STEP TWELVE

Sought through prayer and meditation
to improve our conscious contact with God
as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge
of His will for us and the power to carry that out.







Essay

MY PERSONAL FORMULA FOR P R O G R E S S

MY LIFE - The Mess of Yesterday = PROGRESS

This was my formula for determining if I am "practicing these principles in all my affairs".

Here was:

MY PERSONAL RECAP OF THE TWELVE STEPS (written when I was just a newbie)

  1. I realize that on my own, I can't.
  2. My HP can.
  3. I think I will turn over my will to my Higher Power and see what happens.
  4. I will make an honest list of "my part" in my life events.
  5. I'll admit these things to HP, myself, and another person. [Actually my "person" was an Ethan Allan chair for many years].
  6. I'm ready to rid myself of these things I may have done wrong. [My sponsor had to help me sort them out in my Step 5].
  7. In humility, I ask HP to rid me of these things.
  8. I will make a list of all persons I harmed and make amends.
  9. I am wiling to make amends where possible.
  10. I'll continue to take my inventory and admit when I am wrong.
  11. I will seek conscious contact with my HP.
  12. I have experienced a closer contact with HP because of these Steps, and I will continue to carry the message in the way I live my life.


Working the Steps is one of the most important ways that you will work this Program. Abstinence is yet another way to work your recovery and carry the message to others who are suffering, those that need to know that there is hope from compulsive overeating. Abstinence for me occurred by practicing some of the better behaviors of those who have the recovery that I am seeking. The folks who had great recovery all had 4 things in common:

  1. They had a pretty strong, regular relationship with their Higher Power.

  2. They worked the Steps over and over and over again. They never "graduated" from this Program.

  3. They gave service whenever and wherever they could.

  4. And most admitted that they had jumped in and started doing the first 3 items until they finally were awarded this 4th item, which is: ABSTINENCE.


I want to mention that my own abstinence was very shaky when I first worked through the steps. I just had not gotten the hang of what it is to work program. I had to listen at meetings and take many notes at workshops and listen to so many OA workshop tapes and Cd's.

Working the Steps felt similar to how I'd felt when learning to ride a bike. Doing my inventories and the amends felt like learning how to breathe underwater using a scuba oxygen unit. I had to learn how to depend on an outside source while taking controlled breathes and doing the work at hand.

At time I felt a bit insincere because I was angry about what others had done to me. By owning up to my part in personal life events and working the steps, I reclaimed myself. It was like having a chance to grow up again.

While I have heard it said that a person should not work past Step 3 unless they are abstinent, thank goodness this is not true! A long time member of OA pointed out to me that the only way some of us can get abstinent is to begin IMMEDIATE PRACTICE of the steps, working through them just as quickly and honestly as possible. He confirmed what I had already witnessed in the real-life recovery of others in Program! Practice, practice, practice!

Over time, the overwhelming desire to change and the practice of this program will bring about the abstinence that you seek. 'What you focus upon will grow.

Imagine if I were to give you a present--the wrappings are so very beautiful, yet you hate to destroy the pretty bow and lift the lid because it looks like a picture, just sitting there.

So, you leave the gift unwrapped. The beautiful box sits there for 3 months, 6 months--a YEAR, untouched. This incredibly beautiful box with its life-saving contents goes absolutely UNUSED! What a waste! Absolutely!

This is how some folks treat the gift of recovery. It looks so great; it's certainly been good for others, but they'll just leave it sitting there. They don't unwrap the package, they don't take out the tools they've been given and learn how to use each one--some don't even bother to lift the lid.

My intent toward every one in this study is that you should receive your gifts. I don't know what those gifts will be as you work this program. Your Higher Power will have to reveal those things to you.

I won't say that recovery work is as easy as opening a box, but the truth is you will not know what it holds until you begin to do the work and go through the steps several times.

A spiritual awakening is a deeply moving and personal time of introspection and exploration into the silence, perhaps even learning to listen to the still, small voice that is all too often drowned out in the whirl of our everyday activities.

Remember to call a time out. Jump off the carousel. Get away from the carnival music for a moment and see what HP has to say to you. Your Higher Power will be the best resource to help you learn the best way to personally put forth "practicing these principles" in all your own life affairs.

Every single one of you are such wonderful people who deserve what this Program has to offer you. It it is my fondest wish that you prosper, grow, and heal as you continue to practice these steps.

In Loving Service -- Step 12,
January K. WTS Meeting Leader


BIG BOOK THOUGHT: "Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." (The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, in the Chapter entitled: Chapter 7, WORKING WITH OTHERS (an estimated 10 pages into the chapter).





QUESTIONS

1. Since you are at Step Twelve, do you think that you have "graduated" from this Program? Explain your answer.

2. Why are you here? Why do you want recovery? Have you learned anything different about your motives for being in recovery?

If some of these motives changed, please share this with us if you are comfortable doing so.

3. You will hear this phrase repeated many times when you talk to others who are in Program: "We are the message."

What kind of message do you think you carry right now? What kind of message would you like to carry in the future?

4. As a newcomer in certain meetings, I heard it read: "Service is the way that we keep what we have so generously been given. Did you know that I, personally, discovered that doing service was the best to have great recovery? Do you plan to give service as a way to get and keep your recovery?

5. Is there still something that needs to be cleaned out of your closet? Write about it, OR, better yet, find someone to turn it over to. (Suggestion: You may find it helpful to read in the OA 12 & 12 on page 90-91).

6. Action is the key in the OA Program. What changes have you made in your life, so far? (Suggestion: You may find it helpful to read in the OA 12 & 12, page 81-84).


SUGGESTED READING:

In the OA meditation book, FOR TODAY, p. 21, January 21st reading (re: Step 12), Overeaters Anonymous, Inc., (1982). This one meditation is re-printed as a courtesy to those who do not yet have FOR TODAY. This selected reading is used for the purposes of a 12 step study.

Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise. ---Sigmund Freud

Turning things around is the primary function of the twelve-step program. Where once my inclination was to sweep everything under the rug, to avert my gaze from reality, today I find relief from much resentment and anger by looking honestly at myself. Where once I was quick to blame anyone and anything for my troubles, today it is my own motives and actions that get my attention.

Self-honesty is an excellent treatment for what ails me, especially for the destructive emotions of anger and resentment.

For Today: Self-honesty makes me feel good about myself.

ADDITIONAL MEDITATION READING (not included here): Read in "JUST FOR TODAY", published by Overeaters Anonymous, Inc., on page 154, (the June 2nd reading, which is especially written with mention about Step 12).

You can purchase a copy of JUST FOR TODAY at OA.org or at your local Half Price Book Store, or even on-line stores such as Amazon.com.

STILL STRUGGLING WITH THE IDEA OF A HIGHER POWER AND THE MATTER OF "FAITH"? Consider reading in the AA Big Book, in the Chapter entitled: WE AGNOSTICS.

STEP TWELVE ACROSTIC

S...........Stop
T............the
E............[over]eating
P............process

T............The
W...........way
E............everyone
L............lovingly
V............verifies
E............emphatically.

DO NOT WAIT FOR IDEAL CIRCUMSTANCES NOR THE BEST OPPORTUNITIES; THEY WILL NEVER COME.

-- Janet Erskine Stuart







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