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:

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 Three ~ Introduction

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



Dear WTS Loop Members ~

Welcome to the wonderful world of Step 3! I am Ellen, a compulsive overeater and leader for this step. I have been in OA and abstinent for 2 years. I work closely with a sponsor and am a sponsor myself. I encourage all of you to work with your sponsor as you work through this and all steps.




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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."



This program, and specifically, this step has changed my life in more ways than I can count. Working this step had been difficult for me, as I have a very strong will. The first indication that I was "getting it" was when, embroiled in a bitter custody battle with my grandchildren as the pawns, I stood in the ladies room of the Courthouse and turned the whole thing over to God. "Take it," I cried. "I can't, You can, and so I willingly let You. I will stop advice giving, analyzing and agonizing. Just please do what's best for those children." From that moment on, a peace came over me and I was able to go into that courtroom minus the panic attacks and anxiety, and watch the miracle unfold.

With each passing day, the situation got better and better, in God's time and in God's way. Amazingly, my relationship with food got saner and saner. When I felt that my basic abstinence was not enough, and I needed a firmer food plan, I again turned my will over to God, as I understood Him, and He did not fail me. The next day, after fervent prayer on this issue, a person unrelated to OA told me of a food plan that was helping her regain her health and she was losing weight to boot. This felt right, a sure indication that God is involved. I reviewed the plan, took what I thought fit me and have been following it ever since. I have no more asthma, am totally off all depression medication and have been losing two pounds a month, which must be what God wants me to lose.

This is not a "coincidence." I intend to eat this way for the rest of my life. He showed me food allergies no test could find and a binge food I didn't recognize as such. Step Three has definitely saved my life and brought me a peace and serenity I didn't know existed. Not surprisingly, every time I think I am in charge and do not ask God what His will is for me, I end up in turmoil until I go back to Step Three and turn my will and my life over to the care of my God.

I wish for you the same serenity and peace!

Happy Journey.

THIRD STEP PRAYER

God, I offer myself to Thee ~ to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always.


Before moving from Step 2 to Step 3, I needed to firmly establish Who this Higher Power was that everyone in the f2f meeting was talking about. I always had a faith in a Higher Power ... but He was the Higher Power who parted the Red Sea, saved humanity from nuclear destruction and generally made sure the Earth continued to revolve on its axis around the sun. There was no way, I thought that I, insignificant little me, could ask Him anything as mundane as to watch over my food! How silly ... He was way too busy for that. Or so I thought. It is through listening to the sharing of others, through their experiences and strength, that I began to change my definition of a Higher Power. Maybe, just maybe, God, as I used to understand Him, is not the same God I am beginning to understand now. Maybe, just maybe, I can ask him to help me gain some sanity and stop the constant weight gain that was threatening my life. If others could call upon their Higher Power to help them with their lives, just maybe I could do the same. In this way, I came to redefine my Higher Power, as a God who was within me and greater than me, who could and would restore me to sanity.

The decision for turning my will and life over to the God that I had just come to understand, had to come from me. This was not an instance, in my opinion, when I could just act as if I understood and then go about my merry way controlling everything and everyone. It had to be my personal decision, coming at a time when it was meaningful to me. This step took me a long time. I did not finish it for many, many months, as I wrestled with the brand new conception of not being in charge of my life. Ever since I was 8 years old, when my Mom and Dad opened a new business and were never home, I was in charge of my life. In retrospect, it came at much too young an age, in an era when there was no such things as Day Care Centers or Boys & Girls Clubs. I was a latchkey kid before there was a name for it. I grew up with the motto that if I "didn't look out for myself, no one else would." So I fended for myself, looked after myself when I came home from school and became the big shot of my friends and associates. I was the worldly one ~ at the ripe old age of 9 and 10! Not surprisingly, I grew up as a very willful, self assured, domineering, "I know best" kind of person. There were two ways to do things. My way and the wrong way! To give up my will and my life was a concept that was not in my memory bank. Even when I married, I was still in charge. Just ask my husband! He ended up at home and I ended up the bread winner! I liked it that way! I had to decide that this way of living was not working for me and then I had to decide to give it to One who could make it work.

When working this step, I was afraid, quite truthfully, that I wouldn't agree with the way God would run things. Looking back at it now, I can't imagine the arrogance I had to think such things ... but I did! I was sure that a size 8 would be the ideal thing for me and was afraid that may that wasn't in "God's plans." I was also terrified that I would have to give up entire some of my "favorite" foods. I once got angry with my sponsor because she dared to suggest that I might be able to live without soft drinks in my life!

What else would God demand of me, as I gave over my will to Him. Looking back at that now, I realize I miss nothing that I don't eat now, and that everything God has put in my life has enriched it beyond my wildest imagination.

