Step Two


"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."


Step Two 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

Step Navigator:


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Step Two ~ Introduction

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."




Dear WTS Loop Members ~

My name is Pamela and I am a grateful recovering compulsive overeater. I am living my life, one day at a time, in the solution of this miraculous 12 step program. I take the steps and my abstinence from compulsive overeating very seriously as my happiness and life depend on both ofthem. I have learned these past three years that there is but one ultimate power in my life, and I call that power, God. Coming to believe that God is the one in charge wasn't easy, but looking back on the surrender process, I am oh so thankful that I was given that gift.

I'd like to thank you for allowing me to be your leader this month as we work our way through Step 2. Shlomo did an incredible job getting us started through the dawning of our new millennium by helping us to each learn a little bit more about ourselves by working Step 1.

Thank you Shlomo.




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Step Two ~ Part 1

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."




There was a time in my life where I couldn't imagine that there could be anyone more powerful than me. I was a codependent compulsive overeater, struggling in a disease of addiction. Each and every day I woke up with food on my mind. Each and every night I went to bed with the hopes that the next day would be the day that I would start my diet. I would have brief lapses of freedom while trying this diet or that diet, but I always went back to the food. Food was my power, my source of strength. It was my drug of choice and I am as addicted to sugar as any alcoholic is to alcohol. I'm not exactly sure when my disease kicked in. I have some vague memories of food as a child... keeping candy in my uniform pockets in school, my father telling me I was getting fat (when in reality I was just maturing), food was always prevalent in my life... I have never been able to eat "just one" of anything and I've always had a particular liking to anything sweet, salty, crunchy, etc... but my weight didn't start to creep on until the months following my father's death when I was 16. I was terribly lonely and unhappy and reached for food to numb the pain. I was able to control my weight for only so long because eventually, it was so far out of control, I couldn't stop myself. I never purged or took laxatives, nor did I ever starve myself. Food was my friend and the only thing in my life that meant something to me.

I went through several romantic relationships as a young adult getting bigger and bigger, more ashamed of who I was with each passing month. I tried to hide myself underneath big sweaters and anything black... but all I did was accentuate the fat and hide the Pamela that was inside. "Who was the Pamela inside?" I can remember a boyfriend in college once telling me "Well, you're not exactly thin"... I had completely lost track of me. The binges peaked when I was in college and it was then that I knew that my other friends in school just didn't do things the way I did. I suppose that was my awareness. They were able to be thin and eat just "one" of whatever they wanted to eat. I longed to be like them, but it just wasn't meant to be. Little did I know that there was another plan in the works for me. When I met my husband at the tender age of 19, I convinced myself that he was the person I would marry. Being a byproduct of an alcoholic parent, I never believed than anyone would want me, so fearing loneliness, I latched onto him and so it became that at age 22, we were married. Our relationship was strong, but not grown and it has taken us the better part of out 8 year marriage to see and appreciate the growth. It has not been an easy road for us, I don't think it will ever be easy... but it's been much more comfortable since I found this 12 Step Program of Life.

Anyway, my recovery started just about three years ago when I walked into my first OA meeting, and the miracle happened. I had been through a few of the most painful months that I had known. I was lost in the struggle of being a food addict and wanting desperately to be a person. Some say that it was my rock bottom that got me to that meeting, and back then I would have agreed...today, I know that it was my HP working on me and directing me to the space I needed to be in. I was blessed with abstinence and physical recovery and that is just the beginning of where my journey starts....

In those early honeymoon months of working my program, I thought I was "working a program" because I answered questions and went to meetings. I committed my food to my sponsor and did everything that everyone else told me to do. I made phone calls. I read. I wrote. I offered service and subscribed to Lifeline. I had been so unhappy through the last several years, that I was willing to go to any length to find my utopia. My focus back then was on physical recovery and I know now, that that was all I was searching for. I thought that if I wasn't fat anymore, I would be happy and my marriage would perk up and I would feel like a real woman again... And it did and I did... but that was only on the surface. When I got pregnant just 6 months into my recovery, I didn't have enough program in me to hold onto my food plan or my abstinence. I was an eating machine for last 3 months of my pregnancy. I realize today, that it all stemmed from my failure to complete take steps 2 and 3. I simply didn't have enough HP in me to keep me on track during one of the most challenging times of my life. Despite what I said to others, I still was in control and still told myself that it was me who was running the show. My disease pounced on me with full strength during the later months of my pregnancy and after my son was born, getting myself back on track was one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. It wasn't until December 29, 1999 that I got my old sponsor back and started working my program again...almost 18 months after his birth.

