Step One


"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"


Step One Contents:

Introduction
Part 1 and Questions for journaling
Part 2 and Questions for journaling
Part 3 and Questions for journaling
Part 4 and Questions for journaling


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Step Two

Step One ~ Introduction

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"


Dear Fellow WTS Members,

Happy New Year to everyone. My name is Eleanor and I am a compulsive overeater.  I am delighted to be able to greet all of you and usher in the new year and the start of working the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous with all of you on the WTS Loop. Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience, strength and hope.
 
 

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Step One ~ Part 1

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"


"We admitted we were powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable."

When I came into OA in March of 1996, I didn't understand many things, particularly what it meant to be powerless over food. I was taught to be self-sufficient and strong and to depend on myself to get through any crisis and overcome all obstacles. I believed the reason I couldn't lose weight was because I had no willpower. And the rest of the world believed the same thing. Doesn't everyone know the reason why anyone is fat because
he or she lacks the willpower to lose weight?

I tried every diet known to mankind.  I even prayed to God in the bargaining kind of way, "If you let me lose weight, I'll do anything you want me to do!"  I had conquered many things in my life time, certainly I could beat this weight thing. I exercised obsessively, I skipped meals, I joined Weight Watchers.  No matter what I tried, I didn't lose weight and I stayed preoccupied and obsessed with losing weight and my body image, obsessing about what to eat and when.  And most painful to me, I ate in isolation and would devour foods that were bad for me and cause me to be physically sick. The longer I went without losing weight, I became more and more obsessed, more and more depressed, more isolated, more yelling at my family, more irrational behavior. You get the picture, I'm sure.

I went to my first OA meeting after finding an OA questionnaire at my yoga studio. I never thought OA included me, but after answering yes to all the questions, I thought maybe I was on to something. I knew my life had become unmanageable, although I probably wasn't using that word to describe the despair and loneliness I felt.  After walking through the OA doors, I reviewed my life in relation to food and as my life's events began to unfold, I saw that my behavior was not "normal" and came to see that not everyone ate like I did. I baby-sat as a youngster so I could eat the food in privacy after the kids went to bed, I went food shopping and bought certain foods to eat in my car privately before I got home, I would get up early in the morning so I could eat out of the refrigerator everything I
couldn't eat at night when my family could see me, I avoided social engagements so I could stay home and eat all my myself, and I went to social events because I knew food would be there and I could eat as much as I wanted because no one would be paying attention to the woman eating alone at the food table. I ate when I was bored, lonely and depressed. I ate when I was celebrating. I ate when I had man trouble. Every memory I have of my childhood is related to food. I ate to feed every emotion.

I came to OA because I felt the harder I tried to control my overeating, the more desperate I became.  The more I tried to control my overeating, the more obsessed with food I became, the more I yelled at my kids and husband, the more I isolated, the more resentful I was, and the more self-conscious I was. I cried a lot and didn't know why.

"We admitted we were powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable."

Welcome to our journey. I look forward to sharing with one another as we begin our journey through the 12 steps of OA.  You can share on this loop, share with your sponsor via Internet or over the telephone, or you can write in your journal, or do both.  Whatever you decide to do, we welcome you on this journey. Welcome to OA Working the Steps. Welcome Home.
 
 

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Step One ~ Part 1: Questions

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"


Here are the first set of questions for Step 1.

1.  What does it mean to be so powerless over food that you are unable to manage your life?

2.  How far do you have to go to hit bottom?  Do you eat alone so no one can see how much you consume?  Do you hide stashes of goodies where only you can find them?

3.  Have you ever felt like trying to use self-will to control your compulsive overeating is like trying to put out a fire with gasoline?  Explain.

God, Grant us the SERENITY to accept the things we cannot change; The COURAGE to change the things we can And the WISDOM to know the difference.

What we could never do alone ~
We can do together.

One day at a time ~
One step at a time.
 
 

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Step One ~ Part Two

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"

Dear All,

It was wonderful to read the many responses the loop received for Step 1
Part 1.   Again, a warm welcome to everyone and I look forward to hearing from you with the next set of questions.

"We admitted we were powerless over food - that our lives had become
unmanageable."

I first came to OA because I tried everything else and had failed miserably.  I used food to dull the pain and ease the tension of everyday life. I heard a woman say at the very first f2f meeting I attended that she hadn't eaten a particular substance for 5 years. I was totally blown away and scared because I could not imagine life without certain foods.  No way could I
survive without my binge foods!  Three meals a day and nothing in-between?
Not possible.

I knew I had to do something. I was ready to admit my food was out of
control.  I was a raving lunatic at home, always yelling at my kids, always
angry at my husband for some imaginary hurt.  Carrying resentments around with me was the most natural thing in the world. I was so weighed down with hurt and pain, I didn't know who to turn to or what to do.