It is this willingness that is the foundation of a spirituality, a spiritual serenity. Even when things are rough, I can get through them because I know that I don't have to depend on myself to solve the problems, cure the ills, make everything right. My mother is turning 90 and won't be around much longer. She is getting weak. Certainly I am sad about that, but I am not panicked and distraught. I know that God has a plan for her, too ... and that when the time comes, He will be there to comfort both of us. I can be sad, but can continue to live my life, joyfully and fully and thank my Higher Power for the peace He has provided me. There is a power greater than myself that I can rely on and it has lifted a weight from my shoulders that I have been carrying around for almost 50 years!







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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. What growth must you have experienced before moving from Step 2 to Step 3?

2. Why is the word "decision" used in this step?

3. What reservations do you have to turning your will over?

4. Why is willingness the key to a spiritual life that works?

Much love, Karrie





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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."



Hello to all, Ellen again, your Step Leader for Step Three.

Since I am convinced that my Higher Power only does what is best for me, I am sure that this does not involve eating compulsively. Since I feel I am definitely a child of my Higher Power, I feel He regards me as any parent would and sets out for me the best in this life. The best food, the best health, the best choices. If I am willing to accept His will for me then I am willing to eat in a healthy controlled manner. Acting on my own self will has put me behind the eight ball more times than I can count. When I look back at my previous eating habits I realize that it was my self will that caused me to eat without regard to nutrition, health, or my budget, for that matter! I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it! That was how I was living and my food choices showed that philosophy. My declining health and ever increasing weight were the direct results. I used to laugh and say I was conducting an experiment to see how much weigh t I could gain before I burst out of my skin! Some joke! I realize now that self will also manifested itself in other areas of my life. My relationships were based more on what I wanted to get out of them than on an y thought to the other person. Amazingly, since I have been in program, my list of true friends has grown 1 0 fold. My relationship with my husband has reached a new positive, level, and this after 25 years! I am finally starting to get my spending under control, although the results of my self will will be with us for many years to come! Turning my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him means that He will provide for the future and I can stop worrying about it. What will be, will be, and God will give me the strength and the wisdom to deal with whatever comes my way. I never thought I could stop worrying about things in the future. I was so good at predicting doom and gloom! I don't do that any more. I plan prudently for future needs, which is God's will for me. Beyond that, it is in His realm, not mine. Even now, when facing a serious illness in my immediate family, my mother, I can turn it over to God and sleep soundly at night, knowing He is in charge. I have also given up dwelling on past events. What has happened, has happened . I am unable to change that, but I am confident in the knowledge that my Higher Power will give me what I need to deal, today, with any lingering results of my past. All I have to do is live today, to the best of my ability, and pray to know His will for me. That's all I have to do - and only for today, because that's all I have and all I need.






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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. Are you willing to admit whatever plan your Higher Power has for your life, it does not involve eating compulsively? How can this willingness help you with your resolve not to eat compulsively?

2. How has acting on your own self-will, instead of your Higher Power's will caused negative results in your life?

3. Why is living the third step living one day at a time and how does this give us a new way of life? Love,

Ellen

 
 



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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."




Dear Loopies ~

Weight control is now out of my control and into my HP's. That about sums it up. I am going to continue to heat healthy planned meals, and when my weight stabilizes, that will be the weight God wants me to be. I will be satisfied with it and not think of myself as either fat or thin but instead as me. The scale is only an indication of whether my portion sizes are too big or OK because I know that my HP does not intend for me to have an unhealthy body fat ratio. Since I have come to embrace this attitude, I have lost an average of 2 pounds every month. I have already stopped comparing myself to others around me, especially my thin sister! I am me, she is she, and both are just fine! I am not my dress size or outward appearance. it is important to look nice to please both myself and others who look at me, but it is not who I am on the inside. I put on a bathing suit now, go to the pool or beach, and enjoy myself. For the first time, I admire the nature around me, not the people in bikinis. I do not dwell on how I look. Neither do I judge others by how they look. I used to go to the beach and spend the whole time trying to figure out if this one or that one was fatter or thinner than I was! What a waste of God's gift of life! I don't have to wear "tents" to hide how I look or dress sloppy so people will think that I really don't care! I take time and pride in how I dress each day and then forget about it. Food was always my friend and my soother. When all else failed, food was always there. It helped me when I was lonely, bored, sad, depressed, happy, celebrating, etc. When I was really stressed I sopped eating, as if to add to my misery. The answer to a frustrating day at work was a sweet an d then on to eat my way through the rest of the day and evening. Food was a social event in and of itself. Whenever there was a social engagement, I always made sure that it involved food, specifically going out to eat. I prided myself on being a real gourmet. I would think and think about buying something to wear or spending money for theater tickets, but would drop 50 or 60 dollars for the two of us at a restaurant without giving it a second thought. At social functions, I gravitated toward the food and stayed there most of the evening. Food was my reward for r all the emotions I swallowed so as to not make waves with anyone who was used to me being the even tempered, low key "wonderful person." Food took on so many more meanings than just sustenance. In fact, that was about the last reason I ever ate! I would refuse food if it appeared too healthy! How much lighter I feel now that I have changed my attitude about food. The above long paragraph summed up my old attitude. It never served me well. All the problems I had when I was eating I still have. It solved nothing and never brought me peace. Now, my attitude about food is very simple. I eat to live healthy and do God's will for me. Very simple. I plan my meals every evening, give the plan to my sponsor and then am free to devote all my energies to living the best life I can. When things go wrong, as they have been lately, food is not a solution. I am going to visit my mom tomorrow, maybe for the last time, and I am serene, knowing that she is in her Higher Power's hands. It has not affected my eating one little bit. I still plan my meals, eat what I plan, and go on with life. To me this is a miracle and I define miracle as a gift fro m my Higher Power, given to my simply because I asked for it!






