Step Two

Came to believe that a Power
greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


My name is Dodee and I'm a compulsive eater.

There are a couple of "small words" in this step that I love. Well, I guess the first is the phrase "came to believe." It suggests a process. And that makes it ok if I don't have that belief when I start. I can take baby steps with this step and it's ok. The other little word is "could". When used in this context, we don't have to already believe that this program will work -- that all our compulsiveness will magically be removed -- we only have to think that there is a possibility it will work. Both of these things give me the freedom to explore ideas -- to start the process from whatever point I am at the time. Instead of feeling guilty as I do when listening to some religious things, I feel hope.

Is it possible that a Power greater than I can remove my compulsion to overeat and to eat certain foods can be removed? Perhaps it is!

During the week, I have read from the pamphlet I mentioned last week -- A Guide to the Twelve Steps for You and Your Sponsor, from the OA Twelve Steps and Traditions, from the AA 12 x12 and from the Big Book.

For those doing this step for the first time, I love the account in Bill's Story when he figured out that Ebby "had got religion." Bill had rejected religion earlier in his life, he had made decisions and really thought he was too smart for it. But when Ebby came to visit, Bill saw that Ebby had been given the thing that Bill didn't even dare hope for anymore. He had been given the gift of abstinence from drinking alcohol.

As Ebby sat across the table from Bill, Bill became willing to think about changing his ideas. He was given hope. He did tell Ebby that he had some problems with religion and Ebby said this to him.

"My friend suggested what then seemed a novel idea. He said, "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?"

That statement hit me hard. It melted the icy intellectual mountain in whose shadow I had lived and shivered many years. I stood in the sunlight at last.

It was only a matter of being willing to believe in a Power greater than myself. Nothing more was required of me to make my beginning. I saw that growth could start from that point. Upon a foundation of complete willingness I might build what I saw in my friend. Would I have it? Of course I would!"

But in the OA 12 x 12, it says that sometimes those of us who already have a concept of a HP have more trouble with this step because we are not willing to "go back to the drawing board" (my term). In other words, we have a concept of a Higher Power, but we believe that our HP is too busy to take the time to help us stop eating compulsively. And somehow we are given the idea that it might be sacreligious to question the existance or characteristics of that HP.

I think I was in that group. The religion in which I grew up stressed a personal relationship with a HP, but I had turned my back on that belief some time before I ended up in OA. When I heard the steps read in that first meeting, a small voice said to me "will you come back?" and I said "yes." So I thought I was done with that step.

It was much later in the program that I did the work of defining what I wanted and needed my HP to be. And I needed that definition in order to "act as if" it were all true.

The other part of this implies that we are insane. That's pretty strong wording. "restore us to sanity." Only when I look closely at myself and my actions, after the denial is removed can I see that I did pretty crazy things with food.

The OA pamphlet I mentioned in the beginning lists some of the inconguities. But they all boil down to this: Our actions bring the opposite results of our wishes. We wish to be thin, and we eat more. We wish to have healthy bodies and we fill up on empty calories and sit in a chair instead of move.

We recently have been painting the ceiling in our townhouse. We moved furniture and looked at the room in new light and saw all the defects that were hidden from us because we were so used to looking at it.

When we are eating compulsively, we don't want to know what we are eating and how we are eating it. Sometimes it takes a look (that look!) from a freind or co-worker to snap us into reality. Sometimes it takes a doctor or friend intervening. Sometimes our bodies let us know we just cannot eat like that anymore. We contract bad knees and hips and can't walk or exercise without pain or get hypoglycemia or diabetes. Sometimes we find clothes that have shrunk while hanging in a closet.

When we make our list of the crazy things we do with food, we should keep it because it will be helpful in making our food plan -- in finding our binge foods and binge behaviors. We are starting to shine a new light on our overeating.


1. Are you the highest power in the universe? If not, there must be a Power greater than yourself.

2. Are you willing to believe there is a possibility that a HP could help you stop eating compulsively?

3. What characteristics do you want and need your HP to have?

4. Are you willing to act as if your HP has these qualities for 24 hours? If not, how about for one hour?

5. Can you see insanity in your thoughts and actions -- especially regarding food and overeating?

6. What are (were) some of the inconguities in your thoughts and actions?

7. Make a list of your insane reactions to certain foods or certain behaviors that results in a binge. If you don't want to share it here, just send it to your sponsor.

8. Are you willing to act as if your HP can take away the destructive actions?

Step One

Step Three

WTS Home
The Twelve Steps
Recovery Home

Copyright 2004 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved