Step Twelve

Having had a spiritual awakening as
the result of these steps, we tried to
carry this message to compulsive overeaters
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



STEP TWELVE~QUESTION #1

If you have an AA or OA 12 & 12, read Step 12. Discuss and reflect upon the actions you have taken to "carry the message." "The joy of living is the theme of the twelfth step..." discuss and reflect on what is joyous in your life. How have these things come about? How is service to others an insurance policy in your life? Discuss and reflect on the idea that "I will have peace of mind in exact proportion to the peace of mind I bring to the lives of others." Discuss and reflect on how this becomes "practicing these principles in all our affairs."

LEADERS SHARE:

I carry the message by giving service by leading/speaking at meetings, serving as a loop coordinator, sharing with other compulsive overeaters who attend the overeater support group at my church. I share this program on a one-to-one basis at work when I note somebody who is suffering from this disease. I have joy from the fact that god is in my life. Through God, all things are possible for me. Knowing the fact that my life actually has a purpose brings tremendous joy to me. Giving service at the disabilities ministry at church makes me feel warm inside every Sunday. Yesterday, it made me feel glad that I offered rides to a luncheon to two people in my office who are both disabled. People in my office normally carpool to luncheons. But these two individuals usually drive alone in their own cars because nobody invites them to ride along. I know how it feels to be alone when I am not invited myself because of my disability. I was able to invite these two individuals in order to make a difference for them. This is an example of god using a deep hurt from my past to help others who are experiencing the same hurts. Sharing compassion (something I used to not think I could do) with others makes me feel good inside. Praying for other people who need extra support also makes me feel good.

I used to try very hard in everything I did in order to achieve higher accomplishments. When I am helping others, it is for them, not me. Even though, I get a lot out of giving service, for me the focus must always be the other person.



STEP TWELVE~QUESTION #2

Did you have a spiritual awakening? Was it vital to your recovery? When did it take place? Can you define it? Reflect on and discuss the idea that the basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening.

Discuss and reflect on how "acceptance is the answer to all of our problems......."

Write about how working the program has brought joy to your life.

Discuss what needs to be done to be most effective in helping those who still suffer.

LEADERS SHARE:

I did have a spiritual awakening that continues even to the present day. My experience is the "garden variety" as described in the AA Big Book. The process has been taking place over the last 23 years in program. The spiritual part of my program continues to grow today. The most significant experience was seven years ago at an OA men's retreat where the topic was prayer, meditation and contemplation. It was at that retreat that I really got connected with God. Another event was about 14 months ago when I started attending church again after not attending for 20 years. I was kicked out of church in 1982 because both of my daughters were diagnosed with autism. Because of that experience, I could not step into a church for a long time. To deal with fear is to know that God is in charge and He wants what is best for me. Sometimes his lessons are a bit painful but I learn from them.

Acceptance is the answer to my problems because I know God is in charge and I seek His guidance and direction when something bugs me. When something bothers me, I express my feelings to God. God does listen to me and he wants what is best for me even though I may not understand what it is.

This program has brought a lot of joy to my life because I now know that I am part of this world just like anybody else. This program taught me that I do not take up a space and that I really do have something to offer. Today, I am a whole and worthwhile human being.

I can be most effective in helping those who still suffering by first working the program to the best of my ability on all three levels; Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual. If I do not have it, I cannot offer it. But I have received so may gifts that I can share my experiences with others. There are many with a terrible childhood like mine. Maybe the circumstances were different, but the pain is still the same. I can share how I acknowledged the wrongs committed against me to God, asked God for the willingness to forgive the persons who hurt me, and ask God to forgive them. I can share the peace this has brought to my life. Also, I can share my gift of abstinence and how it has improved the quality of my life.



STEP TWELVE~QUESTION #3

The AA Big Book tells us "we cannot transmit something we haven’t got." On the same token, many of us have received numerous gifts from the program that we can share with others. For example, if a member is able to reach a close relationship with God, then they can share that with others and how they got it. If a member is abstinent, then they can share that with others and how they got it. Make a list of the gifts you received from the program that you can share with others today. If you came across a newcomer today, what can you share with that person? Use the following format for your list:

My Gift from Program:

What I can share about this gift with others today:

LEADERS SHARE:

My Gift from Program:
Abstinence

What I can share about this gift with others today:
I share that I am abstaining from sugar and flour one day at a time through God's grace

My Gift from Program:
Emotional stability

What I can share about this gift with others today:
*My negative childhood experiences and how I overcame them through program
*Learning to not allow people to take advantage of me
*Knowing that I am a worthy person
*My life has a purpose and I am not just taking up a space
*People who hurt me in my past were wrong and it was not my fault
*I can forgive those who hurt me and ask god to do so also

My Gift from Program:
Spiritual

*I have a higher power that I call God
*I am now regularly attending church that accepts me just as I am
*I am involved in the disabilities ministry, helping those who are disabled to learn that they are worthwhile people and that they really do matter
*Even through my toughest times, God was always with me when I did not know it



STEP TWELVE~QUESTION #4

As we finish this quarter’s step study, this is a time for all of us to reflect over the last three months. From all of the questions, beginning with the questions for step #1 through the previous question for step #12, answer the following questions:

Which question(s) were easiest to answer? Why?

