LEADER'S SHARE ~ STEP TWELVE|
My journey began so long ago, a lifetime, it seems has come and is nearly
gone. I have been in some twelve step program since 1972 and in
Overeaters Anonymous since Feb. of 1975. Does this qualify as a
lifetime? I think so. There are so many parts to this step, and where to
start is the question. Maybe I ought to just share my own experience
with step twelve.
At a large St. Patrick's Day party I noticed a great physical change in my older brother and even more in his overall demeanor and his treatment towards me. Being a younger brother meant I was used to being picked on and never being right. Billy was now listening to me and giving me credit for being correct. Mostly I noticed a big loss of weight and of course I needed to know how.
The background here is of the brother finding a diet, losing weight and
putting it back on. Whatever he did I followed both the losing and
gaining back. As I looked into his eyes there was a sense of calm that I
later realized was serenity. The question came quick and the answer
quicker. He said I'm going to Overeaters Anonymous, but it will be too
hard for you to do. Too hard for me! I'll show him. I had just been
twelve-stepped. He is gone now, but as long as I am here, so is my Billy.
Nearly a year went by until the pain of over five hundred thirty-seven
pounds became harder to live with than the fear of another failed diet.
This, then, is but one way we do this step: we carry the message, and at
times we become the message, by sharing our story at meetings or here in
this new medium. Telling people what we were like, what we did to change
and what we are like now is part of carrying the message. Service to our f2f meetings by opening and closing the entrance to the meeting place. Setting up and
putting away the chairs, making and cleaning up coffee time. These are
services for which I believe we receive a day of abstinence. While
speaking of abstinence may I say keeping abstinent is a great service to
the program as a whole.
>From time to time we are asked by people to speak to a family member
about their failing health due to terminal obesity. I was asked to visit a hospital
to help a fellow recently admitted. Congestive heart failure was the
diagnosis. However it was his love of food over God that nearly killed
him. The local fire department was called to assist in his timely removal from home to hospital. They removed the double window frame from his bedroom, placed him on his front door and eased him onto the fire truck for transport. When I saw his pitiful
condition, my heart and head said there is no recourse but to help. His
740-pound body was lying on two beds welded together. His throat was cut
so he might breath. The medical staff allowed the rules to be broken as
to visitation as he was alone in this world.
Within hours I had a list of people to visit him twenty-four hours a day
and the obese nurses were also helped. This man could not or would not
grasp the message and did not remain in program. The two hundred pounds
lost have been found with the usual bonus. I see him from time to time
and while a tear may appear in the corner of my eye, it is understood we
only carry the message - all, and I mean all, the results, good or bad, belong
to God. This, then, is but another way to do hands on 12th step work. I
have only scratched the surface of our work here, and I believe maybe this is
one of the reasons God allowed this disease, and prompted Bill Wilson to
listen to Ebby, when he was 12-stepped so many saved souls ago.
It is perhaps our new way of handling the problems and pressures of
every day living that prompts those around us to ask how these marvelous
changes have taken place. One of those smart-aleck sayings always comes
to mind because in a lot of us it rings true. When discovering our car
has a flat it became necessary to call the local crisis hotline. Now
with a belly full of program instead of food we call AAA to change the
tire. It is in how we now handle every day life that attracts people to
us and let us not forget the service of abstinence. All of this is not possible without the first few words of this step, "HAVING HAD A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING."
This spiritual awakening is essential to recovery and once obtained is a
gift from whomever our God is, and we are charged to maintain this
condition by living steps 10, 11, 12 to the best of our ability. The life
we now lead is a direct result of the steps we have taken. Keeping the
serenity so freely given depends on our willingness to do service.
My opinion is that sponsoring is not only one of the, but is the most
important service we perform, as we do get back a hundred fold of that
which we give. To be a messenger is better to me than the years spent at
service at the Intergroup and World Service level. Working on charter
and by-law changes, while challenging, may not compare to the look in the
eyes of a fellow sufferer when the lights come on and they understand.
Living in a fit spiritual condition is our guarantee of a full and
serene life. We maintain this condition by the service we perform, in
thanks for the life we have been given. I'm definitely not preaching
here; nope, not at all. This is a statement of fact. In twenty-seven years
I have NEVER encountered a compulsive overeater who
threw away his abstinence while spiritually fit.
There are no short cuts, not for those of us who were and are terminally obese or morbidly obese. The same goes for those who refuse to eat or do only to "get rid
of it." THIS IS THE EASIER SOFTER WAY !!! This, then, ends
my journey with all of you, at least in this capacity, and I but clear the
path for the one who comes after me.
For all who came on board late or just fell behind, there will be more and better to come.
I can find no other better way to live out the remainder of my life than
showing my fellows the right path. Thank all of you who stayed the
course and taught me so much. AND WHY NOT........Danny