When I read each OA story that was shared in our step study, I am amazed at how similar our stories really are. I keep thinking, "We are all one and the same person, only the details are different." Thanks to all of you who shared from the heart your OA story. I feel privileged to be able to share this step journey with all of you.
TRG has set up this step study on their site. Use this link to view the Third Quarter 2010 step study:
Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
My share on Step Two:
Hi, I am Cindi, a compulsive overeater. The principle of Step Two is hope, one of the very first emotions I felt when I attended my first OA meetings. I listened very carefully to what people were saying about their recoveries. They kept insisting that what they had I could have too and it gave me hope. I worked program in the hope that one day I would be able to stay abstinent, lose weight and be in recovery. None of those things came easy to me so hope was the one thing I kept hanging onto for dear life. I was in my fifties, weighed 300 pounds and was so miserable I could barely function in life. There was no place else for me to go, OA was it. I kept hoping that what had worked for others would also work for me.
The very first OA meeting I attended all I heard was God, God and more God. I had come to OA to lose weight, not to find God. I left the meeting and did not return to OA for several more years. By this time I was many pounds heavier and much more miserable. The second try at OA semi-worked for me. I stayed a full year, attended meetings, shared and gave some minor service before and after the meeting. Truly I felt I was working the OA program but after a full year I was not abstinent and did not lose any weight. I had little idea of why OA was not working for me. Of course now I realize self-will and fear held me back. I still ignored the part of program that suggested we find a power greater than ourselves. Is it any wonder I had little success?
Twenty years passed by before my third attempt at OA. I never forgot that OA was a possibility but I could not bring myself to attend. In 2002, I lost my job, hit fifty and no one would hire me. I thought perhaps OA online might be of help. So I logged online to an OA support group and began to attend meetings. I got my first sponsor and joined a step study.
The first part of Step Two is “Came to believe.” My first sponsor suggested I pray for abstinence each morning, before each meal and in between meals. I politely told her I seriously doubted that would work. After all, I had prayed for years to God to help me with my obesity and God had not answered. Why would He now? My sponsor asked me to pray anyway. “Act as if” God would help me with my abstinence. To humor the poor delusional woman, I went ahead with the prayers. I did as she suggested, praying each morning, before meals and in between meals. Oh my goodness, it actually worked! How did that work? Why did it work? Why did it not work before?
Action was the key for me to “come to believe.” Because I saw that the program worked for my sponsor, I went ahead and did what she suggested whether I wanted to do so or not and whether I believed it would work or not. The more action I took, the more results I got and the more results I had, the more I “came to believe” that God just might actually help me with this food thing.
As I progressed in program, I began to develop a new concept of God, “a power greater than myself.” The God that I grew up with simply did not work for this addict. I am Lutheran and grew up in a religious household. I left the church in my mid-twenties and did not return for thirty years. When I came to OA, I disliked any mention of God or religion. I am not a religious person but program has allowed me to develop my spirituality. What is the difference? For me, spirituality comes from within while religion is “out there.” Spirituality was a process of finding what worked and discarding what did not work for me. Finally I came up with the concept of a “spiritual strength” that resides deep within my soul. Although certainly a part of me, the spiritual strength is separate from me as a person. I call this spiritual strength my Higher Power. No longer do I have to face each day alone. My Higher Power is always with me, a very kind, caring and loving strength. This is what works for me and you will need to find what works for you as an individual.
Now comes the “restore us to sanity” part of Step Two. I did not understand what sanity had to do with my food addiction. I was not insane, at least not by the standards of the state of Ohio. Did I not function in society? Barely, I barely functioned at all. For most of my adult life, I worked, slept, watched television and ate. Yep, that was MY life. I rarely went anywhere and had little contact with anyone outside of work. Isolation was my middle name and isolation cost me big time.
In my thirties, I developed a severe case of hives, which covered my entire body 90% of the time for two solid YEARS. Anxiety attacks, panic attacks and phobias developed. Depression set in and I finally had to be put on medication and into therapy. Today I am happy to report that I no longer get hives, have anxiety, or panic attacks. My phobias are completely gone and although I do still get periodic depression episodes they are short lived. I am no longer on medication for any of these things including the depression.
But what about the food and the insanity of overeating? Because denial had been so deep within, I really did not understand why I was so obese “when I did not eat that much!” Is that the exact understanding that every obese man, woman and child has? “I really do not eat that much!” Or so I believed but that was the insanity part of Step Two for me. I could not or would not see just how much I really was eating. Then, for the longest time, I believed that one day I would rise up from my couch, gather my willpower once again and lose all my excess weight. Delusions! I believed that once I had lost all my weight then I would never be fat again! And I would return to normal eating one day! All I needed was the right time, the right circumstances and the right diet. More delusions! I deluded myself into thinking that food was not a problem for me. Insanity! I bet you all have your own delusions and definitions of insanity where food is concerned too.
Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity. I came to believe through taking action in working program. I came up with a definition of a Higher Power that worked for me. Program helped me to define my insanity where food was concerned and how it affected my everyday life. Hope stayed with me through this step and readied me for the next one.
Hope is the things with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops, at all.
OA For Today, page 106.
Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Second Step Prayer:
I know in my heart that only You can restore me to sanity. I humbly ask that You remove all twisted thought and addictive behavior from me this day. Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.
Principle of Step Two:
In Step Two, we learned the principle of hope as we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. This same hope will now need to underlie all our actions. Even in our loneliest hours, we can remind ourselves of the great truth that we are not alone; even in our weakest moments we will find the strength we need if we believe it is available to us and ask for it.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeater's Anonymous: Page 104
To help comprehend the questions, please read the Step Two chapter in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Also, read in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous: Bill's Story, There is a Solution, More about Alcoholism and We Agnostics.
1. What is my insanity where food, my eating disorder and weight loss schemes are concerned?
2. How have I been insane at home, with family, at work or in my social life? Do I have phobias, anxiety, depression?
3. Write a description of what you would like your Higher Power to be and to offer you?
4. What actions are you willing to take which might increase your faith in a power greater than yourself?
5. Explain how “acting as if” helps.
Suggestions that may help you with this step study: Realize that no one is telling you what to do in program. Whatever directions you receive, they are suggestions only and it is up to you whether you follow through or not. We each work our own individual programs. My sponsor lovingly reminds me that a suggestion is like telling a person jumping from a plane they MAY need a parachute. So, keeping that in mind, it is suggested that you:
1. Find a sponsor, if you do not already have one, to help guide you and to listen to you while you are working through the steps and beyond. When sending in your answers to the step questions, send a copy to your sponsor also. If you do not have a sponsor, you will find directions in getting a sponsor at this link: www.therecoverygroup.org/sponsors.html
2. This is an excellent chance to do your 90 meetings in 90 days while also working through the steps in 90 days. When I first became abstinent, the 90 & 90 suggestion really helped support me through those first fragile days. You may do online, phone, local or any kind of Twelve Step meeting.
3. Get a copy of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous along with The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions of OA. Both will be a huge benefit to you. To get a copy, visit www.oa.org or visit your local face to face meeting.
4. Keep on file your answers to all step questions, as you will need to refer back to them in Steps Five through Nine.
5. Remember, you are not alone in this. Reach out to other members and your sponsor to help you through difficult sharing.
6. If you have a question, please type in the subject line of your reply: "Question" and I will try to answer as soon as possible. Thank you!
The Twelve Steps
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