Set Aside Prayer
Please help me set aside
Everything I think I know
About myself, my disease,
These steps, and especially You;
For an open mind
And a new experience
With myself, my disease,
These steps and especially You.
My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater, and leader of this workshop.
Those of you who have missed my previous shares and assignments can read them on the website: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/2006
Before I continue let me regress a bit to the way I deal with my physical health. The physical addiction is the result of an imbalance in our biochemical system. This imbalance affects the mind too and causes negative thoughts and feelings and sometimes extreme mood swings and depression. The twelve step program works on the mind and feelings by developing our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves. Thus it helps the body to balance the chemical imbalance on a daily basis, since if the body can affect the mind so can the mind affect the body.
We can also alleviate the imbalance by physical means and we do that by being clean and abstinent. We are able to do that when we work the steps.
We can do some additional things to alleviate the imbalance one of them is physical exercise. It does not matter what kind of exercise as long as I do it on a daily basis the way I follow my food plan. It may be walking, dancing, playing tennis, swimming or any other physical activity that is to my liking to some degree. Of course I have to sometimes discuss this with my doctor since I have to exercise according to my physical condition or I may harm myself. From my personal experience an hour a day is enough. We should not go to extremes. Balance in everything is the key.
The other thing that I do, is include a vitamin and mineral tablet in my food plan. This is also an important aid in helping balance the biochemical system Here too we don't have to go to extremes. Some of the professional who recommend taking food supplements really go to extremes. One has to have a very large budget in order to by all the supplements they recommend. Personally I take a multi vitamin and mineral tablet a day and include it in my food plan.
I know from experience that it helps with mood swings especially the depressive kind and helps our biochemical balance. Since I am not a professional in those areas and I don't lead this workshop as a professional, I recommend getting advice from a professional who knows the value of food supplements. The basis as far as I know is a daily intake of a multivitamin tablet. Even people who are not addicts can benefit from this and the exercise, and from abstaining from sugar caffeine and alcohol. Even if I am not an alcoholic, drinking alcohol does not help my biochemical balance. So to sum it up. my physical daily plan includes a food plan, exercise, and a multivitamin and mineral food supplement.
Now let me tell you a true story. There was a twelve step fellowship for schizophrenics in the USA, named schizophrenics anonymous. They advised a physical treatment of megavitamin therapy. They really did wonders for schizophrenics who worked the steps and followed the megavitamin therapy. They were closed up and disbanded by the authorities since in the USA only doctors can tell people to take vitamins. They were considered to be breaking the law. A lot of schizophrenics lost a formidable solution to their problem by the narrow-mindedness of the authorities.
Now Let us continue with the steps. The Big Book says that "Being convinced [of the (a), (b), and (c) on page 60] we were at step three." It does not say that we can immediately take step three.
Here is the step.
"Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."
Let us examine it.
We DON'T turn anything to the care of God in step three. We ONLY DECIDE to do it. The fact is that we still cannot turn anything to God in step three. If we could we would have only three steps and the other steps would have been redundant.
There is a world of difference between deciding to do something and carrying out the decision. For example: I decided to go to a certain movie yesterday. But I could not get any tickets. So I didn't see it and I didn't carry out my decision. The situation is similar here. The spiritual malady blocks me from conscious contact with God and I can't experience God the way I have to experience God in order to recover. Unless I do a lot of work and get rid of the obstacles that block me from God. by working the rest of the steps, I will not be able to carry out my decision..
So how do I carry out the decision in step three? By working steps four to nine and continuing to work steps 10, 11, 12 on a daily basis.
If I had to number the steps differently I would have numbered them in the following way.
Step 4-step 3a
Step 5-step 3b
Step 6-step 3c
This is just to emphasize that all the steps after step 3 are needed in order to enable me to carry out the step three decision.
Another point to consider is turning over. We DON'T turn our lives to God. God gave us our life so that we live it and don't give it back. We have to be dead for that. We turn our lives to the CARE of God. So that we benefit from his care for us and his guidance and direction, which helps us live our life as happy joyous and free persons.
An example. I had some problems with my car. So I turned it over to the care of a mechanic. I didn't turn over the car to him. It is my car and I want to continue driving it. The mechanic took care of the car and fixed the problem so that I could use it without having troubles with it.
Now what is meant by the words our WILL and LIVES? It means our thoughts our feelings and our actions past preset and future: My body lives in the now but my head runs insanely from present to past and from past to future. I have to decide to turn everything to the care of God since conscious contact can only be experienced in the now. Not in the future. I also cannot be satisfied with having experienced it in the past. It is the same as eating. I have to eat every day. I cannot continue to be satisfied now only by the memory of having eaten once in the past. Or just by thoughts about eating sometime in the future.
On page 60 there is another wording of step three: ""we decided to turn our will and our life over to God as we understood him" The word CARE is missing here and this may be misleading. My suggestion is to stick to the wording of the step in the step list on page 59.
The Big Book tells me on page 60 that I am at step three, but I cannot yet take step three. There are some requirements. I have to be convinced that when I run my life on self will it will not be a success. Since my spiritual disease causes me to be in conflict with myself with The Universe and with people around me. The root of my troubles is selfishness-self centeredness. This makes me try to run the world, the people situations and things, around me according to my way.
In fact I take it on myself to act the part of God, not from a position of unconditional love, but from a position of selfishness and self centeredness. To do this I have a tool box, some of the tools are quite virtuous, like being kind , considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self sacrificing and some of the tools are being mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. All those tools are just part of my act. Like playing good cop bad cop in an interrogation. What I want is to satisfy my selfish needs.