~ Came to Believe that A Power Greater Than Ourselves
Could Restore us to Sanity ~

Step 2 Prayer ~

I pray for an open mind so I may come
to believe in a Power greater than myself.
I pray for humility and the continued
opportunity to increase my faith. I don't
want to be crazy anymore.

I think that for me, working Step 2 was the miracle step. Admitting that I was powerless over food came easily. I knew that there was some severe food issues, I knew that food ran my life, but I couldn't imagine that there could be someone else in control of the show. Food still does run my life, but today I know that there is someone else in control. And that person is someone way more powerful that I am. For me, that person is God. My disease does push ups while I sleep and I can be off and running with the food in a minute, so I need to know that the God of my understand is there for me, 24 hours a day, helping me deal with my disease. I need to pray and meditate daily. Only with the guidance of my Higher Power can I live my life normally.

Before my complete surrender, I just lived on the surface. I didn't want to believe that a HP would be able to help me. I wanted to be the only one helping myself. I wanted to be in control. With my HP, my life happens as it should, in the time that it should. When I am in control, nothing goes as it should. And I am consumed with ill thoughts, panic and pain. What choice do I have?

As the next few weeks unravel, I would like to share with you the questions that I journalized while working this step, as well as my ESH pertaining to my official "taking" of the second step. I hope that as you work them, you also will be grated the serenity and peace that this program truly does offer, so long as we are open and honest with ourselves and our Higher Power.







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Step Two ~ Part 1: Questions

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."






1. As I look with complete honesty at my life, how have I acted in an extremely irrational and self-destructive manner where eating is concerned?

2. In what ways have I been obsessed with diets and/or weight-loss schemes?

3. When those methods worked, how have I inevitably lost control and overeaten again, putting back on the weight I worked so hard to lose? Explain.

4. In what ways have I continued to try to find comfort in excess food, long after it began to cause me misery?

5. How have I not acted sanely when a) I yelled in response to my children's needs for attention b) I was jealously possessive of my mate?

So let's leave it there for now and see where the answers take us. I look forward to working this step with you during this month of February, the month of love...

In love and recovery,
Pamela





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Step Two ~ Part 2

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."




Dear WTS Study Loop Members,

My name is Pamela and I am your step leader for the month of February. I am also a compulsive overeater living in recovery by working the 12 steps of Overeaters Anonymous. This program gives me the hope that I need to make this current 24 hours abstinent and serene.

Came to believe that a power greater than
ourselves could restore us to sanity...
Sanity... it means to be of a healthy sound mind...

I never thought I would be healthy. I never knew that there could be a way to live my life without feeling like the walls around me where caving in. When I was in the food, there was no such thing as sane living. My life evolved around food. I shut myself off to my emotions, my family, my friends, my career... to the outside world. I isolated into my own little world of sugar and eating and self hate. There wasn't a day that went by that I was comfortable in my body. Being a compulsive overeater is not shameful like our disease makes us out to be ... and it's the disease that forces us to live in a world guided by insane measures.

How many times did I snap at something so minor, hurt those who love me because of the misery and pain I was in. How many times did I see myself overreact because my lunch arrived minus the dressing... or the chicken wasn't big enough... or cooked well enough... or there wasn't enough milk. I remember very specific episodes of myself reacting to situations that were minor and insignificant. They were mostly issues relating to food, although I would jump down someone's throat for any given reason, if I was given the opportunity. Mention my clothing size...zap... reason to argue. Mention that I might not be making the best food choices ...zap... reason to argue. But sit down and write about the real problems in my life, like that I was a compulsive overeater in desperate need to help? Never. Talk about my failing marriage? Nope... what was the point? I thought food made everything better...

Then it happened. I hit my rock bottom. It was a time that was painful, but I truly believe that it needed to happen so that I would be able to start living. That rock bottom told me that I could not continue on with this self destructive behavior any longer... I needed to make changes and I needed to make them fast.

Coming to believe that a Higher Power could restore me to a more sane way of living didn't come easy for me. I fought it tooth and nail until there wasn't anything left in me to fight with. There came a time in my program where I just had to admit that physical abstinence and recovery wasn't enough. I needed to be spiritually cleansed and healed...and God was the only one that I could depend on to do that. I do not make good decisions for myself when left out in the open. But when I started to believe that I didn't have to be accountable, that there was someone who would guide me and help me... I started to work a true program. You see, I am who I am... and I will never be any different from who I am right here and now. I am and always will be a food addict. Diets are not the issue for me. Food plans are not the issue. My disease is the issue and I am unable to handle my disease on my own. My HP is the only one who gives me a sense of relief from my addiction. God has lifted the compulsion because I became willing to believe in His power. And for me, my HP is God... but not the God of my chidhood... this is the God of my recovery. The God who extends His hand to me whenever I need it, and listens whenever I need someone to talk to...This is the God of my own understanding and is unlike anyone else's God. This is the God who will always be with me...

