The Recovery Group

Question Five

Dear Web Visitors and Loop Friends,

My name is Shana and I am a compulsive overeater. I am grateful to have found the OA program of recovery and part of my program is sharing it with others.

Please note that previous questions are already up on the web site and can be found at


A.) Read Step 1 in the book 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous (the "12 and 12").

B.) Discuss and reflect on the idea that the "devastating weakness" discussed in this chapter is a source of strength as long as we don't look to food for comfort.

Well, I have to admit that the first time I read this I didn't know what the heck it meant. But, painstakingly I read and reread the chapter and soon I came to understand the depth of my devastating weakness. It's not something that I would have chosen for my path, certainly not something that I could ever imagine being "okay" with...but, it's the part that says, " a source of strength as long as we don't look to food for comfort," that really means the most to me today.

On the very first page, of the very first chapter, it is written as clear as day, "We know that little good can come to any alcoholic who joins A.A. unless he has first accepted his devastating weakness and all its consequences. Until he so humbles himself, his sobriety -- if any -- will be precarious." How, I recall puzzling over this; could this information be a source of strength for me? On page 22, I then read, "Then we had been told that so far as alcohol is concerned, self-confidence was no good whatever; in fact, it was a total liability." Powerlessness, complete defeat, admission of weakness!! How could I even imagine that this would be asked of me? It sounded like my funeral...not my way out of hell. I have to admit that I couldn't imagine letting go of all my preconceived ideas of life, of all that I had watched and heard in my home of origin about life; about how you have to be strong, how you never show vulnerability or weakness, how you are a winner only when you are in control. Whew, this takes quite a leap of faith...wouldn't you say?

But, on the other hand, so many had been saved by these ideals. I knew that I had no choice but to follow the road...where else did I have left to go? Nowhere. I have underlined, dated 12/85 (by me), this line from page 22, "The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole society has sprung and flowered." In my handwriting, next to it, I wrote, "This IS step 1."

Today, so many years later, I know with all my heart and all my mind that there is nothing that I cannot grow from...rise above...whether from strength or weakness...sadness or long as I remain humble to my Higher Power and the greater good of the world...there is a place for me. I need not slay the giant, nor turn the tides...just by remaining abstinent from my compulsion is all I need to achieve for today so that I may be strong for myself and others.

Love in recovery,





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