STEP THREE, PART 1: You want me to do *what?*
I'm Penny, a compulsive eater and food addict.
Step 3 made me crazy. I had finally come to believe that there was a
Power greater than myself, that I wasn't the all-powerful be all and
end all of the universe. And now OA was asking me to turn my will and
my life over to that Power's care? Not to mention that here was the G
word - God. So maybe God was more powerful than I. But that didn't
mean that I *trusted* God. And what was *my* will anyway? And how
*did* I go about turning my will and my life over to God's care?
At first the cons of Step 3 outweighed the pros. God couldn't
possibly be interested in what I ate. God had let me down before, and
I couldn't trust people - how could I possibly trust God (again)? If
I turned myself over to God's care, wouldn't I become - as the AA
12&12 puts it - the hole in the doughnut and lose myself entirely?
Dependence meant weakness and neediness, no?
And yet my way of living wasn't working. I was obsessed with food, my
weight and my size. I was experimenting with food plans, hoping I
could find the perfect food plan that would remove the obsession. I
was terrified of holidays and the deprivation I might feel because I
couldn't eat what everyone else was eating. I needed a different way
to look at food, and the food-related benefits of taking Step 3 were
"If we want to live free of the killing disease of compulsive eating,
we accept help without reservation from a Power greater than
ourselves." (OA 12&12, p. 19)
We "... experienced a period of complete freedom from the obsession
with food and the compulsion to overeat ." (OA 12&12, p. 20)
"... when we give up self will regarding food and completely turn our
lives over to our Higher Power, we receive all kinds of guidance."
(OA 12&12, p. 21).
"This abstinent way of life continues on a daily basis." (OA 12&12, p. 24)
My life was a mess as well. I battled myself and everyone around me.
I lived in fear every day, waiting for the carpet to be pulled out
from under me. I loathed myself. I made rush decisions that I
immediately regretted. I was floundering. I couldn't take care of
myself. The life-related benefits were also enticing:
"... our Higher Power will give us the knowledge of our best course in
life, along with the willingness and ability to follow that course,
even when it seems difficult and uncomfortable." (OA 12&12, p. 24)
"We have what we need." (OA 12&12, p. 27)
But what about being independent? What about being my own person,
answerable to no one and taking orders from everyone? The AA 12&12
told me that "... dependence is a chief source of strength." (AA
12&12, p. 39) It talked about my depending on a lot of things, like
electricity. That made sense. As a new mom, I depended on babysitters
to help me leave my children for a few hours. I depended on the
telephone company to provide service. As a new OA, I depended on
meetings to be where they were supposed to be. And I had come to
depend on my sponsor and my group to provide love and an ear.
What about people that had let me down? What about God? Well, people
were human, and they were bound to let me down at some point; my
problem was that I had been overly dependent on them (the AA 12&12
talks about the danger of being overly dependent on parents - that
rang a serious bell for this emotionally developmentally-arrested
woman). And I soon came to realize that perhaps I had been asking God
the wrong question: instead of asking God to help me lose weight,
maybe I needed to ask God to help me keep the food out of my mouth.
Instead of asking God for this or that, maybe I needed to ask for
whatever was in my best interest. Maybe these OA's were right.
The bottom line was that according to everything I heard and read, "... the effectiveness of the whole (OA) program will rest upon how well
and earnestly we have tried to come to a decision to turn our will
and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood (God)." (AA
12&12, p. 34-35) Over and over I read that I had to "... accept help
without reservation from a Power greater than ourselves. We now say
yes to this Power, deciding from here on to follow spiritual guidance
in making every decision." (OA 12&12, p. 19). I had to "... trust a
Higher Power with our lives." (OA 12&12, p. 19) If I turned "... the
entire problem over to our Higher Power," I'd get all sort of
The evidence was overwhelming, and I became convinced. In Part 2,
we'll talk about what we actually do to take Step 3.
Questions for journaling/sharing:
1. What are your thoughts/feelings about trusting a Higher Power
2. What are some of the things that might keep you from taking
3. What are some of the benefits that you either hope to gain or
have gained from taking Step 3?
4. "... dependence is a chief source of strength." (AA 12&12, p.
39). What do you think?
Thanks for letting me share.
Yours in recovery,