Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.


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 achievement.

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 answer.

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.


Step Six

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