Hi everyone, I'm rose, coe.
I just want to say thank you for letting me do this writing the past few months. It's been wonderful for my recovery to really take some time for myself (and you!) and write and reflect about the program and how I work it now, contrasting that to what I've done in the past. 17+ years of this COE's recovery journey has shown me, especially now that I've had the privilege of leading this step study, that there is so much more to learn, and a zillion ways to find and do God's will. Everything we do as we strive to know and carry out God's will as we work the steps is the basic underpinning of the Twelfth Step- "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to those who still suffer, and practice these principles in all our affairs."
It took me, I think, about a year in OA before I really felt that I was in a place where I could consciously carry the message, although my transformation during that year, physically, emotionally and spiritually was pretty apparent to everyone close to me. Some people couldn't handle it-my boyfriend at the time eventually broke up with me because, as he said, he "wanted things to be the way they were before" and I sure didn't!! My sister came back from a year of traveling the world and found a different sister at home than the one she had left. My mother and I became estranged for awhile-she was a practicing COE and I just made her too uncomfortable, as she did me. Also, as the layers of fat came off, lots of other things were uncovered that stood between us, and that we needed a long time to process. It was a very difficult period for my mother and me. But all during that time, what I didn't know, was that I was carrying the message around with me; not just in my body, but my overall attitude and energy level, my ability to cope with life's inevitable ups and downs. I was no longer a moody, fragile flower who needed to be alone all the time.
After a time, people started asking me to sponsor them. I was kind of afraid of this prospect, especially as I didn't really have one myself. At first these relationships didn't work out very well, but I ultimately had sponsees who either turned into some of my closest friends, or with whom I had long, close program relationships. There is a whole chapter in the Big Book on the 12th step, because AA's founder's discovered that in order to stay sober they *had to pass on their recovery to a fellow alcoholic. There was no other way that really worked, and they had spent many long and painful years looking for one.
The first time I "twelve-stepped" another compulsive eater was when I was visiting my family, and spent some time with an old friend from high school. He and I had been binge buddies in those days, and it was hard for him to understand, and hurtful too, why I wouldn't be doing those things anymore. I started to explain what I'd been doing for the past couple of years, and slowly I saw the light really dawning. We went to a meeting that night, and he became abstinent shortly thereafter. It was amazing! I've lost contact with him, and don't know what he's up to, but he may very well still be in recovery and passing it on to others. That's the real miracle of OA.
STEP TWELVE ~ QUESTIONS
Have you had an experience of being "twelve-stepped" or providing that wonderful service for someone else?
In what ways do you think you best carry the message of OA today?
Talk about some of the small but profound ways you "practice these principles in all your affairs"
Again, I want to thank the coordinators of this list and everyone who has hung in there and participated. I've learned so much from you all, and gotten so much from everyone's shares.
love in recovery