WTS ~ WORKING THE STEPS

2008

Step Two
Came to believe that a Power greater
than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

STEP TWO

Hi everyone. My name is Shlomo. I am a food addict and compulsive overeater. Whatever I write in this workshop is my personal ESH. I don't represent OA or TRG, in fact no one does. I represent only myself.

In step one we understood and internalized our problem . "We admitted we were powerless over food-that our lives had become unmanageable" Since we don't have the power to deal with our problem and other people don't have the power to solve our problem we have to find a power that can and will solve our problem.

In order to find this power we first have to believe in it's existence. Step Two " Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity" Power with a capital P means an incorporeal spiritual power, since people are not that power. Our obsession is a form of insanity therefore freedom from our obsession is a return to sanity. When and if we are freed of our obsession we can deal with the physical aspect of our disease.

What do we need for step two? We need an open mind and willingness to believe in the presented solution. Once we are convinced and accept that such a power exists and will solve our problem if we seek him by working the steps, we have done step two.

ASSIGNMENTS

1. Explain the following concepts:
Theist, Atheist, Agnostic. (All of them can work the program.)
Does one of those concepts describe you? Share with us.

2. Read pages 9-12 in BILL'S STORY.
Mark the passages that resonate with you. Reflect and share with us. On page 12 there is one short sentence that makes the program spiritual and not religious. Mark it and reflect on it. Share with us.

3 . Read the chapter, WE AGNOSTICS.
A) Mark the sentences that describe our illness and its solution.Reflect and share with us.

B)The chapter presents a lot of arguments in order to convince us to believe in a Power greater than ourselves. Mark the arguments that resonate with you and convince you. Share with us.

C)The chapter talks about God. Mark the sentences that talk about the different concepts of God and resonate with you.. Reflect on the meaning of the word God to you.. Share with us.

D) Mark the sentences that tell us where we find God (Great Reality). Reflect and share with us.

E) Did this chapter give you new information and help you to accept step two? Share with us.

4. Read step two in the AA 12&12
This chapter describes different types or groups of of persons and their difficulties with step two. Mark the sentences that describe a group you think you belong to. Mark the arguments that lead you to accept step two. Reflect and share with us.

5. Read step two in the OA 12&12.
Mark the sentences that resonate with you. Reflect and share with us.

6. Are you now convinced that God could and would solve your problem if He were sought?
(God here means your personal concept of a Power greater than yourself.) If you are convinced you have done step two and are ready for step three. Share with us.

Shlomo


QUESTIONS FOR THE LEADER

QUESTION:

Could you give us some definitions of agnosticism?

ANSWER:

Agnosticism can be subdivided into several subcategories. Recently suggested variations include:
Strong agnosticism (also called "hard agnosticism," "closed agnosticism," "strict agnosticism," or "absolute agnosticism") refers the view that the question of the existence or nonexistence of God or gods and the nature of ultimate reality is unknowable by reason of our natural inability to verify any experience with anything but another subjective experience. A strong agnostic would say, "I don't know whether God exists or not, and neither do you."

Weak agnosticism (also called soft agnosticism, open agnosticism, empirical agnosticism, temporal agnosticism)葉he view that the existence or nonexistence of any deity is currently unknown but is not necessarily unknowable, therefore one will withhold judgment until/if any evidence is available. A weak agnostic would say, "I don't know whether God exists or not, but maybe you do."

Apathetic agnosticism (also called Pragmatic agnosticism)葉he view that there is no proof of either the existence or nonexistence of any deity, but since any deity that may exist appears unconcerned for the universe or the welfare of its inhabitants, the question is largely academic anyway.

Agnostic theism (also called religious agnosticism, spiritual agnosticism)葉he view of those who do not claim to know existence of any deity, but still believe in such an existence. (See Knowledge vs. Beliefs)

Agnostic atheism葉he view of those who do not know of the existence or nonexistence of a deity, and do not believe in any.

Ignosticism葉he view that a coherent definition of God must be put forward before the question of the existence of God can be meaningfully discussed. If the chosen definition isn't coherent, the ignostic holds the noncognitivist view that the existence of God is meaningless or empirically untestable. A.J. Ayer, Theodore Drange, and other philosophers see both atheism and agnosticism as incompatible with ignosticism on the grounds that atheism and agnosticism accept "God exists" as a meaningful proposition which can be argued for or against.

Every one of them can work the program. All one needs is willingness, an open mind, and honesty especially with oneself.

QUESTION:

"You say that the 12 Step program is not a religious program. So how come there is God in the Steps and prayers to God. Isn't that religious?"

ANSWER:

When one joins a new religion one has to reject his old one. One can't belong to two different religions at the same time. One can't even belong to two different sects of the same religion at the same time. Have you ever seen a Christian for example who is a Catholic and a Protestant at the same time?

No one asks me to reject my old religion if I join a 12 step fellowship and want to work the steps. In fact no one cares about my religious beliefs or if I am an Atheist and am not of any religion.

The concept of God in the 12 step fellowships can be anything I choose. If I am religious I am free to chose the God of my religion if that's what I want and if I am an atheist I can for example choose truth as my concept, etc.

