Hello Friends! I'm sending this out on Sunday night because I'm going to Disney World tomorrow! I am not a glum lot!Step 12, "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to (alcoholics) compulsive overeaters, and to practice these principles in all our affairs".
The chapter, "Working With Others" (Chapter 7, page 89) starts out in such a beautiful way, with promises! It says that nothing will insure immunity against the first bite as much as intensive work with another (alcoholic) compulsive overeater. Those people may or may not be, in the rooms of Overeaters Anonymous.
I like to call the next paragraph the Sponsor's promise - "Life will take on new meaning. To watch people recover, to see them help others, to watch loneliness vanish, to see a fellowship grow up about you, to have a host of friends -- this is an experience you must not miss. We know you will not want to miss it. Frequent contact with newcomers and with each other is the bright spot of our lives."
Yes, if you are one of my sponsees, I admit it - you are a bright spot in my life! I especially love working with newcomers, it's like you get to see the lights come on! That dull, lost, without-hope look is replaced with a sparkly look of hope and excitement.
And talk about new friends! This weekend was the Florida State Convention in Cocoa Beach. Hey, if you've not gone to a big OA event like this, a convention or a retreat, absolutely try to get to one! The fellowship is beyond amazing. So there I was, on Thursday night at midnight at the Orlando International Airport, collecting a beautiful woman whom I'd never seen before but knew more about than probably the majority of her family. I've been sponsoring her for about a year and a half. She's from Minneapolis. Tomorrow a sponsee from Little Rock will arrive. The hugs are totally amazing.
Remember in the very beginning how we talked about the speed in which the first 100 men and women in AA took the steps? Usually in a day or two! I cannot even imagine being mired down in all that poopie which goes on our fourth step. If that is the case for you, man, get rid of it! Dump it as soon as possible in a fifth step! You deserve these beautiful maintenance steps of 10, 11 and 12.
As you read the next few pages, you'll see that "back then', they went out and looked for people to help. What do we do today? I've heard in some meetings, they make newcomers quake in their boots, trying to muster up the courage to ask someone to sponsor them. That is flat out mean. We have a newcomer's meeting here in Brevard County, Florida. When a new person comes in, we assign them a temporary sponsor and we all call that new person the next week.
The majority of this chapter will give you tips on how to approach someone. On page 93, we learn that we stress the spiritual feature. Let me tell you what, for me, staying on a food plan was a true spiritual experience. It can be that simple, you know? Keep reading, you'll have direction on how to deal with religious objections. You know this is not a religious program but people often shy away when they hear the "G" word.
On page 95, outlines why I sponsor:
"Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to him plays a vital part in your recovery. Actually, he may be helping you more than you are helping him."
I'm not any kind of hero, or big shot because I sponsor, I must always remember that I'm somebody who ate out of garbage cans.
We are not responsible for the outcome of sponsoring either. That would make me God! No thanks. When a sponsee calls and talks of how their sponsees are not getting it, I ask, "Are you abstinent?" My sponsee says yes, and then I congratulate them on being a good sponsor. That's all we are responsible for, and that is to stay abstinent ourselves.
I don't know why helping others works. But it does. Countless attempts at the "WW Club' always resulted ultimately in weight gain. This spiritual factor is not present in the diet clubs. They are not concerned with the spirituality of staying on a food plan or helping others. That is what has worked for me, when other schemes have failed.
It talks on page 97 that we don't' let alcoholics live in our homes for long periods of time. Have you ever opened your home to someone who's de-toxing from their alcoholic foods? I have. It is one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Kept me abstinent, that's for sure.
Look at page 98. There is the foundation for what I like to call the three rules. The second paragraph says, that it's not a matter of giving that is in question, but when and how to give. It's about service! Oh, don't get me started on service, I'm addicted to it. Why? Because it is hard to binge on pizza when I'm attending an Intergroup meeting, a Region Assembly or the World Service Business Conference.
And it's kept me abstinent too. Once I told someone that I resisted an urge to binge because I thought of how humiliating it would be to have to tell the Southeast Region of Overeaters Anonymous, that I could not be chairman any longer because I lost my abstinence. My friend told me that wasn't a very good reason to stay abstinent. Know what I said? "So". Hey, who cares if my reason to abstain is good or bad. If it keeps me abstinent, it's good. That is when the character defect of pride becomes an asset, eh?
Oh my, I got off on a tangent again, didn't I? I wanted to tell you the three rules and they work for so many areas of our lives. Is your family bugging you? Is the boss being a poop-head? Did you get cut off in traffic? Well, use the three rules to get rid of the anger and resentment. Are you ready? Here you go,
#1 is to give.
#3 is to give.
Bet you are wondering what #3 is - if you guessed that it is to give, you'd be right. I'm in OA because I have a disease of self centeredness. Any time that my serenity is being compromised, it's because I'm back in self centered mode. And the best way to combat that is to get out of myself and help another. Try it!
Hey, did you ever pass down a restaurant because of fear? Well, look at the bottom of page 100 - that says wee can go anywhere and do all sorts of things that food addicts shouldn't be able to do, IF we are in fit spiritual condition. And part of that for me is to be on a food plan. But I can go to buffets, fancy restaurants and fast food places. I can go to convenience stores, and take my grandkidlets to a pizza parlor. Why? Because I'm in fit spiritual condition. And this is the greatest gift of all, abstinence feels better to me than to indulge in food that isn't on my plan. Abstinence is the prize!
I keep foods that are not on my plan in my home. My husband is a normie. He is a skinny normie and makes me crazy sometimes but we have food in here for him that I choose not to eat. It's on "his shelf'. I buy it for him at the grocery store, and up on that shelf it goes. I don't want it, I recoil as if a hot flame like it said that I would back in the How it Works Chapter. I want what I get from abstinence today. It's a beautiful life.
So, as it says on the bottom of page 101, ask yourself if you've got a good reason to be in these places, and if you are really in a good spiritual place, won't be a problem. On Thursday night last week, I went to a big networking event, with "Heavy Hors "ordourves" I committed to my sponsor what I'd have. They always have a veggie tray at those events. And cheese. I won't starve. And if for some crazy reason those foods are not there for me, I'm gonna be okay anyway because I have food at home. Abstinence means more to me than a stealing a moment of vicarious pleasure.
So, keep reading this chapter, and cross out the "alcoholic and alcohol', write in your own words like we've been doing in the previous chapters. Now you are really getting to see what this is all about, as it states on page 102, that our job now is to be of maximum helpfulness to others.
Here's some questions for reflection:
Does your meeting have a newcomer greeter?
Where are you looking for people to help?
Do you have a smile on your face that is attractive to others?
How's your tool of a food plan working? It should be to help you either gain, lose or maintain weight. If it is not doing that, you might want to look at getting it fixed, the same as you would a tool you bought at Home Depot that wasn't working.
Are you sponsoring?
If not, why not?
What are you doing to get out of your self-centeredness?
Are you still wanting to eat instead of abstaining? Why?
Thanks again for this opportunity to share with you and take the steps again myself. That happens each time I take someone else through the steps like this. Keep abstinence first, absoulutely.