Step Seven


"Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings"

Step Seven Contents:

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

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Step Seven ~ Introduction

"Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings"



Dear WTS Loop Members ~

Hi, I am Karrie, a recovering compulsive overeater and your Step 7 guide. I look forward to working this step with all of you.

I have been a compulsive eater since before I can remember. Growing up, around age 3, I would eat breakfast at home, then walk across the yard to Grandma's, and with egg on my face proclaim my hunger and lack of breakfast. I was never fat until adulthood, but was teased for having a "hollow leg" or being a bottomless pit. I grew up with 3 sisters, I was in the middle, and there were always extended family members dropping by just as dinner got ready. My predominant memory from dinner time growing up was the subtle (I thought) practice of eating fast enough to be one of the few to get seconds. It was normal to get called down for scooping out too much or for expecting seconds to begin with. I absolutely never remember eating til I was satisfied.

Neglect from my parents and abuse from a live-in uncle were hard on my already needy personality. I was willing to hang out with what ever group would accept me, and be just like them to fit in. It was the drug and beer group, not a good place for a girl with no boundaries. I met a nice guy and got married at the age of 15 1/2. A 16 year old COE, with a check book, turned loose in the grocery store is not pretty. I would buy all the things my parents could never afford, like twinkies, telling myself they were for my husband's lunch, but I would eat one, then another, and would have to burn the package when I got home. I put on weight for the first time, maybe 20 or 30 pounds. My husband bought all my Christmas gifts a size too small to motivate me to lose weight. Nothing was said out loud, but I understood. We divorced (for many reasons) after a year and a half. I was a loser who had shot my one chance for happiness.

Married again to my husband of almost 19 years. Had 2 kids, gained weight faster than a speeding bullet. Weighed 220 when I had my youngest. I thought that was about as big as a person ever ought to be. I tried dieting, exercising, dieting, anything that was free. Would lose enough to take the pressure off, but then go back. Any loss of control meant a total loss of control and the regaining of all I had lost and more. I was a stay at home mom, almost totally non-functional. Things slowly began to improve, we moved from a place I hated, I got a part time job, money was a little better. I was perplexed as to why the eating didn't get better when other things did. Why could I improve this or that area of my life, but had no control over the eating??

Heard of OA and went to my first meeting-a Unity Day-in 1989. Walked away from that day feeling like someone who had found a very big secret. My heart was filled with hope even though the doubts were plaguing me, like the way you feel when you almost believe in a "get rich quick" scheme. I got abstinent immediately and effortlessly. It never occurred to me not to do what the program said to. I lost all my weight and became a celebrity at the local meeting. I got a sponsor and worked the steps. Gosh, I would love to say that is the end of the story. But it takes what it takes, and I am finally able to accept that. I got in touch with what some people call my "original pain," childhood sexual abuse. Having not been able to deal with it as a child, I had convinced myself that I was a participant rather than a victim, but finally had to realize the hold it had on my life. This was amplified when my 4 yr. old son was abused by a distant member of my husband's family. Guess God knew I better get to dealing with my own, so that I could help my son. It was suddenly no longer safe to be thin. All the compliments made me feel dirty. My sponsor left town suddenly and I quit smoking and started eating. Stopped going to meetings and concentrated on dealing with my stuff and my son. It was the toughest time we have ever had. I wanted so badly to go to treatment somewhere, just let them tell me what to do, but I didn't have that option. I did it on my own, on my knees in my bedroom floor, crying and praying and feeling all that I had stuffed down for so long. I would not trade that time for anything, for I had no one else and had to turn to God. From that was born a relationship that has transformed each area of my life that I have subjected it to. Meetings are scarce in this area, about an hour away. I found my way back to OA via this wonderful group of people, in Feb of 99. In Sept. I finally got a sponsor and started working the steps again. I have been blessed with about 35 pounds of physical recovery as well as the emotional and spiritual. I am just ready for Step 7, so I will be an active participant here. Hope you weren't wanting an expert.=)




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Step Seven ~ Part 1

"Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings"



Hi, I am Karrie, a recovering COE and your guide for July. You know, the first time I did the steps, I don't remember doing much more than saying the 7th step prayer. There was no OA 12 &12 at the time, and while I am usually a strong advocate of the AA 12&12, I have found that my step 6 & 7 have benefited greatly from this new book. I am thankful for a much deeper look this time.

Back in step 6, I had my list, but what to do now? I read the OA 12&12 suggestion of making my list of defects, then writing out what they did for me, and what they now do to me. This worked great for me, and provided a lot of insight. Knowing what the defects did for me helps me to understand why I might be unwilling to let go of some of them. For instance, as a young teenager, I would "date" without my parents knowledge. I wasn't doing it because I liked sex particularly or that I wanted to be a party girl, but was subconsciously willing to trade what "they" wanted for the hugs, comfort, tenderness and attention I would receive. Even though I was never unfaithful to my husband, I didn't feel safe that I wouldn't be until I worked the steps the first time and realized what that defect had "given" me. It was removed by God, but not before I understood its use, dealt with the guilt associated and gave it all to God.

Another thing very clear to me now is that I have two kinds of defects. Those that are taken suddenly and those that are worked on slowly and methodically until they are finally taken. For a time, during the worst dysfunction of my life, I was an avid shoplifter. I had myself convinced that big chain stores had a budget for that sort of thing, and that I deserved this stuff because I had been poor all my life. It was a compulsion that drove me until the day I was tapped on the shoulder by a security guard and asked to return to the store. The compulsion was gone in that instant, never to return. It was as if I could see the truth, standing there with my baby in the parking lot, and felt such shame and guilt. Another of my character defects-one I didn't see clearly until about a year ago, is that of being a people pleaser. No boundaries, I am the girl to get the job done, never ask for help, always exhausted and resentful but didn't know why. Now this defect has taken slow methodical work, through prayer, writing, discussing with my sponsor, just an inch by inch progression.





