I always cringe when I hear the following phrases.
“I know we shouldn't talk about this but……………” And then the person goes on to name some outside author or program or weight loss scheme. “I know I shouldn't cross talk but…” And they proceed to give advice or suggest something they have tried.
But can we ever talk about these things and not go against the Guidelines? Well actually, you can talk about this kind of issue and stay within OA Guidelines. If you follow certain principles you can talk about something that you have read in outside literature and not name the source. Recently I read a non-endorsed Daily reader and got something very valuable from it. The reading reminded me that when I admit that I need help from my Higher Power and other people in OA and say that to others that is very helpful to me.
So how did I do that? First I talked about the principle that the reading reminded me of and how that applies to my disease of compulsive overeating. I did NOT talk about what the reading said, where it was from, who wrote it or any of those other things. If people wanted to know what it was I read they could approach me after the meeting or email or call me.
If I hear someone talking about a situation that I have dealt with previously, I can do a couple of things. I can approach the person after the meeting and ask if they want to hear my experience. Then I need to accept the person’s answer. I could talk about my experience in the meeting without referring to the person or what they shared in the meeting. So I could say once I had x situation and I did Y about it. I do remember working so hard in my sharing about it so the other person paid no attention to it at all and had no idea I really wanted to direct my remarks toward them. I had to laugh at myself when that happened.
If I hear people in a meeting talking about specifics that really shouldn’t be shared in an OA meeting, I need to decide how or if I want to intervene. If people say “Well I know we really shouldn’t….” I try to gently intervene and stop them right at that spot. But usually I wait until after the meeting and talk to them one-to-one. Or I can just let it go.
I strive to be really gentle with people because I would want people to be gentle with me. Usually people haven’t thought about a way to share these things without naming the outside source. I am not always able to be as gentle as I would like to be, somehow when I see people breaking Guidelines or Traditions I get scared and then angry. It is easier to be angry then to be gentle. But everything works better if I can be gentle.
Most of the time people do not want to endorse an outside thing but they don’t know how to talk about things without naming them specifically. If you demonstrate how to do it other people can learn how so practice this and show others how to do it.