My troubles are therefore of my own making and I am an extreme example of self will run riot, though I usually don't think so. I usually think of myself as kind and generous but this is only a way of deluding myself. My motives even if hidden carefully by my virtuous tools are always based on my selfishness which manifests as self will run riot.
I have to get rid of my selfishness or it will kill me. But the problem is that self will cannot cure self will. I have to have God's help. So after being convinced that running my life on self will ruin me I have to quit playing God. I have to quit trying to run people places and things my way. I have to decide That God is going to run my life. This is the new idea I have to adopt. I have to surrender to God and let him be my guide and director. This idea is the new and triumphant arch though which we pass to freedom.
Now after being convinced that I cannot run my life successfully by my self will. I decide to quit playing God and let God take care of me. I have to make sure that I am ready; that I can at last decide to abandon myself utterly to God. Then I turn to God with the third step prayer.
"God, I Offer myself to Thee-to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always"
This prayer should be said aloud to an understanding person, usually my sponsor. This means meeting him face to face or if that is not possible than saying it to him over the phone. By saying this prayer I have at last taken step three. The words of the prayer are optional as long as we express the idea and voice it without reservation.
Let me look at some concepts in the prayer. Bondage of self means my slavery to my spiritual disease. I ask to be released of this in order to be able to follow God's will. I at this stage I have not yet identified the specific things that block me personally from God. Therefore the prayer uses the word difficulties and bondage of self in general. When I work steps four to six, my personal difficulties and how they affect my life will be revealed, and in step seven I will pray again asking God to remove the things that block me from him, knowing and identifying them in my life.
1. Read pages 60-63
What are the sentences that convinced you that your life cannot be run on self will, and you have to surrender your life to the care of God?
2. The Big Book says that "we had to quit playing God"
How do we play God?
3. The big book says that we must be rid of our selfishness or it will kill us. It does not say that we must be rid of our drinking (eating trigger foods) or it will kill us, How come? Share your understanding with us.
4. The Big book says that our troubles are of our own making
Do you agree with this sentence?
What about other people who abuse us rob us kill us, etc.., what about illness and accidents?
How do all these fit with that sentence?
Can you identify with the saying that this sentence gives us great hope?
5. Are you convinced that life run on self- will can hardly be a success?
Are you ready to quit playing God?
Do you decide that God is going to be your director, your principal, and you his agent?
If you can sincerely answer YES to the above you are ready to take step three.
Say the third step prayer aloud to your sponsor or someone else who understands.
Share with us.
From now on say the third step prayer every day instead of the set aside prayer.
6. The big book describes the process of taking the first three steps as building an arch through which we pass to freedom. There is the foundation, the cement that holds the stones together, corner stones at both sides of the arch and the keystone at the top. Read the following pages and copy the sentences that explain what the foundation, the cement (two parts), the corner stone and the keystone stand for.
Pages, 12, 17, 47, 62,
Share with us.
After taking step three do you feel that you passed through the arch to freedom?
Remember freedom is also a process in this program.
7. Read the chapter 'How It Works' from page 63 to the end.
Answer the following:
How long do we have to wait between steps three and four?
This step draws a map of what the illness does to us what are the three main things that are dealt with by this step?
Why are resentments called the number one offender?
Copy the sentences that describe their effect on us.
Copy the sentences that describe what fear does to us.
Do you agree with the sentence faith means courage? Share with us.
8. Share your understanding of the following words in this chapter:
Again I invite you to ask me questions. Anything that is not clear to you about my explanations, about the assignments, maybe you would like me to enlarge on some point, or to mention points that I have not dealt with. Anything at all that is connected to our 12 step workshop. There are no stupid or trivial questions. Every question is important to our understanding of what we do, in order to do it properly. I am aware that not everything I write is clear or sufficient, and the questions will enhance our understanding and therefore are very important. When you ask questions write them in a separate e-mail to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER.
Wishing us all a life full of recovery
Food addict and compulsive overeater
Questions To The Workshop Leader
1. Firstly in step 3 you said to replace the set aside prayer with the step three prayer. Can I not continue to use both as I love the set aside prayer and it reminds me to approach the program and my recover with an open mind.
2. Secondly, can you explain the meaning of step three prayer? Its just I am dyslexic and find some of the words like thy, difficult to understand when in the sentence. I have read that I can change the words but need to fully understand the meaning to do this.
3. Third question is I am not sure what 'pocketbook' refers to.
1. The set aside prayer helped us to put aside our preconceived ideas about the program, about God, about our disease, and helped us open up to new ideas. Of course it may be used whenever we want. We use the step three prayer after step three to remind us that we decided to turn our life to the care of God, and that now we have to carry out our decision by working the other steps. Of course you can use both prayers if you wish.
2. The step three prayer:
God, I offer myself to Thee-to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always
Here is the prayer as I understand it in simpler words, which I hope make it clearer to you.
God, I offer myself to your care. Please relieve me of my slavery to my character defects. So that I can better do your will. Please take away my difficulties which are my obsession and my inability to manage my life. So that other sufferers can see in me, a living proof of God's Power and Love, and realize that living the twelve steps is the way to live with God. May I always be directed by God and do God's will.
3. Pocketbook - Basic desire for money, property, possessions, etc… It is another word for the instinct of financial security