Which question(s) were most difficult to answer? Why?

Did any of the questions cause you to be upset? Why?

Did any of the questions cause you to change anything you do in your life? Describe

How is your program different than what it was three months ago?

The AA Big Book tells us that we cannot keep it unless we give it away. How do you plan to give service to the program?

LEADERS SHARE:

The questions for step #1 were the easiest for me to answer. I always knew that I was messed up as far as food goes. I learned during the last three years how the food made things totally unmanageable. The questions were easy for me because my answers reaffirmed what I had right in front of me.

The questions for step #4 were the hardest for me because new memories came up for me as I was answering the questions myself. My childhood and adolescence was terrible, at best. The memories were very painful for me. One day after answering the question at 3:45am it made me feel sad all day at work. I guess if I answered all the questions again, more "stuff" will come out.

The questions that brought up painful memories of my childhood and adolescence did made me very upset. The memories of other kids slapping both my ears from the behind with my hearing aids on while the teachers looked the other way made me feel all alone in the world. Being told that I was ugly and I should never smile made me feel that I was not worth anything, so why even try. Being forced to submit to simulated oral sex while standing on my hands and knees during the 8th grade while the fellow students were spitting and hissing at me made me feel that I was totally worthless. Being attacked, beaten up, and teased made me want to isolate. The memory of spending an entire summer in my bedroom because I did not want to face anybody made me feel very sad. I grew up thinking that everybody hated me and nobody would ever like me or want to be with me. I was forced to live in a fantasy world in order to survive.

During this 12 week period, I was able to receive healing for all of these experiences by acknowledging to god that what was done to me was wrong and that I was hurt very badly, I asked God to give me the willingness to forgive the people who hurt me, and I asked God to forgive them.

My life was changed when I was able to ask God for the willingness to forgive those who hurt me. I said this prayer every day for over one week before the feelings were lifted from me. When a painful memory comes up, I continue to ask for the willingness to forgive and I ask God to forgive. Yes, my life is different because I do not have to carry the burden of a terrible childhood and adolescence. God is awesome because He is able to heal me of the hurts and wounds that remained inside of me. As other hurts and/or wounds are discovered, God will heal me of them also. I also learned that forced isolation by others against me is unacceptable. When others choose to leave me out or exclude me, I have a right to speak out.

My program is different because I can share my experience with others who are suffering. When I come across a newcomer, or anybody else, in program who is experiencing these types of feelings, I can share what I did to recover and that there is a solution. As I grow in program over the years, I can share my growth with others.

I will continue to give service by leading the eating disorders small group at my church. Many of the people who come for the first time have never heard of 12 step programs. I can share what the 12 steps have given me and how the steps added to the quality of my life. The newcomers find out that they do not have to do it alone. They have god and their fellow members on their side. I bring meeting directories for the three local intergroups in my area.

I want to close this step study by expressing my deepest gratitude for being allowed to give this service. I have been reading the shares that are posted each day. Each and every one of you who posted your shares have touched me in at least one way through your answers to the questions. This study has really helped me grow in my program as well by answering the questions myself. In addition to this step study, I participated in a six week study sponsored by my church that focused on the fact that we all really have a purpose in life. Between these two studies, my program really blossomed beyond anything that I could imagine.

At the beginning, I was worried about my ability to be able to give this service. I did not know if I could adequately lead this study by coming up with the questions. I prayed about this over and over. I asked god to see me through this all the way. I prayed some mornings before turning my computer on to post the next question and to write my answer. God came through for me in developing the questions from the material I accumulated over the last 23 years. I answered the questions myself as if I was not the leader. I guess this is why I was able to grow so much in my program during the last three months. I give all the credit where it is due, and that is to GOD! Without God, I could not have done this.

I welcome each and every one of you to contact me privately at djt.cpa@verizon.net to let me know how your program is going. I maintain contact with a number of fellow members from all over the world. It is the constant contact and fellowship with fellow compulsive overeaters that makes me want to continue to grow in my program. If any of you attend f2f meetings in the greater Los Angeles area, I hope someday to be able to personally meet you.



Love In Recovery,
Dennis

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