I came back to OA at the age of 50 for the sole purpose of losing weight when I had not been able to lose weight for more than fifteen years. It was January of 2002 and I had no idea of the impact that this simple program of Twelve Steps would make on my life. I arrived weighing 299 pounds, unemployed and giving up hope of ever making anything of myself or being happy.
All of that has changed. It is difficult for me to express just how different my life is today because of the program of Overeaters Anonymous. Physically I have lost 89 pounds and fit into a women's size 14/16. To me this is absolutely totally amazing! I had NO idea this would happen to me! None! I had not been able to lose weight or wear below a size 24 since back in the mid 80's. To not only lose weight and wear the lowest size possible in a plus store, but to do it EFFORTLESSLY is a MIRACLE! Each evening I send my plan of eating to my sponsor, and when I wake up the next day, I follow my plan without craving, without bingeing and without obsessive food thoughts. Yes, my Higher Power has bestowed upon me a MIRACLE which I am soooo grateful to have received.
But that miracle came at a price, and the price was that I face the honest truth about my addiction to food and to accept that truth. The price is giving up self-will, giving up sugar and white flour, giving up the excess food that used to comfort me so. The price was giving up my defects that held me back and embracing change. Yes, the miracle of recovery does have its price. Sharing my miracle of recovery with others is also part of the cost, for I am not allowed to keep my recovery unless I share it with others through the service of the Twelfth Step.
This I do gladly. It is service that allows me to continue my willingness to pay the price of my miracle. I am treasurer of two local meetings, I lead meetings often, I lead a step meeting locally every Monday night, and I help make announcements in the papers and on television, as well as bulletin boards in the local stores. I drive OA members back and forth to meetings sometimes. I sponsor members, both locally and online. I am a member of the online OA support group called RODAT, as well as The Recovery Group. For RODAT, I write the monthly For Today readings several times a year. I have written some of the Recovery Meditations at TRG and have lead this 3rd Quarter step study at TRG called WTS. That is a lot of service, and I do it all with enthusiasm and gratefulness.
It is my work with sponsees and leading step studies that is the most rewarding for me. To help guide someone in the process of working their way through the Twelve Steps and applying those same steps to their daily lives and actually get to see someone grow emotionally and spiritually is a gift. It is hard to believe that twelve simple steps can change someone's life so dramatically, and yet it does over and over and over. I joined OA twice before I came back in January of 2002, and neither time was I successful in having recovery. It was because I did not use the steps in living my life. When someone in OA says they cannot find recovery, it is because they are not using the Twelve Steps as a guideline to living life.
I will be forever grateful to Bill W of AA and the men and women he worked with in coming up with these Twelve Steps as a way of living life in a mature, healthy and productive manner. Although my weight loss is the most visual change in me, it is my inner self that is the true difference. To be able to get through an entire day without the obsession of food ruling me is as much a miracle as is the weight loss. I am free of cravings, free of binging and free of obsessive food thoughts. My mind is open to different ways of seeing things in a more positive manner and to be able to learn more. My heart, for the first time in my entire adult life, is capable of loving others for exactly who they are, not what they can do for me. On this journey of recovery, I have found the true me, the one that had been hidden beneath a mountain of fat and food for soooooo very long. What I found is a kind, caring, intelligent and creative woman just waiting to be able to express herself in so many different ways. Today, I am the person that I have always wanted to be.
To anyone and everyone who reads this, I want you to know something. I am no different than you. For thirty-five years of my adult life, I was controlled by my disease of addiction to food and by my fears, same as all of you. It was facing the truth of my addiction and what it was doing to me and accepting the fact that I was an addict that allowed me to move forward down the road of recovery. It was my willingness to work the program of the Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous that allowed me to receive and to keep my miracle of recovery. This I know, if I can do this, so can you. The miracle of recovery can be YOURS!
Thank you so much for particpating in this step study and for giving me the pleasure of leading. It has been a wonderful experience that I will value always.
Love in recovery,
Twelfth Step Prayer:
Dear Higher Power, My spiritual awakening continues to unfold. The help I have received I shall pass on and give to others, both in and out of the fellowship. For this opportunity I am grateful. I pray most humbly to continue walking day by day on the road of spiritual progress. I pray for inner strength and wisdom to practice the principles of this way of life in all I do and say. I need You, my friends, and the program every hour of every day. This is a better way to live.
Principle of Step Twelve:
The principle of service which underlies OA's twelfth step can now guide our actions both inside and outside program. Here we experience the great truth that when we let go of our need to control people and simply allow our Higher Power to serve others through us, we receive an abundance of joy and strength.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
of Overeaters Anonymous: Page 106
To help comprehend the questions, please read The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Read the chapter on Step Twelve, answer the questions, go back and reread the chapter and add onto your answers if needed.
You might also like to read in the BB of AA the chapter titled Working with Others: Pages 89 through 103. (Fourth Edition)
1. What has been my spiritual awakening experience? How am I to remain spiritually awake and fully alive?
2. What is the message of hope I have to carry to other compulsive overeaters? What have I experienced when sharing program with other compulsive overeaters? What part has service in OA played in my recovery?
3. How can I continue to practice my new way of acting upon life "in all my affairs"?
4. What did I learn about the following principles, inherent in each step, that I can practice in all my affairs:
a. Honesty in Step One?
b. Hope in Step Two?
c. Faith in Step Three?
d. Courage and integrity in Steps Four and Five?
e. Willingness in Step Six?
f. Humility in Step Seven?
g. Self-discipline and love for others in Steps Eight and Nine?
h. Perseverance in Step Ten?
i. Spiritual awareness in Step Eleven?
j. Service in Step Twelve?
5. What is the message I am living?