awakening: From the appendices, AA Big Book, page 567-568
(please read very carefully--really let this two pages soak
into your inner being!) "With few exceptions our members find
that they have tapped an unsuspected INNER resource which they
presently identify with thier own conception of a Power greater
than themselves. Most of us think this awareness of a Power
greater than ourselves is the essence of spiritual experience.
Our more religious members call it "God-consciousness."
these steps: Steps 1 - 11: ALL OF THEM
we tried to carry: Progress not perfection, just try
this message: the message is that with help, we can
recover - The help of each other and more importantly, the help
of our higher power through working the steps.
AND: Two fold step - We have to keep carrying the
message as we continue to grow in our own recovery
to practice: Just like brushing our teeth and combing
our hair, the program has to become a part of our daily
these principles: All of the guiding principles of the
steps - The three essentials being Honesty, Openmindedness, and
In all our affairs: - everything, every area of life
Today is September 21st
and we have about 10 days before the next study begins! It is
so hard for me to believe we have really been doing this for 3
months. For those who are able to finish this round of steps,
please consider sponsoring someone through the next quarter.
There is absolutely nothing that would mean more to me! Of
course, we do it for our own recovery, but many times I have
done things at my sponsor's request, thinking, "OK, it can't
hurt anything so I will do it!" It is only in the "doing" that
I figure out later I did it for me!!
My experience with Step 12 is what I call "old fashioned" OA. I
was in the program back in the early 80's and we did service (a
tool) from the day we walked in the door. My first few months I
set up chairs, made coffee, set out literature, and greeted
people. Honestly, it was just the way it was. That is the
foundation of my program. I am here to be a part of a healing
community and I am absolutely obligated to give what I can when
I can. For me, there is no free lunch. Pun intended.
To come into the rooms, pull up a chair, and just sit, does not
compute. For me this is the disease not recovery. My first
sponsors would have called me on that very early on. We talked
alot about self centeredness in those days. How we needed to
reduce EGO by serving others, reaching out to others, getting
out of ourselves. We started by working the tools.
These small but essential services made me feel invested in the
group and in recovery as a whole. It was an absolute
requirement to call in our food to a sponsor. It was also
strongly suggested to make 3 outreach calls. Within the first
30 days I was required to read the first 164 pages of the AA
Big Book and then to read a story a day in the back. When I got
to the last few pages of each story where I would find the
"solution" I was to highlight and make notes so that I could
refer back to the inspiration I found in the stories. This
helped me so much. My Big Book looked like a rainbow. I wish I
still had it!
Then we did our step work together. It took us about 9 months,
mainly due to horrific binges on sugar, to finally get through
step 5 and at that point, as I said before, I was finally able
to abstain back to back. I lost 100 pounds during about that
first 18 months and kept it off for three years before deciding
I was healed and I could go on my merry way. Of course anyone
can guess the end of that story. It wasn't merry. I invested
another 20 years in this dreaded disease--regaining the hundred
pounds--but more importantly wrecking my life and almost
everyone else's around me.
I am sharing all that again to share this: If you are a
compulsive eater, give yourself the gift of life and never,
ever leave the program. It is the one regret about the past of
which I may never be free.
My spiritual awakening has been slow and gentle. I have
believed in the Creator since I was a young girl although we
were not at all religious. I have known the care of a loving
God only since coming back into the program 4 years ago and
more fully and specifically over the last two years. My
spiritual awakening is very real to me. I feel this energy
within that is alive. I feel my emotions and am in touch with
my body. My thoughts are not run by some committee behind
closed doors. I truly experience intuitive thoughts at
I am abstinent from compulsive eating/binging and destructive
eating of binge non-foods.
This is a miracle for me. I am maintaing a 65 pound weight loss
and believe I will lose the rest of what I need to let go of as
I work the steps. In four years I have worked the steps all the
way through 5 times. For me once a year is my goal.
This past year I have gone from doing alot of service that was
hands-on type things like event planning, intergroup
meetings,etc. and moved more into sponsoring, speaking, doing
workshops, and coordinating loops here on TRG. For me, this was
a type of moving from the tool of service into the 12th step
where I am more carrying the message. I am now an online OA
meeting leader as well which I consider part of carrying the
message too. I have learned I have to give service where I
"need" to give service. Because of the promise of strengthened
recovery, carrying the message is essential to me. But it did
start with the 8 tools and the first 11 steps.
Practicing the principles is very challenging to me. I fall so
short. That is so painful for this grandiose addict! Some of my
defects are so ingrained that I wonder if they will EVER be
removed. They say Rome wasn't built in a day. Well, I guess if
it took 50+ years to make the mess I shouldn't expect 4 years
of recovery to clean it up. I can be grateful for abstinence
one day at a time and the love and support of my fellow
travelers along the way.
For me, the message I carry is that love never fails. If there
is one asset I want to have it is love.
I show love as much as I can each day. I struggle showing love
to those who harm me. Sometimes the only love I can show them
is prayer and self restraint! At least I don't snatch them
bald!!! (Big Grin!) At any rate, I still tend to create a lot
of my own misery and am not even aware of it until later so no
wonder people retaliate. I step on their toes and I don't even
know their toes were in my way! :) Awareness is
such a big deal when it comes to spiritual awakening. Sometimes
I do become aware of other people's issues and God gives me
wise intuition on how to minimize the havoc. Those times are
glorious. As I pray and meditate more, especially many times
each day, as the Big Book suggests, then these intuitive times
This step is really about living in reality and becoming more
and more useful. I love page 164 in the AA Big Book where it
says, "He will show you how to create the fellowship you
crave." I can find the word crave only twice in the first 164
pages. Once in the Doctor's Opinion to describe the
disease/addiction and here on page 164 to describe fellowship.
