STEP TWO, PART 1
My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and a compulsive overeater. When I was new to the program I thought it was about abstinence, about going to meetings, getting a sponsor, about telling others how much I suffer, etc….
But with time I understood that all those things were helpful but they will not make me recover.
Abstinence is a necessary precondition for recovery, but the 12 step program is not about abstinence, or the best food plan, or the best sponsor. The program is about developing a new manner of living, and a new way of thinking and feeling, while I am abstinent.
Only then am I freed from my obsession with food.
The way to undergo such a transformation is to have a spiritual experience, and the way to have a spiritual experience is by developing my relations with a Higher Power that I personally choose to call God.
Here is how the spiritual experience is described by the great psychiatrist Dr. Jung.
"They appear to be in the nature of huge emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them" BB page 27. (I will write more about spiritual experiences in one of my next shares.)
This is the way this program is laid out.
Steps 1, 2, 3 are about beginning to develop a new relationship with God. I have to do it first because I am powerless and cannot do anything by myself without God's help.
Steps 4-7 are about developing a new relationship with myself.
Steps 8-9 are about developing a new relationship with others.
Steps 10-12 are about continuing to develop all three relationships and thus have a spiritual experience or undergo a spiritual awakening (which is a longer process of change with the same end results), as a result of working the 12 steps. I have to bear in mind that not only the disease is progressive. My recovery is also progressive and it's growth and development is contingent on my working steps 10-12 on a daily basis.
I began the process by admitting defeat in step one and taking some actions that should be the foundation on which I will build my recovery building. Those actions were abstinence, taking a sponsor, going to meetings, etc.
This foundation will crumble after a while if I don't continue with the rest of the steps, since the foundation is built on my fallible will power.
In step one I admitted that I am powerless, but I have not yet found a Power greater than myself that will solve my problem. The Big Book says on page 44: "...you may be suffering from an illness that only a spiritual experience will conquer." And on page 45 we are told what we have to do to begin advancing towards this spiritual experience:
"Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a POWER GREATER THAN
OURSELVES. Obviously. But where and how to find this Power?
"Well, that's exactly what this book is about. Its main object is to enable you to
find a Power greater than yourself which will solve your problem. That means
we have written a book which we believe to be spiritual as well as moral. And it means, of course, that we are going to talk about God."
It is important to emphasize that this is not a religious program. When the Big Book uses the word God, it refers to a Higher Power that we are free to call anything we wish as long as it is a Power greater than ourselves. Many different names are used for this Power, including Spirit of the Universe, Creator, and Great Reality, among others. Quite a few times this Power is called God, but you may refer to this Power by any name you believe in or feel comfortable with.
It is important to note one thing. This Power cannot be human, since our illness is beyond human help. This means that my sponsor, or my group or anything corporeal that I may choose cannot be this power, since I have to find a power that will solve my problem, and no human being or group of human beings can solve it.
What does this mean? To me it means that this power has to be an incorporeal one.
A whole book devoted to enable me to find a power greater than myself that will solve my problem seems very exciting stuff. If I was invited to meet the president of a country, or a famous movie star, or some other famous person, would not it have been exciting?
Here is a program that invites me to meet God, which is the supreme celebrity.
So friends does it not entice you to drop everything and go read the Big Book? To study it and read it, because this is our road guide to God.
Some of us may not be so impressed or enthusiastic, because our idea of God may be a bit different than an all-loving being. When I joined program, I didn't think much of God. God punished those who didn't obey rules set in ancient books. God was responsible for all the misery, and suffering and pain in this world. God was to blame for the suffering and death of innocent children. God was responsible for members of my family being killed, and he was responsible for my compulsive illness and for my miserable hopelessness. God never answered my prayers, so why should I believe that God is such a nice being and will help me now? I preferred to think that there is no God at all than to think that there is one who is such a cruel being.
I don't know about you friends but I really had to undergo a transformation in all my ideas about God and the universe in order to work this program, and it was not easy. This beginning to develop a new relationship with H.P. was a very difficult ordeal for me.
SUBJECTS FOR SHARING:
1. What were your ideas and attitudes towards the God of your understanding before joining program, and did they change?
2. How do you personally reconcile (if you think such a reconciliation necessary, or possible), a God that will solve our compulsive eating problem, and all the misery, pain, cruelty, and catastrophes, including catastrophes of nature, that happen in this world?
3. If you choose a Power greater than yourself that is not the God of your understanding, what is that power?
Have a nice day.