From the earliest times of Twelve Step recovery, almost every effort to carry the message has included a financial cost. The need to cover these expenses inspired the development of the Seventh Tradition.

We’re told that every group needs to be fully self-supporting, not only financially but also by sharing service positions to keep the meeting strong. We’re encouraged to speak up at business meetings to create an informed consensus and to insure the meeting formats are recovery focused and that they attract newcomers.

We become familiar with OA’s service structure and learn that intergroups, which organize events and retreats, put out newsletters, and staff hotlines that direct people to local meetings, are largely funded by the groups they support.

When we pass the basket, we call it “the Seventh Tradition” because it represents how we feel about being self-supporting. It’s more than a donation. It’s a barometer of our gratitude and our personal investment in our recovery.

Our Seventh Tradition is more than a donation. It’s a barometer of our gratitude and our personal investment in our recovery.

Although my money was tight at times, I felt secure. OA had a lot to do with why I felt secure. I understood there were reasons, whether I knew them or not, for my hardship. I had faith that if I stayed abstinent for one more day, I could learn what those reasons were. Before program, I saw only the cost of something, never the value. I often felt deprived. To learn to see the value of something, I began to examine how often my priorities focus on my wants rather than my needs. OA provides for my needs.

What is OA’s value to you? Calculate how much you have spent impulsively on food each week. Imagine giving even a small fraction of that amount to support Twelve Step service and what it can accomplish. Calculate the costs of therapy, diet plans, and self-help books. Think of the time spent mindlessly watching television, playing video games, or procrastinating. Remember how unmanageable your life was before you came to OA and what it’s like now.

Groups and intergroups can be supported in many ways. Commit to a weekly donation that reflects your gratitude to OA. When a sponsee reaches a recovery milestone, send a donation to your intergroup in his or her name. On your anniversary, send $3 for every year you’ve been blessed with abstinence. Write a letter for the intergroup newsletter on a topic that is meaningful to you. Attend intergroup events and get to know your OA extended family.

OA asks us to give as if our lives depend upon it. Write a gratitude list every day and ask yourself how much OA has to do with it. Then give as if your life depends on it.

— Neil R., Baltimore, Maryland USA