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Step Seven ~ Part 1: Questions

"Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings"





What is your list of defects??

What purpose did they serve? What harm are they now causing?

Do you have two kinds of defects-the 'gone in an instant' variety and the'slow and steady' kind? Please share concerning this.

Did you do as many of us do and confuse humility and humiliation? If so, do you feel you have a clear picture of the difference now?

I am excited at the prospect of reading your shares on this step. Please share your ESH with others.

Much love,
Karrie





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Step Seven ~ Part 2

"Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings"



Hello to all, Karrie again, your step leader for July.

I want to start by looking at page 61 in the OA 12&12, where it discusses the fact that a shortcoming is not often removed immediatly or that it may return after being gone for a while. This has been true in my life, the cause of much frustration and discouragement. Reading here in this paragraph, it tells me that the existance of the struggle with a defect is not the sign of a lack of humilty, but rather the attitude we have toward the struggle, if it is one of surprise or shock, of a feeling of deflatedness or discouragement. This sheds new light on things for me. It then says "Real humility about our character defects carries with it acceptance."

Next it talks about the other side of the coin, our true humility meaning that we are not smug about defects that have been removed. Instead we should be genuinely relieved, always willing to admit that this was a miracle, one that could only be brought about by our Higher Power.

Humility is a gift from God, not something we can muster up on our own. Our work so far on the steps will bring a measure of this about, and the continued willingness to look at our old thoughts and attitudes that may have been preventing us from receiving the gift of true humility.

Gosh, I have to accept my defects?? I just want them out of here, removed as if they were never there. I think, though, if that happened with no work or struggle on my part, I would probably go out and find myself a whole new set of defects to play with. (grin) I find so much about myself unacceptable, and yet that has not helped me to change things, first and foremost my compulsive eating. To accept them, and me right where I am today, means total defeat, total surrender. That is what I need today, and true humililty brings me to that point. When I look at my shortcomings, I realize I have always tried to improve myself, and any time I have experienced any success at all has been when I am on my face, calling out to God for rescue from ME. I don't want to be human, I want to be perfect, and perhaps the hardest thing for me is to admit that I can do nothing. If God leaves me to my own devices right this moment, I will have food in my mouth faster than you can imagine. So I am finding a new insight about humility, and perhaps realizing that a lack of it is my biggest defect of all.






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Step Seven ~ Part 2: Questions

"Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings"


1. Have you experienced difficulty at the removal of a certain defect?? Or the return of one that had been gone for some time?? Which defect, and what was your attitude about it? One of humility and acceptance, or anger and discouragement??

2. Have you experienced true humility when a defect has been miraculously removed, or have you been tempted to take the credit or look down on others who stuggle with the same defect??

3.Do you feel you have been granted the gift of humility, or do you still struggle with attitudes that block it, such as low self-esteem, status-seeking or self-righteousness.

Much love, Karrie

 
 



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Step Seven ~ Part 3

"Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings"




Dear Loopies ~

Well, here we are, nearing the end of the month and the completion of Step 7. I have been honored to be your step leader this month, and feel it has helped me to do this step much more thoroughly than I would have otherwise.

I found myself in all the books tonight, the Big Book and both 12&12’s. In the OA 12&12 I read something that I have surely read before, but it took on a special meaning tonight and harmonized so beautifully with something in the AA 12&12. On page 75 (AA) it is talking about the change in our attitude toward God, and says “We began to get over the idea that the Higher Power was a sort of bush-league pinch hitter, to be called upon only in an emergency. The notion that we would live our own lives, God helping a little now and then began to evaporate. And then on page 65 (OA) it says “Repeated practice of step seven enables us to form a working partnership with our Higher Power through which we are relieved of the defects which have blocked our effectiveness in the world.

I have been in a strange place with food for several months now. I would surrender (so I thought) but there were things that I withheld from my sponsor, things I withheld from myself, and certainly, parts of my food plan and life that I chose not to consult God on. The result has been the most miserable kind of “on-again-off-again abstinence, which always led to slips and binges at some point and time. Some of the things or foods or circumstances were not earth shattering at all, but little dishonesties here and there, which led to the justification of leaving this or that out, and pretty soon God wanted no part of the deal. Ah, but yesterday, on my knees in surrender, I found myself at that place where I wanted to know the truth more than I wanted to continue controlling my own life, a place where I was beaten and ready to do anything to lift this merciless obsession. (why is it so hard to get there??) And so the partnership began, He is the boss and I am the servant, I come clean with my sponsor and work the program the way He inspired men to pen it down, He removes my compulsion to eat, makes healthy things that sounded boring a few days ago taste delicious, removes some of my defects and leads me to work on others.

So as the books suggest, I took my list of defects, talked to God about each one, expressed willingness to have Him deal with it whenever and however He saw fit. I recited the 7th step prayer from the big book, “My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.






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Step Seven ~ Part 3: Questions

"Humbly asked Him to remove out shortcomings"



1. Can you grasp the idea of a partnership with God? Is He a pinch-hitter in your life? Can you see the futility of running your own life and then asking for help when you botch it up??

2. On page 63-64 of the OA 12 & 12 it talks about being shown actions we are to take as each defect is being removed. Have you found that rehearsing what action you'll take when tempted or visualizing the person you are becoming helpful?

3. Have you done the final work on step 7? Please share with us your experience on this.

It has been my pleasure to work this step with all of you. Each post has been an encouragement to me. I thank you all for sharing this journey and look forward to working the remaining steps with you.

Much love,
Karrie





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