I've listed some questions below for journaling ... lets see where they take us this week...






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Step Two ~ Part 2: Questions

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."



1. How have I not acted sanely when:

a) was more comfortable with food that with people.
b) I limited my social life
c) I drew the drapes, disconnected the phone and hid in the house.

2. In what ways have I overreacted to slight provacations while ignoring the real issues of my life?

3. Have I come to believe that I need to change? Why?

4. Since my willpower can't change my unsuccessful way of living, am I willing to look for a power greater than myself to restore me to sanity?

5. How do I define that Higher Power?

6. If I don not believe in a Higher Power, can I "act as if" I am getting help with my life? How?

In closing, I'd like to share a little prayer with you that is in my most favorite program book... The 12 Step Prayer Book... I think it relates beautifully to this step.

Every Morning

...Every morning I will rest my arms a
while upon the windowsill of Heaven,
gaze upon my Higher Power, and with
that vision in my heart turn strong to
meet my day...


Thank you for allowing me to be of service by leading this step for the month of February.

With love in recovery,
Pamela





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Step Two ~ Part 3

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."





Dear Loopies ~

My name is Pamela and I am a grateful recovering compulsive overeater. It always feels so wonderful to be able to qualify that. I came into this program while at the lowest point in my life. It was a time that was full of pain and heartache... yet, a miracle happened that day. I was given a life. I was given the ability to love myself again. And these gifts were given to me by my higher power. I call Him God.

Last week I wrote about sanity and how insane this disease is. How insane I had become because of it. I'm not sure how or when I crossed the line and became a compulsive overeater. I suppose that the characteristics have been there since the day I was born, but I often wonder what was it that made me snap? What feelings were happening in my life that made me pick up food for comfort? Was it my father's death? Was is the realization that he was an alcoholic? Or was it much earlier on in my life... I can remember hiding food at a very early age, and I can also remember food always playing a major role in my life. What made me snap?

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity.


I suppose none of that really matters. The fundamental piece today is that I found help and have grown to be a different person because of it. Each and every day I learn more and more about myself and about the person I have chosen to trust to run my life. That person is God. I'm really not all that sure how my HP came to be such an integral part of my recovery. I've often shared that my first time in OA I was only focussed on loosing weight. I didn't put the leg work into developing a trust for my HP, so when push came to shove, I had nothing to fall back on. I was raised as a Roman Catholic and still practice in the beliefs of Catholicism. But growing up I had a different God. He was a God based on fear taught to me by people who read who God was from out of a textbook. I spent close to 15 years educated in Catholic Schools and never in all those years, did I ever hear the words trust, spirituality and emotional healing. That came later. Much later. Today, the God my understanding helps me walk the walk. He guides me in everything I do and when I'm stuck, I look to Him for guidance and strength. He always comes through for me. And in the few times that His answers were not what I wanted to hear, His way was still the better way.

Compulsive overeating is a disease that not many people understand. I didn't understand it before I walked into the rooms. I knew I was fat, but I thought that my "problem" was purely physical. What was different about me that made me want to eat instead of feel? And how could God help me? It took me a very long relapse to learn to trust and develop a relationship with God, and I had to do the footwork (like these steps). I can't expect God to help me when I don't connect with Him each and every day. While in my relapse, I avoided contact with God and my life just kept getting worse. I found myself back to the stinkin' thinkin' that got me into trouble in the first place.

I think that my utopia would be a magical God... full of "powers" and mysticism. But that's not reality. Today, I have a God who listens and protects...and helps me to be me. I've shared with you before that when left on my own, I don't do such a good job... that's why I have God helping me to do the right thing.

The following questions helped me to really see who my God is.. and why He is the important part of my life that He is. I hope they help you just as much.






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Step Two ~ Part 3: Questions

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."




1. How would I like such a power to be and to do in my life?

2. Do I believe in God but not really believe that God can or will deal with my compulsive eating?

3. Have I asked God to remove my fat yet allow me to go on eating whatever I want?

4. How do I feel about replacing my old ideas about God with a faith that works?

Last week I shared a prayer with you and I'd like to share another one this week:

Your Gift

Thank You HP for your gift of recovery;
that through this Program I have come
to know myself better than ever before,
and that I have come to know others
better as well. I pray that I may be
eternally grateful for this, Your Blessing!

