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.


Hi, my name is Thumper and I am a compulsive overeater. I've had many wonderful sponsors in the past and I've learned some invaluable lessons - lessons for which without I'd have never found recovery or abstinence. One of the things though that never quite got passed on to me was this importance of working with others. It all seemed to be about finding a Higher Power, turning my will and my life over, taking inventory, removing my character defects, making amends, improving my conscious contact, and going to lots of meetings to share my experience, strength, and hope. But for some reason, it always seemed to end there and although I knew something was missing, I didn't quite know what it was.

The insight into this program that was to change my life came not from a sponsor and not from reading the literature, but from watching a movie on TV called "My Name is Bill W." starring James Woods and James Garner. It wasn't until that time that I finally understood, in its totality, the concept behind working the twelve steps. Those first eleven steps were so important, yes, but they were nothing more than the steps necessary to enable me to do the 12th step.

Like Bill W.'s experiences with failure trying to get drunks sober, so has my own experiences been with trying to help compulsive overeaters get abstinent. For every one person I've worked with who is still abstinent today, dozens have returned to compulsive overeating. I never really know if it is my own inadequacies with sponsorship or if it is just the nature of the beast. I only know that I can't quit trying, because when I do, excess food is the inevitable result. Although I care for the well being of those I work with, it doesn't matter if they are abstinent or not. That is not a prerequisite for me to work with them. The value I get to my own recovery is the same whether they are into the food or not. Its may be even possible that the worse time they are having, the more I get from the relationship.

I knew a person once who kind of boasted that all of their sponsees were abstinent. This seemed quite incredible to me until I learned that if they weren't abstinent, they were fired by this sponsor! Duh! Remember the old phrase "preaching to the choir?" So I do the best I can. Maybe I haven't been able to help very many people, but as a result of trying, I've been abstinent for 2 years, 1 month, and a week and am maintaining a 130 lb. weight loss. This program works if I work it.

I'll close with one of my favorite quotations from the Big Book.

"OA has given me serenity of purpose, the opportunity to be of service to God and to the people about me, and I am serene in the infallibility of these principles that provide the fulfillment of my purpose. OA has taught me that I will have peace of mind in exact proportion to the peace of mind I bring into the lives of other people." (AABB, page 551)

Thank you for letting me share and for allowing me to have done this service. All of you have been intrinsically involved in my last 12 weeks of abstinence and for that, I will be eternally indebted to you.


Step Eleven

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