Made a decision to turn our will and our lives
over to the care of God as we understood him.

Decision: a determination made after careful consideraton.
Decisive: Marked determination and firmness, resolute, conclusive
Conclusive: Putting an end to debate or question because of irrefutibility.

My name is Linda and I am a real Compulsive Overeater, food addict.

Greetings to all of you on the journey with me! Thank you for your dedicated work on the first two steps and for your honesty regarding your struggles and your strengths.

I just returned from a spiritual retreat this past weekend and it has defnitely influenced my step three share today. I did not really learn anything new as far as spiritual information. It was what I "experienced" that has brought to the forefront how important this step is!

One of my favorite quotes is, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care.." If I could give everyone reading this, just one experience, it would be the experience of being absolutely saturated with the most extreme and powerful loving care of their Higher Power. It would be a saturation that could grow but never diminish, never leave, never be lost.

I cannot give that gift to anyone. I can only shine the light on how I have placed myself in a position to receive the experience! So that will be my heart's goal today!

To those who have already experienced this, thank you for the loving support I know you are extending to others in this study because out of this one experience, service to others just overflows!

I grew up in an extremely non-religious home. Today I am thankful for that. The closest I ever got to spirituality was nature. I grew up on a farm in middle America and my daily companions were birds, insects, animals, trees, water, etc. They, and they alone, were my sanity. My childhood home was insane with addictions and untreated mental illness. Nature was my anchor. As I have sought spirituality in religion I have found that sometimes there is much insanity and addiction there as well. Just as in the program, I take what I "like" (or what works for me) and I leave the rest. May you do that also with what I share today

It stands to reason that if I am out of control and unmanageable to the point I am either at death's door or one day will be and I am so miserable that I just cannot go on, that I have to look for a solution. I have to have some hope. The 12 step fellowship is that hope for me. I "BELIEVE" in our solution with all my heart. I am here to stay. This is my home.

When I made my Step Three decision, I had already carefully considered all the other alternatives. I came to the conclusion that only by making a resolute decision to turn TO the God of my understanding (GOMU) while at the same time turning my back on compulsive, addictive eating, was I going to have a life worth living.

The two elements that made this decision so inviting to me were:
1. I was miserable and dying and had no where else to go.
2. I was able to open up to a concept of God that provided a loving safety and support that I could truly trust and depend on. It was in this concept of God I could become healed, cleansed, grow and thrive!

I envisioned my journey as a big red carpet roll that was gently rolling out before me. All true blessings and freedom were on this narrow path unfolding before me. I must slow down and allow the carpet to unroll in God's own time. I must not run ahead and jump over the big roll ahead of me! Hard for an addict! I also had to stay focused on the narrow path and not run to the left or the right. Which of course was boring and monotonous sometimes! But this was my path.

I walked this path with my sponsor and other close OA friends. I asked for God's protection and care with complete abandon. I just said, here I am God. You are running this show. Your will be done this day, not mine. My ways were ways of chaos and insanity, marquerading as gracious kindness and altruism. God's ways, although sometimes a challenge to accept for this addict, were ways of unselfishness, peace, wisdom, joy in the simple things, and true loving kindness. As long as I stayed on the path, I was abstinent. Surrendering my food, my plans, or lack of plans, my friends, my family, my job, my car, my dogs, my bills, my appliances, (both broken or working), my past, my present, my future, everything.. As we say in the country: Lock, stock and barrel!

The key to step three for me, was sincerity and wholehearted surrender.

I surrendered all, by choice. A conscious choice. No negotiating. No bargaining, no backtracking, no reservation. I was backed into a corner, and I really had no choice. I could choose the addiciton as my HP or I could choose a loving God. What was my choice to be?!

So I made the surrender by conscious choice. And then, I left the results to the God of my understanding, who has now become the love of my life. My soulmate. Today, it is still a conscious choice but it has become a willingness born of great love and gratitude. It was the best decision I have ever made.

The way to deepen surrender is to continue to commit to abstaining from our addiction one day at a time and to seek a connection to our higher power. How can we do that? Longterm, it is by working all 12 steps. But in the short term, I believe it is by sitting/walking/living in HP's presence one moment at a time. Some have called this "acting as if" and practicing the presence of God. When I lose my connection and have trouble reconnecting there are some things I do that might be helpful to others.

1. I have a CD I use in meditation that has a background of nature sounds and very soft music. I play it as a read, pray, journal, in the morning. At some point I stop and just relax back into my recliner and let the sounds wash over me. I imagine them sinking deep within my entire body. These energies of nature/spirit have become a part of my very cells at this point. Sometimes when I am troubled I can turn on this CD and literally go into a peaceful place with no thought or struggle.

