“I really believe that the solution to most of the problems that confront us today is to be found in growth, individually and as a whole. There will always be some who think that since a particular thing has worked for them, it is the ONLY way. Taking into account the personality that most of us had when we began, this is not too surprising. As long as our unity is based only on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, and each of us practice them to the best of our ability, differences and controversies will be handled by our Higher Power” (Beyond Our Wildest Dreams, p. 155).
Almost sixteen years after my first meeting, I read the history of OA in Beyond Our Wildest Dreams. The book had been sitting on my shelf ever since I won a basket of literature many years ago. I don’t know why I didn’t read it before, but now I am grateful to understand how this program came to be and how it evolved during its early years.
After a discussion at Conference about eating plans, OA’s first board chair, A.G., wrote a letter to the other trustees, from which the quote above is taken. Conference discussions were sometimes heated; there were strong opinions about whether OA should produce and impose a definitive eating plan. As I read about the opposing views, I felt fear, hope, anxiety, and faith. When I came to A.G.’s letter, I felt relief. I realized OA doesn’t answer to any one member, group, or eating plan. OA answers only to the collective Fellowship through a group conscience.
I plan to share the relief I feel with as many people as I can. I want others to have faith that no matter the disagreement, together we will find an agreed-upon outcome by practicing the Principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
Perhaps I was not meant to read Beyond Our Wildest Dreams until now. You see, I am the person A.G. describes. When I first got abstinent, I believed OA members not using a food plan like mine were not abstinent. Members who were not working the Steps the way I was were just “dry drunks.” It took many years to open my mind to the possibility that someone may work the program differently and still be abstinent.
The gratitude I feel for our founders and original OA members, and for all members who have sacriced their time to serve OA, is beyond description.
I ask simply this: As you serve one another, practice the Principles, and evolve in your opinions, please consider A.G.’s statement. Remember no one person has all the answers for this lifesaving program. If we don’t respect, accept, and understand each other, we will divide and die. I pray that we can stay united, no matter what!
~ Jessica M., Shillington, Pennsylvania USA