This is Isabella, compulsive overeater and food addict.
Today, Step 3:
*** Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. ***
Take a moment to let these quotes from the OA 12x12 sink in:
We accept help without reservation (p. 19)
We turned the entire problem over to our Higher Power (p. 20)
When mealtime came, we ate moderately, felt satisfied, and stopped eating (p. 20)
When we give up self-will regarding food and completely turn our lives over to our Higher Power, we receive all kinds of guidance (p. 21)
Knowledge about ourselves and our nutritional needs is useless without the kind of help we find in OA, because we remain powerless to apply it (p. 23)
We ask and we receive, first the willingness, and then the ability. We can count on this without fail. (p. 23)
We turn away from food and eating to focus our attention on our OA fellowship and the twelve steps (p. 24)
We will no longer simply do what we feel like doing or what we think we can get away with, instead we will earnestly seek to learn our Higher Powersí will for us, then we will act accordingly. (p.24)
We ask our Higher Power for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We donít struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. (p. 25)
AA, OAís "mother ship" often underscores that self-centeredness lies at the core of our problem. When I reread these quotes, that is certainly what I came away with.
I can tell you, though, that when I first heard this, I ≠ well, letís be honest, I snorted. Self centeredness? Thatís definitely NOT my problem!
I was so irritated it didnít occur to me to sit down and think a bit about what could be meant with self centeredness. I thought it meant lack of compassion for others, not giving money to charity, not taking othersí needs into consideration, etc.
What Iím beginning to understand ≠ because I have made a decision to be willing to follow these steps ≠ is that the self centeredness that AA talks about has a much larger meaning.
To me now, it means the loneliness that comes from having my little ego as my center. Tears come to me as I write this. This self-centeredness is small, barren, gray, constricted. It is the self-centeredness that whispers to me that thereís not enough to go around so I better grab all the food I can now. Itís the self centeredness that makes me say between clenched teeth that I can do it myself ≠ because I canít believe that anyone wants to help me. This self centeredness is cold and hard ≠ hard because I think I need to keep a tight armour around myself.
I used to be so proud of that. When I was a teenager, I discovered that I didnít have to be dependent on others, a dependence that had wounded me so deeply. What a freeing feeling! Being cool was wonderful!
Iím proud of that teenager who had found a way out of being hurt. Good for her. But Iím not that teenager anymore. I need to move on. I know now what itís like to be cool. It has helped me in the past but being that fiercely independent, centered only on my ego-self, doesnít serve me anymore.
Now I turn to a Higher Power, and there is a feeling of softness that is even more freeing than being cool. Listen to the words:
Accept; donít struggle; give up; let go; live by HPís will alone; receive; relax; seek to learn; trust; turn over; we have what we need.
Doesnít it feel plain good to let these words sink in?
And as always, I gotta tell you that Iím not exactly perfect with these things. What I can tell you without a doubt, though, is that each moment that I have been willing to turn away from self centeredness to live by my Higher Powerís will alone, without fail ≠ yes, without fail ≠ each one of these moments have been moments of grace.
That includes the time a few months ago when I boarded a plane for the first time after having experienced a horrible episode of fear of flying a few years ago. I let myself fall into the hands of my Higher Power and despite moments of nervousness, it was good.
It includes the times when I realize that my Higher Power speaks to me through my fellows and I manage to pick up the phone before I do something silly around food.
It includes the times when the bipolar dog bites me in the you-know-what once again and I let my Higher Power guide me step by step.
It includes this very moment when Iím struck by how impossible it seems to convey my true thoughts and feelings about program to you. But you know what, itís not about me. My little ego is not the center of this here. Iíll just trust that my Higher Power, who is part of all our Higher Powers, guides me and guides you as we work on the steps here.
Let me close with the last words in OAís Step Three:
Once we compulsive overeaters truly take the third step, we cannot fail to recover. As we live out our decision day by day, our Higher Power guides us through the remaining nine steps. When we falter, we are reminded of our commitment to live by Godís will alone, and we trust that the willingness and ability will come if we only ask for them. When we get off track, our Higher Power will guide us back, as long as we are sincerely trying to know and do Godís will. We can confidently face any situation life brings, because we no longer have to face it alone. We have what we need any time we are willing to let go of self-will and humbly ask for help.
Questions to ponder:
How has self centeredness stood in your way?
Say this out loud, just to try it out: "I turn my will and my life over to my Higher Power." What feelings and thoughts arise as you say this?
Whatís the single biggest food problem you could turn over to your Higher Power? Night eating? Big portions? Grazing? Write about what it would be like if that problem was out of your hands, off your shoulders, and firmly in the hands of your Higher Power.
Whatís the single biggest living problem you could turn over to your Higher Power? Marital difficulties? Career issues? Mental health? Again, write about what it would be like if that problem was out of your hands, off your shoulders, and firmly in the hands of your Higher Power.
Are you willing to make the decision to turn your will and your life over to your Higher Power? If not, what needs to happen in your life to get to that willingness? Are you willing to get to that willingness?
Share here what stands out for you in reading through this step in the OA 12x12.
What footwork can you do TODAY?