. It ensures that "what we say here, who we see here, let it stay here." It also means each of us can let go of who we are and what we carry with us, and we can begin to see ourselves each as one among many. We can let go of feeling we are or must be superior, that we must compete with anyone else, and also that we are not the worst person around either -- all attitudes I know I've had at one time or another.

As one among many, I have dropped the pretense of not being able to learn from someone because they are younger or seem to be more or less than I am in some way. There is always something I can learn from everyone in the room, on the loop. We're all on equal footing. We don't have to worry about whether we're employed or unemployed, if we are accomplished, tall, short, male, female, at goal weight, bulimic, anorexic, binge eating, or some other designation. How much money we have, how smart we are, whether we're retired or working, married or single, have children or not -- none of this matters. Our common bond of compulsive overeating brings us here and that is what matters.

Tradition 12 reads:

"Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all these traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities."

It's important to remember that anonymity does not mean we can't use our full names in our group, online or face to face, or in OA service positions. It is up to us whether we decide to do that or not. We can also mention a person's first name when talking with someone else, if we haven't seen that person in awhile and are concerned for their well-being. We don't, though, discuss any personal information about them in such a conversation.

Openeing up to others in the trust of anonymity can be a deepening and enriching experience. When I share honestly what's going on in my life or my head, I feel a relief in having shared, and also a joy, because what I say is accepted and not repeated outside the rooms. Sharing at a deep level also means I can listen better to what others are saying, whether in OA or TRG meetings in TRG loops, or outside the rooms in the rest of my life. I have found myself being a more authentic, realized human being wherever I go. OA and anonymity give me that foundation.

If I am in a meeting with people there for the first time, who may not be familiar with the 12th Tradition, I may choose to reserve parts of what I would say to share with my sponsor and not talk about it in the group. It is important for each individual group to let the new members know about anonymity right away. In the face to face groups I attend, the program literature we read includes a statement about anonymity. In TRG, people are also informed of this principle.

Another learning from this Tradition is that we can benefit from the experience, strength, and hope of people we don't especially like or feel close to. Because we emphasize principles not personalities, we may find the very person we don't feel close to has just the nugget we need at that time, at a ftf or TRG online meeting or on a TRG loop. I particularly like the words from program literature: "you may not like all of us but you will come to love each of us in a very special way, the same way we already love you." A happy discovery for me is that this attitude, born in the OA rooms, has come to be my attitude in general about each person I meet. There is always something I can learn from them, and we are all equal in the sight of the Higher Power.

THE QUESTIONS:

1. How does my group, online or face to face, let newcomers know about anonymity in OA and TRG?

The face to face meetings I attend include statements about anonymity in what we read. In TRG we have the Traditions posted on the website and they are also referred to in other ways on the loops and in the meetings.

2. Do I repeat anything personal about another OA member outside the rooms?

The only time this happens is when I talk in confidence with my sponsor about someone who I have strong negative feelings about, and this is rare. I don't refer to the person by name and the emphasis is on my feelings not personal data about the other person.

3. Does my group value the group conscience or are we swayed by the views of one or more strong-minded members?

Sometimes I think we old-timers are listened to more than we should be necessarily, because we've been around so long. I am willing to do more about asking newer members if they have opinions on the particular topics being discussed.

4. How do I view anonymity in the program and in my own life?

For me, as I've stated, anonymity is incredibly important in program. Without it, I don't think program could truly function in any meaningful way. In the rest of my life, anonymity gets translated into my being more honest and open and direct in my relationships with all other people.

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

Thank you,

Athena


THE QUESTIONS

1. How does my group, online or face to face, let newcomers know about anonymity in OA?

2. Do I repeat anything personal about another OA member outside the rooms?

3. Does my group value the group conscience or are we swayed by the views of one or more strong-minded members?

4. How do I view anonymity in the program and in my own life?








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