I will begin the first step from where I am now in recovery so that there is a foundation for the approach that I will be taking for our Step Workshop.
The excerpt below is from the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" pg. 84. It is a 10th step promise, but it tells us what we are aiming for.
"And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone --- even (food). For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in (food). If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward (food) has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we have been placed in a position of neutrality - safe and protected. We have not even sworn-off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is our experience. That is how we react so long as we are in fit spiritual condition."
We are told quite simply and definitely that as long as we are in fit spiritual condition, our body/mind/spirt will heal and fall into proper balance. Therefore, I will begin each step with the Spiritual Principle involved in the Step.
Step One is about the Spiritual Principle (or Light) of Acceptance. At one end of a continuum we have Acceptance and at the other end is Denial. Our job is to come round full circle and shine the light of acceptance on our denial, which is not the opposite of acceptance but rather acceptance covered, or veiled in ignorance.
Step One is the foundation stone for all the other Steps. Each step is built upon the other. Without the foundation, we simply have collapsible or paper stairs. It is important that we understand and experience the spiritual principle behind this step.
In Step One we are asked to admit (accept) that we are powerless over food, now that seemed simple enough to me... after all I had tried every diet imaginable and could never maintain weight loss for very long. The difficulty for me was that once I lost the weight, I thought that I was normal again. I did not realize that my powerlessness over food was part of a disease that is incurable. I can only have a daily reprieve contingent upon my spiritual condition. I kept relapsing because I just didn't get it! . I kept losing the weight and thinking I didn't need to worry anymore, I became complacent and lax in my program. In essence I went back into denial because I had never really accepted the truth of my disease. And each time around, once the lion (my disease) was reawakened it was worse then before, because it was sleeping and still growing.......not dead.
And not to forget the rest of the step : "...and our life was unmanageable." This was even harder than the first piece. I mean I could see the food issue, it was very obvious, I was overweight and tired etc. etc. but I had a job, I was in University and doing very well..... and I may be isolating but it was because I was a loner...I couldn't help that. I was in complete denial! Although I said I could take the first step, I secretly believed that I was able to take care of myself good enough. But the truth was that people, places and things had enormous power over me. I relied on your opinion of me for my self worth and didn't even understand that fully until I worked the steps thoroughly and became honest with myself. I kept saying "I don't care what people think about me!" It was a lie. If someone disagreed with me, or criticized me or if I were fired from a job etc. etc. ......my self esteem suffered greatly.
When I came into OA I said that my problem was not "ego" in fact it was lack of ego. But that is denial most crafty. Because I am saying that I am "different' not like other compulsive overeaters.... this may be true of you, but you can't possibly understand me because I am not like that. And thus kept my sick self in the unending circle of denial.
I have learned that grandiose self worth and poor self esteem are two sides of the same illusory coin called "ego." Either way, I am centered in my self (ego). I am better than or I am worse then. The trouble with my having poor self esteem was that sometimes I thought it was is humility. LOL
Remember: "acceptance is never a sign of submission and is seldom a sign of approval."
It is simply the embracing of the truth of the situation. And once I did that I was able to move forward to the next step.
"The principle that we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat is the main taproot from which our whole Society has spring and flowered." (As Bill Sees It, Pg. 305)
Questions to follow in the next post.
All my love,
"And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today."
(AABB pg. 149)
Step One Questions:
1. A spiritual solution is in essence very practical. Is the understanding of "a spiritual solution" (living spiritual principles) to the program one that you are open to?...or can become open to?
2. A food plan and a sponsor are important tools of the program. Do you have a food plan and a sponsor?
3. Can you see that in Step One, acceptance is based in the reality of the way things are for this moment and not a sign of submission nor a sign of approval?
4. Poor self esteem or supposed "lack of ego" is still egoism. Can you relate to poor self esteem as still being a self-centered life stance that feeds (forgive the pun) our disease.
5. Is your life unmanageable? Do people places and things hold you hostage with their opinions and actions towards you?
5. Are you ready to take Step One fully and without reservation?
6. List three things you are grateful for at this point in your recovery.
WTS 2002 Study, 4th Quarter