Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps,
we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters,
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Spiritual 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 lives

these principles: All of the guiding principles of the steps - The three essentials being Honesty, Openmindedness, and Willingness

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 times!

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 increase!

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 do.

Here is our last assignment. Please just do what you can! And then practice it in your program--one day at a time!

Reading Assignments:

(The reading assignments for Step 12 are for future reference as you grow in service. As you will note, there is alot of information here!)

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 message!

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 104-150

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!

AA 12x12

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 personalities?

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?

OA 12x12

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 compulsive eating.

1. If we experience the obsession with food again, once having been relieved of it, where can we find our freedom again? (page 100)

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 what helped!

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 your favorites?

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 103-106.

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 well.

With love and continued surrender,

Linda E


Step 11