Step Three

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

Step Three Contents:

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 Three ~ Introduction

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him."

Hi everyone, my name is Gina and I'm a compulsive overeater and your
trusted servant for this month. We will be sharing our experience, strength, and hopes around step three - a step that leads to freedom from obsessing about food and a step that has taught me a new way to live my life.

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Step Three ~ Part 1

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

When I first came to OA I didn't think I had a problem with willfulness. I
mean, I was a pretty smart and competent person. I was educated and had a lot of good ideas. I was a good organizer and as long as everyone did things my way, then the world was a great place - it ran so smoothly. And when things went bad well it was because those around me were just not listening to me and doing what I told them to do. So when I first came to this step, I had a difficult time accepting that I was acting in a willful manner. It was a simpler concept to turn my life over to HP - here's my life God, now I want this to happen and that to happen, so make it happen for me. When that didn't work for me, I thought I would never get the hang of this program, but I was drawn to it never-the-less. I had a strong ego and I was going to try and figure out what this step was all about - there was no way that something that sounded so simple was going to get the better of me. How self-involved I was!

Very soon after reading the literature and journalling online I came to
realize that I liked to control everything and everyone in my world. Here
was my willfulness. It was not understanding that HP has a plan for me and
if I could only give up the hold my self had over me, then I would be able to follow that path. But that was a frightening  prospect. If I just sit back and let HP look after everything, wasn't I going to fall apart. How would I run my household, or my career? Even more questionable, how would turning over my will help me lose weight.

In OA's 12&12, the opening line is," It has been said that the first three
steps of the OA program are simply; ' I can't; God can; I think I'll let God!'" Simple, yes, easy...NOT!

So I took the advice found in the 12&12 to pray for HP's help to help me
turn over my will and to approach my daily decisions in another way because
the way I had been living was not working for me. I wasn't really convinced
that it would work then slowly, and very subtly, the changes began - small at first, hardly noticeable, but as they continued to accumulate I saw that I was already behaving in different ways.

At first I didn't know what it was but I soon realized that HP was doing for me what I could not do for myself. It was frightening, because I was exploring uncharted territory, but the result was freedom from compulsive
overeating and freedom from life's difficulties. HP was giving me what I
needed, not necessarily what I wanted. As I started to live more each day
by HP's will, my life began to change dramatically and all the things I once worried so much about were being looked after - my relationships with
others, my financial difficulties, my career problems, my weight problem
and even my health and my outlook for the future was improving.

It may sound unreal right now, but I can guarantee that those who work this program diligently will find  freedom, not only from compulsive  overeating but from life's challenges. One of OA's slogans is so true for me - I came for the vanity but stayed for the sanity.

Thanks for listening.

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Step Three ~ Part 1: Questions

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

1. Do I need to have a clear concept of HP to do this step or can I act "as

2. How do I feel about turning over my will to the care of a HP?

3. How do I feel about turning over my life to HP's care?

4. Why is the phrase "made a decison" an important part of this step?

5. How does my self-will get in the way of my personal growth?

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Step Three ~ Part 2

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

Hi everyone, I'm Gina and I'm a compulsive overeater who has been struggling for the past three weeks. I want to apologize for taking so long to post these questions and because it's midweek I'll only ask a few since I'll be sending part 3 on Sunday. Perhaps by writing this I'll be able to use Hp's help to help me out of this funk that I'm in.

When I first discovered OA three years ago I had hit rock bottom. I had tried everything - every diet known to mankind, I had done things with food that made me ashamed and I thought there was no way out of this - that I was destined to be fat and miserable for the rest of my life. It seemed that my body was rejecting everything that I put into my mouth. I was sick of eating, yet eating till I was sick. I was miserable and wanted everyone around me to be miserable as well.

I don't know what made me turn to OA and I don't even remember where I had heard about the program but, there I was, on a Tuesday night with two other people, attending my first OA meeting. When the meeting started and I listen to these two women describe that ESH all I could do was cry because I had found some people who knew what I had been going through. I was strengthened by their recovery and motivated by their calm and serenity. They seemed to have it together and I wanted that so much. I couldn't share that evening and I don't think I shared until at least three meetings later. But I cried each time I went . At the time we were studying the Brown Book and those stories really hit home for me.

I started reading the literature and attending meetings on a regular basis but I felt that something was missing. I tried a sponsor but it didn't work out. I heard a lot about working the steps, but I didn't know how to do it, and no one could really explain how to do it. I read the tools but didn't understand how they could help me lose weight so I eventually drifted away from that meeting and was left on my own.

A year later I was clinically depressed, experimenting with anti-depressants and having terrible side effects. I was horribly agoraphobic and I was experiencing so much anxiety that, at times, I never knew how I was going to survive the next 15 minutes. For some reason, I was drawn back to OA but this time online. I think my feeling was that if I'm going to be housebound I could at least try to be somewhat mentally active.

Was I ever surprised to find a site called Working the Steps because this was exactly what I was struggling with. So I threw caution to the wind and started posting to the loop. I didn't know if there was anyone out there and I didn't care - I just had to get all this stuff out. Slowly, the changes happened. The program finally clicked for me. I started to get feedback from others online, I actually got an online sponsor, who, it turned out, lived not to far from me in Ontario, Canada.

By posting to the loop on a daily basis, writing to my sponsor on a daily basis and attending the For Today online meetings, the miracle started to happen. Not only did I start to deal with issues from my past, without turning to food, I was losing weight and I was actually able to attend f2f meetings again.  But the biggest miracle of all was that this program helped me with my depression and anxiety. I am no longer on medication and I go out like a regular person now.