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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. 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 Three ~ Part 4

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




My eating guidelines are simple. My ultimate abstinence is 3 meals a day, nothing in between, one day at a time. My food plan is also simple, no wheat, no corn, no dairy. After becoming abstinent and staying that way for one year, I prayed for the willingness to find a food plan that was right for me. My HP answered my prayers and I found a food plan that was right for me. My new relationship with my Higher Power allows me to stay on this food plan because I know this is His will for me. Because I believe that He answered me, and that this is His will for me, I am willing to accept that. My ultimate abstinence 3-0-1, is very easy to adhere to. There is no room for negotiation. My food plan is sometimes difficult to stick to. I try to the best of my ability, substituting things that are good for me and that do not cause me to overeat. I pray each morning for the willingness to stick to my food plan. If I deviate from it, I now know that my Higher Power is loving and forgiving and I try to learn from my mistakes and go on. I try to always remember that I am a work in progress, and not perfection. If this were the God I used to believe in, I would be so afraid that I would be punished for eating something not on my plan, that the anxiety of it would lead me to eat the very food I try to avoid! I realize that this is the way I will ear for the rest of my life. I can see that I must, each day, ask God for the willingness and, therefore the ability, to stick to His plan for me. If He gives me the willingness, then the ability will be there. I am almost always able to live within my eating guidelines. It is the willingness that dictates whether I will or not.

Acting "self-centered" for me, usually occurs when I try to tell God what I want Him to do or how I want Him to solve a problem. It occurs when I think I can control a situation. Many, many times, I have to stop and realize who is really in control and then consciously give that control back to God. When I ask for the ability to do God's will, I usually have a solution to whatever problem is at hand, or I have the serenity to deal with life's problems, such as my mother's illness, without the usual anxiety and panic. When I try to control situations or feel God "must" do this or that I have no peace.

The first thing to do when I feel unstable is to pray to my Higher Power and ask for his guidance. Then I can relax, because someone much more able is in charge. I can turn to my Sponsor, my loop, my f2f meetings, the steps and the tools to find the help I need. Most of all, in my personal case, I can relax and stop fighting life. I will not always feel on an even keel. Staying at my mom's this week and helping her face the limited time she has left on this earth would have thrown me into emotional upheaval had I attempted it before I took Step 3. Now, I help her, turn it over to God, and relax. I know He will do what's best for us both. I also have learned it is OK to fell unstable as long as I do not act in an unstable manner. Seeking God's will for me will assure that unstable feelings will be replaced with serenity and peace in my life. The same thing holds true for the obsession with food. If food starts to call my name, I ask God to remove that obsession. Then I look at my life to find out what emotion I am denying. What do I want to push down with the food? When I turn to my Higher Power instead of the food, I am once again at peace.

To me, all of Step 3 boils down to surrendering my will to that of my Higher Power. It means not having to be in control of anything more than my God-given plan for the day. It means not having to obsessively worry about anyone else, because they have their own Higher Power to take care of them. I know the my Mom is in the hand of her Higher Power and I can relax and do my best to comfort and guide her, but not direct or change her life to fit how I think it should be. To surrender to a Higher Power that I have discovered, One that fits with my beliefs and my understandings, means that I will always have what I need, not what I want. And I now understand that what I want really isn't all that important. I am more than willing to live with what I need. What a relief!






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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 eating guidelines have you established for yourself? How can your new relationship with a Higher Power help you to live within these guidelines one day at a time?

2. What will you do when you find yourself acting "self-centered" instead of "God-centered?"

3.What plan do you have for those times when you feel unstable or you feel the obsession with food return?

4. Discuss "surrender" as part of Step 3. What does this mean to you?



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