August 13, 2021
Tradition Four: Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or OA as a whole.
“All of us need the balance implicit in the Principle of autonomy to be the unique OA groups and individuals we are meant to be.”
— OA Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions page 118
I was raised in this program by a sponsor who had a very strict, clear perspective on the traditions. She taught me to read and understand them and practice them not only in my OA program, but in my own life as well. The word “autonomous” means “independent.” I should be autonomous, capable of handling my own life and making decisions for myself…except in matters affecting others. If I want to sleep in on a Tuesday morning, I can decide to do that, but if my son is depending on me to drive him to school or my employer needs me to make a presentation that morning, my autonomy suddenly is not okay because I have not considered the needs of others who depend on me.
In the same way, OA depends on us. Individual meetings are independent. They can make decisions about what books to read, what requirements to put on speakers and service commitments, whether to have speakers, time individual shares, etc. But a meeting can’t make decisions that affect other meetings or that affect OA as a whole. Those types of decisions need to be made in discussion with Intergroup or taken to World Service for consideration.
Journal Prompt: What are some examples of autonomy that my home group practices? What are some ways that I am autonomous in my own life?
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and to sharing your story of experience, strength and hope with others on this amazing journey of OA recovery from compulsive eating through the Twelve Steps.