It was here that I learned how to use the steps. By working the steps, I was getting in touch with a HP who was doing for me what I could not do for myself, one day a time.

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Step Three ~ Part 2: Questions

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

1. Why do I need to follow this new path?

2. Am I ready to give up my self-will? How will I do it?

3. What will it take for me to really work step three?

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Step Three ~ Part 3

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

Hi everyone, Gina here, still a compulsive overeater.

Living the third step means living one day a at time. When I first started
this step, I really didn't understand what was required of me. And I really
didn't know how I was going to do it. I asked a lot of questions like, "what is my will, and how can I give over something I don't even understand?" Can I actually trust HP to look after me, what about my debt, my bills, my mortgage etc. Besides didn't HP have better things to do, more important things to do, than to help me to lose weight.

But after a careful reading of the third step, and after a lot of soul searching, I realized that I was only being asked to be "willing". There was no action step here, just the willingness to let go and give HP a try.  So that meant I had to start with learning to live one day at a time. I always thought I was living one day at a time but when I really looked at my life, I was never living one day at a time. It was all about yesterday and tomorrow, guilt and worry, and NEVER about today. So that was a big first step for me.

So I put a plan together. I would wake up each morning and ask HP to help
me focus just on just today. This was difficult at first, but each day, as I practiced , I got better at it. Each morning I read the steps and said the serenity prayer. Then, and I truly believe that this is THE MOST CRUCIAL TOOL, I wrote out my food plan for the day and posted it on the fridge. I had decided, after reading about food and nutrition and after talking and reading about abstinence, that for me, it would be three meals a day, nothing in-between, and no sugar. I also cut down on the carbohydrates and got rid of bread altogether because too many carbs turn into sugar. I substituted flat breads like Wasa or Ryecrisp and the occasional tortilla wrap or bagel - but no regular bread. I still had rice and potatoes and starchy vegetables.

But it was still a struggle because I was trying to eat three healthy meals a day and was feeling deprived. For instance I would include fish for dinner because of it's nutritional value, but I hate fish and when I got to my evening meal I wouldn't eat it and then turned to something that was more satisfying and not terribly good for me. So I had to develop a new strategy. I then designed a food plan with all my favorite foods, still using my nutritional guidelines, but I was only going to have three meals day. This worked for me. I had to take care, though, because there were some foods that I just could not include, but it was through trial and error that I discovered them.

Each day it got easier and within one month, I could write out my daily food plan, put it on the fridge, and actually could forget about it. What a relief and what a miracle that was for  me. I was free from the compulsion to overeat. I had allowed myself the willingness to develop an eating plan that worked for me and I would do it on HP's time, not mine. It was tough and I had to ask HP for a lot of help and I had to turn to the other tools on a daily basis as well, but it all worked.

Once free from the compulsion, the program started to come together for
me. I became stronger and better able to cope with what each day brought
me. This was an important step, because without some sort of abstinence, I
wouldn't have been able to get through the rest of the steps of OA, which
are the action steps.

So, for today, let's be willing to accept ourselves and everything that HP
sends to us, on day at a time.

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Step Three ~ Part 3: Questions

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

1. Am I willing to accept who I am today and adopt a whole new attitude
about eating?

2. Do I have eating guidelines? And will I ask HP for the willingness to
live within them one day at time?

3. Am I ready to give up my self-will with regard to food?

4. What does living one day at time mean to me?

5. How does willingness to turn our will over to HP free us from

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Step Three ~ Part 4

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

Hi Everyone, my name is Gina and I'm still a COE.

There's an interesting scene in the film The Apostle, starring Robert
Duvall, where he gets off a bus in this small town and just stands there
for a few minutes. Then he turns his face up to the heavens and asks God to
move his feet in the direction that He wants Duvall to go. Then Duvall
starts this funny little walk, round and round, until his feet land him in
front of this garage and to his destiny. After watching that I thought how
wonderful it was to be able to just let go that much and trust that HP will
look after me.

It seems that freedom is such an elusive butterfly and the more I try to
find it, the more difficult it becomes. My self-will just can't accept the
idea that by living this third step and practicing it on a daily basis,
that I will find the freedom that I have been looking for. I know it exists
because during the past year of working this program I have had periods of
complete freedom - from my compulsion to every other aspect of my life -
and it's such wonderful feeling and a good way to live my life.

In step three I am asking for "freedom from the bondage of  self" because
it is my SELF-will that gets in my way - that keeps me chained to bad
habits and to inappropriate ways to approach life. But when I was able to
let go and let God, I had a new approach to life. Now when there is a
decision to be made, instead of reacting in self-destructive ways, I say
the suggested little prayer, "Please God, help me to do your will," and my
life becomes transformed. This helps, not only with regard to picking the
right food choices but daily life decisions as well.

The way to get to this state of bliss is through daily acceptance of
everything that comes my way each day, and believing that everything is
sent by HP. The BB says this: "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems
today. When I am disturbed, it's because I find some person, place, thing,
or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no
serenity until I accept that person place, thing, or situation as being
exactly the way it is suppose to be at this very moment. Until I can accept
my "compulsive overeating", I could not stay "abstinent"; unless I accept
life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate
not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes."

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Step Three ~ Part 4: Questions

"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood him."

1.  What do I do now when faced with decisions.?

2.  If my way of making decisions hasn't been working, what can I do to
change things?
3.  What do you consider the "bondage of self"?

4.  What can I do when I'm feeling unstable?

5.  What would freedom be like?

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