Step One

We admitted we were powerless over food,
that our lives had become unmanageable.


My name is JO and I am a compulsive overeater and have been all of my life. From the time I ate everything on my plate at the age of 5 until this morning when I ate an abstinent breakfast I am a compulsive overeater. Thank heavens I found Overeaters Anonymous about 17 years ago and have learned I do not have to eat as a compulsive overeater. I found abstinence and a way of living that has changed me from a "fraidy cat" into someone willing to chance it.

About three years ago, I found this web site. I found "Working The Steps" one week at a time. I tried it and by the time I was working the 7th and 8th steps I was putting together many days and several weeks of back to back abstinence.

Before that time my OA program and recovery consisted of 3 or 4 days of abstinence followed by 3 or 4 days of binging. I never got the hang of being abstinent for more than a few days. I was part of the group of people who find fat serenity and are content to live with part of a program instead of going to any length. I used most of the tools daily and could not understand why my abstinence was short lived. It was a revelation when I learned this is a step program, not a tool program.

After working the 12 steps of recovery one week at a time I found I could be abstinent for days on end. My abstinence has changed over the years. I have tweaked it up. I did tighten a few of my rules as I found necessary. I find sharing with a food sponsor very helpful. I have learned my recovery needs my attention each day. I was fearful the program would eat into my time and take much energy leaving me unable to meet my daily obligations. What a surprise when others mentioned changes for the better in my attitude.

I used to run from challenges. I did not like confrontations. I hid when others wanted my time and energy. Today I look forward to the next twelve weeks. We are not taking on an easy task. Discipline is a mainstay of the next 12 weeks. It is through discipline and with the help of a Power Greater than our self we will come through this experience accepting who we are and knowing we are compulsive overeaters living abstinently ODAT.


WOW!! My life unmanageable? I think not. My family was doing well. My home was clean and I was keeping my head above water. So unmanageable, (?) well maybe a little.

I said these words over 17 years ago when I first came to OA. I have heard other new OAers say the same thing. All I needed was a little more discipline and my world would be fine. Get the hang of a diet so I could lose weight. I said these things when I weighed in at over 240 pounds on five feet, five and a half inches.

Today I weight 77 pounds less and have been maintaining these new numbers for several years. What happened several years ago that let me live the program instead of just playing at living the program?

For a lot of years I attended meetings. I followed a food plan for four days a week. Read OA literature. I gave service. I kept a journal. I talked to a sponsor several times a week. I respected the anonymity of members. In other words I made this a program of tools. No where does it say this is a program of tools. We are encouraged to use the tools to work the STEPS.

In order to work the program we must WORK THE STEPS. What a difference those words made in my life. Working the steps is what turned my program around. Several years ago right here in this very loop I began working the steps, one step a week. It was here I learned there is a difference between STEPS and tools. This is a program of steps.

At the first step we learn about honesty. We have to be honest with ourselves. Honesty is the keystone to working the program. I thought I was honest. I thought as long as no one was hurt what did it matter? My dishonesty was directed toward food.

I lied to myself, cheated others and stole food anytime I had the chance. I took money from Mom's purse as a child. I stole candy from school; I charged sweets at the store to my Mom's account and lied about it. If food was involved I was there getting more than my share. I was never content until all the food was gone and I made sure I got my piece of the pie plus as much of your share as I could. I considered myself a very moral person except where food was concerned. Now here is the rub. I overlooked my actions. Lying and cheating were wrong but I did not consider my food actions to belong in that category.

Talk about being dishonest with myself. When I applied Step One to my food life my dishonesty jumped out and scared me half to death. How could I be so blind? How could an intelligent adult woman lie to herself all these years?

My life was a lie. My life was unmanageable. It was then I began yearning for more than just being thin. As usual I wanted more than I had. More than was mine. It was also at that time I admitted I was powerless over food and my life was unmanageable.

"Cursed be the social lies that warp us from the living truth." Alfred Lord Tennyson: P184 "For Today"


It is an honor and a pleasure to think that someone has read what I have written. Thank you for coming this far with me. Now I ask you to be Honest with yourself and write about your food relationship.

Your challenge for Step One: Take time to reflect on your attitude toward food. How honestly do you think about food? Have you ever lied or cheated or stolen food because you wanted more than your share? Do others get their fair share before you take what you think belongs to you? Do you freely give your share of food to others, your children, your spouse, and your friends? These questions are just a guide. Feel free to share your personal thoughts about food.

This step requires honesty. Honestly reflect on your food habits and attitudes. Honestly share your thoughts with the loop. This is the first step on our journey for the next twelve weeks. Remember to keep HONESTY as your watch word this week.

I look forward to reading your shares and I pray your first step will be completed successfully.

Yours in ESH


Step Two

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