WTS ~ WORKING THE STEPS

2008

Step One
We admitted we were powerless over food
that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step One - Part 2
Step One - Part 3
Step One - Part 4
Step One - Part 5


INTRODUCTION

Hi, Everyone!

My name is Shlomo. I am a food addict and compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop. A warm welcome to you all.

Thanks are due to TRG for giving me the privilege and opportunity to lead this workshop. Those who are interested in reading more about me can have a look at:WTS 2006.

First let me give a few important remarks. The workshop will last three months. During that time we are going to work all the twelve steps. Some of the literature we will use as reference can be found online at:
Big Book and More

AA 12&12 - a gender free version

I will use the regular version and the difference is not important. My suggestion is to buy the relevant literature if you don't have it.

The literature which I will use is the following:

  • The Big Book, which is the textbook and instruction manual of the steps.
  • The AA and OA Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions which consist of essays and commentaries on the steps and explanations of the traditions.
We will also need a notebook and a few markers of different colors to mark sentences and paragraphs in the books. Please be ready to devote time and effort to the workshop. As the saying goes: "It works if we work it and it doesn't if we don't"

SHARING GUIDELINES

Letters to the WTS loop.

  • Letters you send to the loop should be addressed to the whole loop and not to a specific member.
  • In your letters you should share your answers to the questions and assignments given by the workshop leader.
  • Other letters to the loop are questions posed by you about anything that is not clear to you in my explanations and 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 my 12 step workshop shares is okay.
  • Questions should be sent in separate e-mails to the loop. In the subject space write QUESTION TO THE LEADER. This will help me identify the questions quickly and answer them quickly.
  • Letters and comments on the shares of other members should be sent privately and not to the loop. Please pay attention to this when you click on reply.
  • All other kinds of questions like questions about administration etc..should be sent to: WTSAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org
SPONSORS

I suggest you do the workshop with a sponsor. Working the steps is almost impossible without one. Any sponsor online or f2f will do as long as you work with the sponsor on this workshop. Suggestions on getting a sponsor can be found at:
www.TheRecoveryGroup.org/sponsors.html

In addition to that I hope we will have sponsor volunteers, especially for this workshop and you will be able to choose one from the WTS sponsor directory that I will send to the loop.

There are all kinds of shorthand symbols and abbreviations that I may use like f2f, esh, coe, GOMU and so on. If they are unfamiliar, look at: Emoticons

Now I need my rest so I will give you some things to do while I go to romp on the beach with my dog. I find this very useful for meeting and socializing with people.

ASSIGNMENTS

The assignments will follow essentially the plan of the Big Book. We will first try to understand and internalize some basic concepts. We will do it by reading and writing. First you read and write and then I read, write and explain . This way we will get a better and deeper understanding since you will do your part of the work, too, because this is a workshop.

1. Read the following chapter in the Big Book: THE DOCTORS OPINION.
When reading change in your mind the word, "alcohol", to "certain foods or food substances," "drinking" to "eating certain foods or food substances", "alcoholism" to "food addiction", and "getting drunk" to "bingeing on food."

Pay special attention to the following words and concepts and mark with your marker the relevant sentences and paragraphs in which they appear.

Allergy (abnormal sensitivity which is a type of disease),
Cravings (a feeling beyond my mental control),
Mental control (will power) ,
To them their alcoholic life seems the only normal one,
     Restless irritable and discontented,
     A spree (binge),
     Five different types of alcoholics (food addicts) .

Go over the marked places. Reflect how those concepts apply to you personally, and share it with us in writing.

2. Alcoholism is addiction to alcohol- not to other liquids. Some call alcohol a trigger since it triggers cravings for more alcohol. What is your personal experience with certain foods or food substances as triggers .

3. What is your experience with the following: bingeing, overeating, starving, vomiting (purging).
4. Share your understanding of the concepts: food addiction, compulsive eating.

This should keep you busy for a while

Shlomo



QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER

QUESTION:

Could you please explain to me the difference between a compulsive overeater and a food addict (if indeed there are differences).

ANSWER:

Food addiction is a disease. It manifests mainly in cravings after eating triggers and obsession about them between taking the bite. Compulsive overeating describes the behavior like overeating and bingeing. Every food addict eats compulsively but not every overeater is a food addict

QUESTION:

What is the evidence indicating that food is addictive - in the clinical sense of the word. I ask for many reasons - One - I am a scientist and data helps me process - just how I am programmed. But two - and more importantly - my therapist - who is an addiction therapist for alcohol and drugs , Does not believe there is a genetic basis to unmanageable eating. My soul says there is - it has just not be discovered yet. Unless you call the studies with Leptin and its receptor evidence.