2. When I am disconnected I can also sit closely to another member who meditates and experiences the Spirit's presence and can "borrow" some of their psychic energy to reconnect. This reminds me of jumpstarting a car! (I can also be there for others who need to recenter and reconnect when I am spiritually fit.)

3. It also helps to meditate with others. There seems to be a power in that unity that is beyond my understanding. Going to meditation meetings and retreats, both OA sponsored and spiritually sponsored and just "Being" in presence can be very renewing and can recharge our batteries spiritually.

4. The third step prayer talks about relief from the bondage of self. My self centeredness, my aloneness, my aloofness from my fellows causes me to "die out" like a piece of coal that sits alone. Only as hot coals touch each other does the fire keep burning. So fellowship with those in recovery keeps me burning with the hot fire of freedom! I use to hear, "stick with the winners" alot in OA, not so much anymore. But as much as this quote can be a little egoistic and excluding of those who are suffereing, there is also some truth to it! We are all together here, whether we struggle, or whether we find freedom, but we must always seek the light to keep our recovery fresh and alive with passion!

Before I list assignments and questions this week, I want to mention one line out of the Big Book, How it Works--"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are those who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves."

I looked up constitutional and it said it is someone whose basic nature is one that cannot be honest or it is a physical predisposition. This made me think of people who have a personality discorder or a psychiatric disorder that is primarily biological in nature. They just can't help it. But the rest of us fall into one of two types of addicts I believe. We are all addicts but some of us have grave emotional and mental disorders that complicate recovery and some do not. I fall into the first category. My "going to any length" may be a whole lot longer and require a whole lot more than those who do not have this complication. I accept this today. But, we can all recover because we have the capacity for honesty. It is what it is. The price must be paid.

I love the section at the end of We Agnostics--He humbly offered himself to his Maker--then he knew.

Even so has God restored us all to our right minds. To this man, the revelation was sudden.Some of us grow into it more slowly. But He has come to all who have honestly sought Him.

When we drew near to Him He disclosed Himself to us!

AA Big Book - page 58-63 (6 pages)

AA 12x12 - Summary in table of contents(p. 5) on step 3, as well as chapter on step 3 (7 pages)

OA 12x12 - Step 3 (9 pages)

This week I would like to try for reflection rather than answering questions so here are the thoughts in our reading I would like for you to ask your higher power to give you insight on. Please share on each of these areas from your heart if you can. Ask your sponsor for help to deeply consider these issues. Step three is so important to our long term recovery.

1. Consider the word "decision" and indecisiveness and how this affects your recovery.
2. Reflect on the idea that we have a cunning, baffling and powerful addiction and how insane the idea is that an easier softer way could suffice. Also consider how accepting that recovery can be difficult makes it somewhat easier.
3. Consider the ABC's and what these mean to you.
4. Discuss the traits of the addict listed on page 61 and how these operate in your life when you were or are in your addiction. Share how these create more and more disharmony.
5. Consider how your selfishness, self centeredness, and self seeking create problems that cause you harm. If you cannot see this, ask your sponsor to share their ESH with you in this area.
6. When we sincerely taking such a postition--page 63--describe the position this refers to and how you see yourself in relation to your HP
. 7. Write your own version of the 3rd step prayer and share who you took this step with, if anyone. If you felt an effect, large or small, please share that too!

AA 12x12
1. Describe the door that is unlocked by willingness and the "affirmative actions" required to cut away self will that blocks the entry of higher power into our lives. Share the specific actions you can take to actually walk through the door. (p. 34- top of page 40)
2. Share how you feel about the remainder of the chapter (page 40-41) --especially the idea that we must "Practice step three" and in moments of disturbance and idecision be able to pause, ask for quiet and in the stillness say "The Serenity Prayer."

OA 12x12
1. Reflect on this statement: From now on we let go of preconceived notions about what is right for us. Share what action we take when faced with choices.
2. Share what we must do to receive guidance with our food choices/issues and what is your experience with this approach has been.
3. Share your favorite statement in this chapter and what it means to you as we move forward to step four next week.

Once we compulsive overeaters truly take the third step, we cannot fail to recover. (p. 27) I cannot stop at step three but when I truly take step three I am acknowledging that I need this way of life--all of it and that just means I will work the remaining steps and continue to practice these principles in all my affairs. I will have a faith in my higher power that works under all conditions-- both calamity and monotony. May we do His will always!

Optional Visual Journaling assignment: Draw a door to represent step three and design a key of willingness that helps you remember how to reopen the door when self will slams it shut!

Draw your path of recovery and illustrate it with the colors and images that give you the most encouragement.

Place both of these drawings in a place where you can meditate and reflect on them this week and in the weeks to come!

May your step three work be a solid support to the remaining steps and may abstinence from compulsive eating be both a gift in your day as well as your top priority!!

in love and surrender,
Linda S


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