The name God in the 12 step fellowships is just a convenient name for a power that is greater than myself and that I think can help me recover from my disease. I find the connection to that power deep inside myself and I don't have to have any go-betweens like priests or gurus or whatever unless I want them.

There are no worship rituals and no institutes of power to conduct rituals and no ordained ministers or whatever.

The concept of prayer is also personal. I can choose the prayer to be religious if that's what I want or I can chose it to mean that I just need help and by praying I open myself to accept help to see the truth, etc.

So what can the program be if it deals with healing and spiritual principles and is not religious? It can only be spiritual. And if you don't like the word spiritual don't use it. I don't mind.

QUESTION:

I find it difficult to understand the idea of a personal concept of God. Could you explain?

ANSWER:

I will try to explain by telling how I arrived at my personal concept of God. Of course yours may be entirely different.

When I first came to a f2f OA meeting and heard people talking about God I thought that I came to a strange nutty cult. But some of them said that they lost weight and some of them said that their life changed for the better. So I stayed meaning to get to the bottom of it, take what suits me and leave.

I am not a religious person. I never was. The concept of God was always repugnant to me since if there was a God and He was all Powerful and was supposed to take care of us humans he was doing a lousy job of it. What with all the diseases and babies dying. What with people getting killed and so on. Couldn't he prevent it? He was supposed to be all powerful, wasn't he?

And what about me? He was responsible for my disease and therefore for my obesity, my illnesses and my depression. Was I bad? Was I being punished by God? The idea of a punishing God repulsed me. Does he punish babies who die from all sorts of diseases and accidents. Is a baby a sinner? All those questions bothered me and I preferred to think that there is no God at all.

Then, after I continued to go to meetings, took a sponsor and began working the steps my ideas about God began slowly to change. I liked what it says in the Big Book that I can form my own conception of God and no matter what it is, it is enough to work the Steps. The other thing I liked was that I don't need someone else to be the middle man between me and God. All I have to do to connect is to search the connection deep inside myself.

I still thought that people were nuts when they shared how God found them a parking space, or how God turned the light green for them, or how God saved their lives in a car accident where there were a lot of wounded and some killed, and how they were very ill and God cured them. Does God play favorites? Benefit some and ignore or punish others? What about me? I find the parking spot occupied and the light red. And if God saved me from death in an accident then he didn't save the others who died, how come? They deserved saving at least as much as I did.

And then I thought. Why should I concern myself with other peoples' concept of God? My own should be good enough for me.

So I invented my own concept. You may use it if you like. I don't mind. Lack of Power is my dilemma. That is what the Big Book says. And I have to find a power by which I can live. OK ... So God is a Power Source. That is my concept. Not very original but it suits me.

A power source is like a battery or a dynamo or a generator etc. It doesn't benefit me and punish others. It is neutral. The same as a generator is neutral. I connect to my power source by quietly searching deep inside me and working the steps. And when I am connected this power frees me of my obsession. It gives me a boost so to speak and on a daily basis I can manage my life in a sane manner. A power source doesn't play favorites. Anyone can do what I do and benefit from such a power source.

A power source is also not responsible for all the misery in this world since it is neutral. So who is responsible? The Big Book tells me that our troubles are of our own making. So we are responsible. It is not God who makes people suffer. People make people suffer. Nature is nature. Death, diseases and natural calamities are not something brought on us by God. Some of that is brought on us by us and some are the way nature is. That is my concept.

My concept of God as a power source may be considered by some to be inadequate or even ridiculous. But the Big Book says it doesn't matter if some consider it inadequate. It works for me and any concept that works for you is adequate.

I hope this answer satisfies you and now you can arrive at your own concept and share it with us.

QUESTION:

Since I started the program several years ago, the God issue has been giving me trouble. Then I came across the concept of acting 殿s if and it痴 a very interesting one. However, I donエt know how to put it into practice. Can you give me some examples of acting 殿s if when it comes to believing in a HP?

ANSWER:

Acting "as if' means that you do all the step actions as if there is a power greater than yourself, even if you think there is no such power. Just thinking or believing will get you nowhere but doing the actions will. You cannot think yourself into recovery you can only act yourself into recovery.

When you gradually have the recovery experience as the result of the actions of working the steps you will feel that you have a connection with sources of power that you didn't have before. You will be able to do, feel and believe that which you could not do before on your unaided strength alone. On the basis of this experience the 'as if' will drop by itself.

A simple example:
Suppose you don't feel well and the doctor diagnoses it is caused by a virus and gives you some antibiotics. You don't have to believe that the medicine will work, but if you are willing to take it you will get results no matter what you believe. The steps work like that.

There is also a difference between belief and faith in this program although they are sometimes mixed . Belief means you are willing to try a new concept even if you think it will not work or are not sure it will work. Faith means that you have experienced this new concept in action on you, and are now sure that it works.

So just do the steps and don't worry about the existence of H.P. Willingness is the key to every step and to recovery as a whole.

Examples of acting as if: Pray, ask for help , make a gratitude list, ask what is H.P's will for you and try to aline your will with H.P's will. Do all this and all the other things we do in this program as if H.P. Exists for you.

If you have or get the OA book 'OVEREATERS ANONYMOUS' I suggest you read the story "The Atheist Who Made a Zif." on page 190.




 
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