ANSWER:

A Google search on "medical/clinical research food addiction" may give you some references, And you could continue finding more from there . You may also have a look at a book "Food Addiction The body Knows" by Kay Sheppard. It has a bibliography that may give you the answers about the existence of food addiction.

But the best evidence is your personal behavior around food. If when you eat certain foods you have cravings, and if you obsess about food and if you binge on food and cannot control your eating, Than you have a problem. You can call it whatever you like, and others can say there is no such thing as food addiction. It doesn't matter to you personally. What matters is that you have a problem that you don't succeed solving by diets or professional help

And here we have a 12 step program that has helped millions. Personally I don't know of any other program that can help me recover from my food problem. This one does. If someone has another program that helps him that is fine. Let him use it by all means. Let him even write to me privately and tell me about it. But here in this workshop we work on the solution by the 12 step program. As Shakespeare said:"What is in a name? A rose by any other name will smell as sweet."

QUESTION:

Everything I read is about getting a food plan and by the end of step one you should have Your food allergy list. I understand it and completely can relate to the concept. But what I know is that there is no particular food that I truly am addicted too. I don't have a single or two food addictions.

I have several in the sense that I don't just binge on fattening stuff or sweets. I binge on everything and anything in front of me or in the fridge. I can stock fridge with the healthiest stuff on the market and still binge at that, e.g. Broccoli, Cauliflower, any veggie, fruit. So when I read all the books and read everyone talking about staying away from their list I don't know what to do. Am I crazy? Is this possible? What do I do in place of this most important step? Do you have any suggestions on how maybe I can help myself with this most important step.

ANSWER:

If you don't have particular triggers than it could be that you are powerless over your behavior around food. It is also very probable that you do have particular triggers that cause you to want to overeat everything in sight but you find it impossible to identify them at this stage. I will not try to go into that , but suggest a way to handle it as it was presented. Here is my suggestion. Since you don't identify any particular triggers, cut out the most common problem causing substances That are not healthy even for normal eaters. Those are sugar and foods to which sugar was added, white flour, and fatty foods. Make a food plan that consists of a specific number of measured and weighed meals a day . And try to follow that plan. Since we are only at step one you may not succeed in following the food plan but that is what the steps are for. Working all 12 steps should free us from our food obsession. So keep committing to follow your food plan and eventually you will become abstinent. And who knows. Maybe in time you will recognize some particular triggers. And do share your food plan with your sponsor and with us.

QUESTION:

How do I "hit bottom" within abstinence? What I mean is that I feel like I need to refine my abstinence but I don't have, thank God, Fresh memories of bingeing to make me "hit bottom" and force a change?

ANSWER:

Hitting bottom is an internal feeling as described in Bill's story. You cannot force it. Reaching bottom makes you surrender and be willing to work the offered solution of the program. When you already work the program you don't have to hit bottom in order to work on change . You do it by working steps six and seven when you encounter difficulties in carrying out the change.

QUESTION:

If I decide that a food is a trigger or not a good food for me, how do I Effectively remove it from my food plan? If I am powerless over food, then How can I just snap my fingers and decide I'm not eating that food any more?

ANSWER:

If working the program freed you of your obsession than you can, since you are then connected to a Power greater than yourself . If you are not free of the obsession, you have to use your fallible self-will to commit to remove the trigger and fight your obsession. In the meantime work the steps and continue working them even if you fail to carry out your commitment Repeat your commitment every day and eventually working the steps will free you of the obsession and you will be able to carry it out.

QUESTION:

In There is a Solution, I encountered, again, the part about "That we Have had deep and effective spiritual experiences which have revolutionized Our whole attitude toward life..." and again, Dr. Jung's reply that "alcoholics have had what are called vital spiritual experiences. To me These occurrences are phenomena. They appear to be in the nature of huge, Emotional displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes Which were once the guiding forces..." These statements give me a real sense Of fear that my program is a sham because I have never had such a "phenomena" in my life and it seems to be a requirement to be permanently And completely freed from alcoholism/food obsession. Firstly, is my fear Correct? Am I really a "dry drunk" and walking on perilous ground without This amazing, life-altering phenomena?Secondly, how does one acquire this Phenomena? I have tried praying for it, meditating about it, writing about It, trying to "force it" but I cannot honestly say that it has occurred in My life.

ANSWER:

Read 'appendix II' at the end of the Big Book. It is called SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE . It explains that there are sudden spiritual experiences and there are spiritual awakenings that develop slowly over a period of time. Most people have spiritual awakenings. Those are sufficient to recover from the disease. A spiritual awakening that frees us from our obsession is the result of working all 12 steps, And is contingent on our continuing to work the 12 steps on a daily basis. One doesn't get a full spiritual awakening in step one or two. We have to work all the steps and eventually we get it.




 
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