I got a sponsor and started working the steps with her help right away. I
was able to, with the help of my Higher Power, admit defeat.  I am powerless over food.

I don't think I could ever consider abstinence if it were not for the fact
that everything else I tried always failed to solve my eating problem. I
had exhausted all methods of controlling my compulsive overeating - I was
desperate and willing to admit I needed help.

Please join me in answering the second set of questions to Step 1.  If you
want to write to me personally, please do so.  I welcome all
responses and questions.  Welcome to the loop.  Welcome home.
 
 

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Step One ~ Part 2: Questions

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"



1. Is there something besides abstinence and the 12 Steps that you think
might work for you?

2. What effect does your overeating have on the people around you?

3. Are you living your life the way you want to live it?
 
 

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Step One ~ Part Three

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"


Hello All Fellow OAers,

Welcome to the third week of working Step 1!  Thank you all for sharing
your experience, strength, and hope.

Honesty is the foundation of our program. Once we admit we have a problem with food, we begin to get honest with ourselves. Without honesty, where are we?  How many times have I asked myself, "How can I be gaining weight when I don't eat anything?" Anything that anybody SEES me eat that is. If you are a closet eater, you have lots of company. If I eat alone, if I
binge alone in my house or in my car and no one sees me, then I'm not
really bingeing, right? If I cheat on my diet, then am I cheating in other
areas of my life? Work? Marriage? Friendships? I know as long as I am
compulsively overeating, I am cheating myself out of good health,
self-respect and peace of mind.

One of the hardest things I have ever done is admit I am powerless over
food. For me to admit and to be honest with myself that I am powerless was
very hard to do. But, without being honest, what do I have? Living with
food as a numbing device to get through life and face all its challenges
is not the answer. I ask myself, is living a dishonest life, one with
isolation and secrecy, loneliness, the answer? I don't think that's what my
HP had in mind for me. In the long run, running away and hiding behind food is a whole lot harder than living an honest and abstinent life. All I have
to do is remind myself what I was like when I came into this program -
overweight, preoccupied with my poor self-image, self-conscious, resentful,
angry, contempt for myself - to know that honesty is the healthier choice
for me.

A lot of food doesn't make the pain go away, it just makes it worse and
prolongs the inevitable - that one day I will go over the edge, explode. An
honest appraisal of my food and my life can reveal to me the harm I am
inflicting upon my body and my mind, not to mention my spirit. It's real
hard to think too clearly when I am planning a binge or after I am
recovering from one and swearing up and down, "never again!"

For me, the beauty of this program is that I now have a support system that
helps me be honest, and I have a HP that helps keep me honest. I did not
know my HP before I came into this program. Its a lot easier for me to face
my compulsive overeating with a group who is experiencing the same things I am and willing to share their experience, strength and hope. Sometimes it
hurts to face the truth and we think our lives would be a whole lot easier
if we could just escape into food. But, sometimes we must hurt before we
can get well. It is the truth that frees us from our compulsive overeating.
 
 

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Step One ~ Part 3: Questions

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"



1. Honesty is crucial to our ability to take Step 1 in OA. In what specific
ways have you worked a program of rigorous honesty?

2. Are there any ways in which your program has slipped and you've been a
little less honest with yourself about our eating?

3. How have you practiced honesty in other areas of your life?

Love,
Eleanor

What we could never do alone,
We can do together.
 
 

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Step One ~ Part Four

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"



Dear Fellow Members,

We shared on our history with food, our powerlessness over food and
honesty. This week I want to share on my turning point.  The turning point
for me was the first time I worked Step 1, realizing that I have a disease
and that without the help of a Higher Power and the help of other
compulsive overeaters in the OA program, I was controlled by the disease of
compulsive overeating. It was only when I was willing to surrender to the
gravity of this disease I was ready to lead a life of abstinence.

I believe the OA program saved my life. I have been able to live a life of
recovery because I am willing to go to meetings, be honest with my sponsor,
stick to a food plan, make phone calls, pray and write. I have learned how
to avoid certain situations that will get me into trouble. I am now willing
to live a life of change, growth and recovery. Making a life of recovery my
priority has allowed me to think more clearly, love more unconditionally
and to receive love more freely. I cannot say too many times how much this
program has changed my life!

It is Step 1 that allowed me to see once I gave up the control of food, I
became the kind of person I want to be - confident, trusting and tolerant.

This marks the last week for working Step 1. I have enjoyed writing and
reading everyone's share on Step 1. I look forward to sharing our
experience, strength and hope on our continued journey of recovery and
working the next steps together.

One step at a time, one day at a time.
 


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Step One ~ Part 4: Questions

"We admitted we were powerless over food ~
that our lives had become unmanageable"


1. How have you become a new person since admitting your way of doing
things doesn't work and you need help?

2. What gifts have you received from the OA program?

Love,
Eleanor
 
 

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