Thank you for letting me be your leader for this month. I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity to share.

Love,
Pamela





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Step Two ~ Part 4

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."




Dear Loopies ~

My name is Pamela and I am a grateful recovering compulsive overeater. Today there is a solution in my life called Overeaters Anonymous. Even when the food isn't great, my focus on the 12 steps and 12 traditions grounds me in a way that I never thought my life could be grounded. I think differently, react differently. And that's because today, I am a different person; and I am grateful.

During this month of February, our focus has been on the 2nd Step....

:*``*::*``*::*``*:

Came to believe that a power
greater than ourselves could
restore us to sanity.

:*``*::*``*::*``*:

I decided to go a little deeper into the step this week, and took the questions from a sheet that was given to me while working with a former sponsor. I think that they really put things into perspective and have helped me to fully take this step. It's all about complete honesty and how I, through working an honest program, have been able to change the way I see and do things.

Being closed minded and unwilling to change is what got me to my rock bottom. I knew that I had an eating problem, normal people just didn't eat the waythat I did. For so long, I kept my mind closed to the truth, and then one day, the unwillingness cracked and my program came to be. My recovery is sacred and I need to ask my HP for that gift on a daily basis. I try to keep the doors open so that I will stay in the place I am in. Because I certainly don't want to go back to where I was. I have learned that focussing too much or too long on one way of thinking, gets ne stuck; and getting stuck causes boredom and when I get bored I binge. I am powerless. God knows that, I know that... but He is the only One who can restore the sanity in my life.

When I wander from my faith and stop believing in my higher power, I might continue to loose weight, but my program and my life suffer. After taking this 2nd step, I know that there is something deeper than food as my issue. My problem is life. I have trouble dealing with it and use food as my comfort. It is so important for me to keep my spirituality clean by catching myself when I start to think negative thoughts yet claim to be abstinent. When my food is clean and my head is messy, my program is in just as much trouble as when I pick up one of the absolutes. Being humble and honest keeps me green and keeps me here... and there isn't any other place for me out in this wondrous planet.

Today, I truly believe in a higher power. There has to be someone looking over my shoulder because this is not something I would ever be capable of doing. I know that I can't do it alone and my HP and my belief in my HP is what gets me through each of my days. I was always to frightened to not believe in God and I'm glad that my life was never that bleak that I had to stop believing in God or start blaming God for my shortcomings.





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Step Two ~ Part 4: Questions

"Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves
could restore us to sanity."




I've listed only three questions for journaling for this week. I think they will open up to be pretty significant. I hope that you find the answers you are searching for.

15. Discuss and reflect upon the need for open mindedness. Why it is essential to your recovery in the OA program.

16. Discuss and reflect on the following concept as they play a part in your spiritual life: (a) intellectual self-sufficiency (b) wandering from faith (c) self righteousness

17. Discuss and reflect on the concept (a) those who believe (b) those who can't believe (c) those who have lost their faith. Which category do you sometimes or often find yourself in? and what steps must I take to change?



Change has always been something that I was afraid of. I didn't like seeing the apple cart turned upside down because it might mean that I would have to change my way of thinking... or doing... or reacting... Change is frightening ... but so necessary and so refreshing. My career recently took a major shift. I agonized for months about whether to stay or whether to go... I resigned, then came back on... and then thought about resigning again ... then I got down on my knees and asked God to help me. Through my HP, I have realized that it's not the new company that scares me... infact the new company has a lot more to offer. I have been and continue to be bent about taking a step down from senior management to that of worker bee.

I have to constantly take steps to enable me to not get caught in the mud. Changing helps us to grow... and in this program, growing is one of the most important things that I can do.



In closing, I'd like to share with you a prayer...

:*``*::*``*::*``*:

Changes

Today, I pray that I may understand there
are some things I cannot change;
I cannot change the weather.
I cannot change the tick of the clock.
I cannot change the past.
I cannot change another person against their will.
I cannot change what is right and wrong.
I cannot change the fact that a relationship ended.
I can stop worrying over that which I cannot change
and enjoy living more! I can place those things into
the hands of the One Who Is Bigger Than I. Save
energy. Let go. Instead of trying to change
someone else:
I can change my attitude.
I can change my list of priorities.
I can change my bad habits into good ones.
I can move from the place of brokenness into
wholeness, into the beautiful person God created me
to become.

:*``*::*``*::*``*:

Thank you for reading through and working this step with me. I am grateful to be your leader this month.

Love,
Pamela



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