Step Twelve

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of working these steps, we carried the message to other compulsive eaters and practiced these principles in all our affairs.


Step 12. Well, it's not graduation day. I'm not going to get any diplomas or awards. In fact, Step 12 reminds me of that dreadful 1970's slogan about today being the first day of the rest of your life. Step 12 puts all our step work together in two simple phrases.

Let's unwrap this gift.

Step 12 tells me that THE single point of all this work is a spiritual awakening. Not weight loss/gain, not emotional stability - a spiritual awakening. And the more I think about it, the more truth I see here. Yes, I have to put the food down (and I use the tool of a food plan to help me), but without a spiritual foundation, an awareness and consciousness of and conscious contact with a Power greater than myself, a food plan is nothing more than a diet. My spiritual connection with my HP is what keeps me from eating ... it gives me a place to go when the nasty thoughts come.

Now about carrying the message. Well, let me just say that I don't think I'm really good at it. People will ask me about OA or how I lost the weight or how come I'm not eating this or that product, and then they give me that smile that says "I don't think so." I've talked serious OA with some prospective members, trying to remember to keep it simple (like it says in the Big Book); either I'm doing something wrong, or these people aren't ready - whatever it is, my "success rate" is pretty bad. I'm not one for wandering around the grocery store handing out OA business cards. But I do tell my physicians about OA, I give them pamphlets to display in their offices, and periodically I'll get a phone call from one of them asking permission to give out my name. I figure that the best way for me to carry the message is to be willing to talk about my OA recovery when I'm asked.

And now - practicing these principles in all our affairs. Principles like honesty, faith, trust, courage (which is nothing more than fear that's felt when we do something despite the fear), willingness, humility. In *all* my affairs. That means that I can't be "cash register" honest - I need to be honest about everything in my life. That means that I don't need to check my OA baggage at the door of my office - I can bring OA and all it means to me into the office (and believe me - I have). It means that I don't only note my awareness of my conscious contact with HP when I'm in an emergency or need something - I need to keep that awareness "tangible" every and all day.

It also means that I don't graduate from this program. In fact, Step 12 is the one that tells me that I need to go back periodically and re-view the Steps from different life perspectives. It's kind of like a good book - you get to the end, and you go immediately back to the beginning. Working Step 12 essentially means that I work all the steps one day at a time to the best of my ability.

Step 12 is huge - and it's very daunting for me to write about it. My suggestion is that you read "Our Vision For You" in the Big Book or the commentary on Step 12 in the AA and OA 12&12's. Honestly - I'm not trying to weasle out on this ... it's just that these guys (and gals) wrote about Step 12 in so much greater thought and insight ... and I figure you should go directly to the source.


Well, friends, we have come to the end of this particular portion of our journey, and I appreciate everyone who has hung out til the end. No questions this time - but I would love to hear about your 2nd Quarter journey: what helped you - what didn't - what you learned (what you ignored :)) - what you took for yourself, leaving the rest.

Oh, and in case you thought I was really done ...

Hereís that good old checklist you might consult periodically as you go through your OA recovery journeys.

Are you abstinent? If youíre still eating compulsively, working the steps - even just talking about them - will become progressively more difficult. Some people believe that you can work the steps and working the steps will get you abstinent. Iím not one of those. Working the steps will remove the *obsession* for food; only abstinence/refraining from eating compulsively will remove the craving and allow you to work the steps, which will remove the obsession for food. So the question "are you abstinent?" is really a serious one. If youíre not - if youíre still turning to excess food to get through your day, your problems, your life - then what are you willing to do today so that you avoid eating compulsively, so that you avoid the compulsion?

Do you have a food plan? A plan of eating is a wonderful tool that helps give structure to food and helps us put down the foods that cause us to binge (called - obviously enough - binge foods). Work this out with your sponsor! Which brings me to ...

Do you have a sponsor? If you donít, get one. Find someone who has what you want and ask that person how s/he is achieving it. Do you want thin? Then find someone whoís thin. Do you want serenity? Find someone whoís got it. Do you want serious structure in your food? Find someone who weighs and measures everything s/he eats. Do you want someone who can answer the phone or respond to an e-mail immediately? Make sure the person you choose can give you what you want - itís really important to be as up front as possible. If you find someone, and it doesnít work it, you can change sponsors as you wish; just let the person know. You can work with more than one sponsor (although that can be tricky).

Are you getting to meetings? It really helps to be with other people who have also eaten out of garbage pails, have eaten frozen food, have eaten boxes and boxes of whatever, have eaten to the point of vomiting and then have eaten some more, have starved and then binged. You know - other people who are like you! You can find people on line or at a F2F (face-to-face AKA "live") meeting.

Do you have OA literature? It really helps to have a copy of the OA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (the OA 12&12), "Alcoholics Anonymous" (the Big Book) and maybe even the AA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (the AA 12&12). You can order them via Overeaters Anonymous at their website

Hugs and peace - God bless you all.

Step Eleven

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