LEADER'S SHARE ~ STEP SEVEN|
Some things I have had to learn from others, because I did not have the
skills to do what was needed, nor the experience to figure things out for
myself. One of the great joys of program for me has been the realization
that I was not alone, and that I did not have to reinvent the wheel. Many,
many others have gone before me, leaving me a great legacy of experience,
strength, and hope. For this, as for so much else, I am grateful.
You may have some idea how much of a stumbling block this step was for
me, in the beginning. I have indicated some of that in my essay. All sorts
of things got involved, from my own personal theology to my ego. I would say
that I could never have done this step without help, because I was not able
to see how I could do it on my own. I had little experience to prepare me
for it, few skills, a general lack of knowledge of what was involved.
Now you have heard from me how God was able to remove my compulsive
hunger when I sought that from God. No one was more amazed than I that it
worked! I know that I felt thankful and grateful, but you can believe me
that I also felt no little bit of fear. Having a miracle happen to one who
had never realized that I myself am a miracle is amazing to say the least. I
told you how this happened twice to me in close proximity of time. That will
tend to make a believer out of someone, and it certainly was a beginning for
me. It is wonderful to have the compulsion to overeat removed, even one day
at the time. This certainly meets one big, even essential part of the
problem head on. There can be little in the way of recovery if there is no
abstinence, no refraining from compulsive eating. And after so many heroic
failures (read diets), I had found that there was a way that worked, but I
was not the worker of it. I just had to stay conscious long enough to let go
and let God. Staying conscious is in and of itself something of a great
I have had more than one sponsoree come crying about their failure to
remain conscious. As one said, "I had finished off two dozen [round foods
with hole in center] before I came to." Another solved her problem with some
help from her husband. The family all liked the very things that were her
trigger foods, and since they had no problems, it really wasn't fair to ask
them to give them up. These foods could, however, be stored in a pantry, so
all agreed together to help mother. They put a lock on the pantry, and
everybody had a key except her. Whatever works is probably good. Since the
first person was doing the dirty deed in the company snack room, I suggested
that he never go there alone, nor remain there alone. Find someone to get
coffee with, and get out. Get in cahoots with someone, if necessary. You
can just say you're trying to stay on a diet, and would they help you. So
that worked for him. In time, we become conscious without having to resort
to such things, but whatever works for us is what we have to do. I even
heard of someone who put a padlock on the refrigerator, and every evening
locked it and put the key in the mail box at the end of the driveway. Takes
a really concerted effort to raid the fridge at night if you have to get
dressed and take a hike first. And so we all take whatever first steps are
necessary to get on board, get abstinent, and get to work on the Steps.
But now we are going in a bit further. We are out of the wading pool and
into the diving end of it. And here are some things my sponsor taught me.
Believe that the same Higher Power that could relieve your compulsion
actually does love you, and will help you. Think of yourself as standing
bathed in that love, as one might be bathed in brilliant sunshine. Let the
frightened child you once were be held up there, too, and experience the
reality that your Higher Power is loving, and loves you very much. At this
point I was still in the wading pool.
Now, let's take a situation. One of my problems was that my poor mother
had no one to turn to when she felt that my father was doing her wrong. She
turned to me, because I was there. Children are not able to process such
information well. And there was rage, and nowhere to put it, except to eat
some more. (This was not the start of my troubles by any means.)
Then one day many years later my wife comes to me with a problem at work.
Something about this situation resonated with the old situation. I found
myself tuning out, and getting angry -- at her. And she calls me on it,
asking why I can't hear her story she needs to tell, nor deal with her with
enough love to respond with concern instead of rage. And I don't know the
My guru/sponsor has many more years in program than I, and wonderful
recovery in every respect, so why not discuss this? The suggestion was made
that more consciousness was needed.
Go and practice, not just holding yourself and your own inner child up to the
light, but hold up your wife and the frightened child in her up to the light
along with yourself. Do this every day, maybe oftener, if you can.
Now John may be a lot of things, but one thing he cannot do is to add to
the fears of a frightened child, or it's adult. After a fairly short time of
practicing this, I found that the rage I had been feeling was gone. Now I
could hear and respond lovingly. Another HP miracle had taken place, and you
can ask my wife. I am not at all certain that I will not find myself raging
in other contexts, or with other people, but I sincerely believe that I now
have a way of taking that defect to my HP, and letting HP do whatever needs
to be done in HIS/HER/ITS humble opinion, not mine!
Anger is legitimate when someone is crossing one of my expressed
boundaries. It fuels me to do something to make them stop. But when I find
myself raging when someone has not crossed my boundary, you can be sure that this image will come out quickly for me. I hope in time immediately.
Somehow, it's hard to be angry when that loving light sweeps over us all
together. Somehow, it's hard to sustain anger when you realize that another
is a frightened or upset person who has done you the honor of turning to you
for solace or help. And I am now an adult. The old response came from a
child trying to survive. The new response came from the Higher Power who was
trying to drag me kicking and screaming into a new maturity in the program of
the Twelve Steps.
Some rage is gone, some fears that caused it assuaged. A little bit of
progress. I have miles and miles yet to go, but by the grace of my Higher
Power, I have already come some distance. And a little more of my life is in
the hands of One who does in fact control creation, and that gives me one
less thing to worry about. I still have enough.
This is my story. What's yours? Where do you find the sacred space
where you can leave your defects? How do you go about raising your
consciousness so that you can think before you eat, and come to think before
you blow up -- or run away? And remember, that if you, like me, need help, it
is here. There are many of us in this workshop. Many of us have wonderful
sponsors. We have our groups, our meetings, f2f and on line. No few of us
have therapists. And there's even me, such as I am, and such as I am is here
for you, too.
Share with me.