Step Twelve

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps,
we tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Step Twelve Essay

We are now at the next Step before Step One. Working the Steps ought to become a daily practice for us. Doing the Twelve Steps is the best exercise we can do! And then we ought to make up some discipline for giving them a thorough going over from time to time. For me, this has usually been an annual trek, but this time it will have been a three months' experience. And it has done me a world of good. I hope it has helped you.

For you will realize that I have done nothing more than a part of the Twelfth Step, trying to carry this message to other COEs. But how important that is. Service is one of the major ways we have of staying abstinent -- and service is carrying the message, whether by word or deed.

Finishing the Steps is the first act. Many of you are behind, but do not despair. There is no time limit on it, so long as you progress. You may post your Step work to WTS at any time, and you may use my suggestions or those of another. The main thing is to work them through to the end. Recovery is fragile, but it is so much stronger when we have actually worked the Steps. That's why this is a Twelve Step Program. There are Tools of Recovery, and they are very important, but the Twelve Steps are the sine qua non (without which nothing) of recovery.

A part of the plan which we unveiled in late December of 2000 was that those who participated in this round would be asked to serve as Step sponsors for any in the next round who might seek such. I plan to volunteer myself, and I hope all of you will, too. I can assure you that there is nothing that consolidates our own work better than sponsoring others in it.

The Twelfth Step speaks of having had a spiritual awakening. Now, spiritual awakening is something that is highly personal to each individual. But there are some things that may be universally true, or nearly so, that we can say about it. A spiritual awakening has been described as turning around and noticing reality for the first time. The reality we may have noticed is that we have a Higher Power who can and will keep us in recovery if we stay in touch with HP. For some, this is also a religious conversion, but for others it is not, and whichever way is your way is what is best for you. But the Awakening is the real key -- we find someone/something that we can trust, and which is worthy of our trust, often for the first time in our lives.

But this awakening is just like everything else in our program. To keep it, we have both to give it away and to internalize it. Thus we take the message to other COEs and we practice these principles in all our affairs. Taking the message may be to help someone to come to the program, or it may be helping others already in the program. It may be as simple as coming a little early and helping to arrange the chairs at a face to face meeting, or an encouraging word to someone on the loop. We help keep our egos smaller by service to others in program.

But also, we internalize the program. Whenever I have an encounter with someone, I can choose to run that relationship by some evaluative parts of the Steps, and see if I am OK with what is going on, or perhaps owe an amends. They get so much easier when this becomes a habit. And we live so much easier without harboring all those resentments. Each day, we strive to stay conscious, by having a food plan of some kind, by turning it over, by keeping in touch with good old HP. We learn to recognize the things we cannot change, and give them over to HP, while working on the others. We are becoming deeply serene.

And abstinent, and more normal in our relationships, and healthier, and happy.

We will be free from this compulsion one day at a time for the rest of our lives.

I would like to conclude with this prayer:

O Higher Power, you seek to heal all who come to you. Look with compassion upon all who through addictions have lost their health and freedom. Restore to us the assurance of your unfailing mercy, remove from us the fears that beset us, strengthen us in the work of our recovery, and to those who care for us, give patient understanding and persevering love. Amen.



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