Interesting! I believe this is crucial. So many times we
emphasize the disease in meetings. I wonder, if it is better to
emphsize the truth and recovery? Just my thoughts on this
particular issue! Take what you can use and leave the rest!
"Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know
only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to
us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day
for the one who is still sick. The answers will come, if your
own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit
something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship
with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you
and coutnless others. This is the great fact for us."
"Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your
faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of
your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall
be wtih you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will
surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy destiny.
"May God bless you and keep you--until then."
I hope you find these words as strong and comforting as I
Here is our last assignment. Please just do what you can! And
then practice it in your program--one day at a time!
(The reading assignments for Step 12 are for future reference
as you grow in service. As you will note, there is alot of
AA Big Book - Chapter 7 - Chapter 11 Pages 89-164
AA 12x12 - Summary page 8-9 Step 12, pages 106-125
OA 12x12 - Step 12 pages 99-106
Before we go on to the questions, please don't let the
volume of reading deter you from answering the basic questions
from Step 12 below. I have been careful to number the pages for
each question on this step so that you can cover the basics but
will still realize that there is alot of recovery in Step 12 to
incorporate into our lives. For me, Step 12, really is the
creme' de la creme' of spiritual growth. It will keep me on my
toes and growing when otherwise my program might grow
complacent or lack that spark that comes with a challenge to
live life to the fullest!
Questions to respond to for Step 12:
AA Big Book
1. From the first two paragraphs on page 89, do you really
believe this? If yes, Share your experience around reaching out
to others in this way. If you have doubts, share your doubts!
Would you be willing to "act as if" this is true and just see
what comes of it?
2. Read pages 90-95 and write out a brief list of steps to take
when working with a newcomer by including all the basic
principles in each paragraph. Ask for help from your sponsor on
this if you need to. Keep this list in something that you
always have with you to begin to have a structure for carrying
the message to newcomers. Include in this list any cautions
from the reading. As we share this with each other we will be
helping one another "sharpen" our ability to carry the
3. Read pages 96-100, and list the do's and don'ts of practical
issues. Share with us personally if any of these issues have
come up from you and what you have learned either from your
experience or your mistakes!
4. Read from the bottom of page 100-103. When it comes to food
issues and early abstinence, how do you feel about shielding
yourself from temptation? Are there differences for you
regarding food as compared to the alcoholic? Do all or any of
the following issues affect how you see these pages regarding
your abstinence: cooking, shopping, preparing food, serving
others including children, using food at such a young age,
using food as love so early in life, not just as a mood
altering drug later in life?
5. Read Chapter 11 "A Vision for You" and reflect on the
comfort of page 164. Write a prayer describing your reflection
on this page!
Optional and long range assignments for pages
6. Read Chapter 8 "To Wives" from the standpoint of your own
addiction to food to discover some of the issues you may be
unaware of and still in denial about. Share any of those issues
that spoke to you.
7. Read Chapter 9 "The Family Afterward" also from the
standpoint of your own addiction to food and share any issues
that speak to you.
8. Read Chapter 10 "To Employers" again from the standpoint of
your own addiction to food and see if you can uncover any
"causes or conditions" that add to your obsession with food as
a means to relieve workplace stress. Share this with us!
1. In the summary, pages 8-9. please list a few of these issues
that speak to your heart the most and why.
2. On pages 107 through the top of page 109, it summarizes
steps 1-11. Reflect on this capsulized version of the first11
steps and share what your feelings and beliefs are regarding
"the Big picture" of recovery that is so succinctly described
in this section.
3. On pages 109-111, what are the other types of 12 step work
we can do besides carrying the message to others directly? Have
you ever encountered the "over-management" issue either in
yourself or others? Are you able to keep principles before
4. Read from the bottom of page 111 through page 113, and share
what you feel is the difference between two-stepping and
twelve-stepping? Have you faced calamities in your recovery
where you were able to receive the grace of God sufficient to
sustain you through the catastrophe? Please share anything
specific that might encourage another member. If you relapsed
during a calamity, what did you learn from that experience that
helps you today and might help someone else as well? Are you
now 12 stepping?
5.Read to the end of the chapter and over a period of time,
answer this question: Am I now able to rest in true
ambition--the deep desire to live usefully and walk humbly
under the grace of God? Could this also be a good question for
our daily 10th step?
I find the OA 12x12 particularly helpful on step 12. It may
help a great deal to really study this step deeply espcecially
if you ever feel prone to relapse or have been in relapse. It
not only summarizes all 12 steps, but gives many cautions and
information regarding issues that are specifically true of
1. If we experience the obsession with food again, once having
been relieved of it, where can we find our freedom again? (page
2. Where does the greatest joy of recovery come from? (p. 101)
How do you experience this joy and on what level do you
experience it? Is it a new experience or do you find it deepens
over time? Have you lost that joy and regained it? Please share
3. List at least 10 simple actions to take to extend the hand
and heart of OA to those who still suffer? (p. 101) What are
4. What does page 102-103 caution us about sharing outside help
in carrying the message?
5. How does caretaking and trying to "fix" others vary from
true 12 step work?
6. List the steps and corresponding principles from page
7. From page 106, write a brief prayer that incorporates the
thought that "we are the message"!
As an addition to step 10, review regularly the question - "If
I am the message, what kind of message am I carrying?" Do this
in a constructive way! Progress not perfection!
This concludes our step study for this quarter. I cherish this
challenge to share my heart so openly and freely and the love
and support I have received from all of you. Thank you for
helping me strengthen my recovery. I pray it has helped you as
With love and continued surrender,