My share on Step Three:
Hi, I am Cindi, a compulsive overeater. The principle of Step Three is faith. When I first came to OA, I had little faith that God would help me with my food addiction. After all, he had not helped me before when I begged Him to do so. I had to have faith that my Higher Power would do for me what I was unable to do for myself. How did I find this faith?
ACTION! Overeaters Anonymous is a Twelve Step treatment program of action. What action did I take? I got a sponsor and began to use the Eight Tools of OA on a DAILY basis. Yes, all Eight Tools DAILY. What are the Eight Tools of OA? Meetings, service, sponsorship, writing, literature, reaching out, plan of eating and anonymity. I also began to work my way through ALL Twelve Steps and to incorporate those steps into my daily life. The more action I took the better were my results in program. Repeatedly, I learned from taking action that I could rely on a Power greater than myself.
The problem, of course, is that I really did not want God to step in and take over my food addiction. I liked my food! I really, really did! All those years I had wanted God to MAKE me thin but I had never asked God to grant me the willingness to give up the excess food. I wanted to be abstinent and I wanted recovery but not at such a high cost. No addict WANTS to give up their drug of choice. I wanted to stay in D.E.N.I.A.L. as long as I possibly could. As long as my life was “bearable,” I was not willing to lay down the food. How sad is that, a bearable life? I weighed 300 pounds, lost my partner in life, my home, my job yet it still took me another nine months before my life became unbearable.
Addiction is one of the most difficult diseases to overcome, yet we, ourselves, hold the key to recovery. Did you know that? I did not. I did not know that I had the key in my hand just waiting for the day I could step forth and use it. What is the key? ACCEPTANCE! Acceptance of the truth of my addiction. True acceptance is immediately followed by ACTION. I had to become willing to do whatever it took to be abstinent and in recovery.
“And acceptance is the answer to ALL my problems today.
…Until I could accept my addiction, I could not stay abstinent.”
Alcoholics Anonymous, page 417.
“Made a decision” implies that we have a choice, which is another thing I did not know until after the fact. I had a choice? Really? I had a choice to do what? Can you believe I am crying, actual tears, as I write this? I have a choice and so do you. I can choose to stay in D.E.N.I.A.L. and refuse to give up my excess food or I can choose to be willing to put the food down and to pick up program instead.
“God, I offer myself to Thee to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, They Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!”
Third Step prayer found in the Alcoholics Anonymous book, page 63.
On June 1, 2004, I “made a decision” to accept the truth of my addiction. I am an addict. I will always be an addict. I can be an addict in hell or I can be an addict in recovery. I may not want to lay the food down but I am willing to do so just for today. I am willing to give up the sedation, the comfort, the relaxation that food gives me while I am consuming it. I am willing to face my problems by using program. I am willing to feel my emotions no matter how uncomfortable they may be.
Acceptance of the truth set me free from the obsession with food. The moment, the exact moment that I “made the decision” to surrender the food and my self-will over to the care of my Higher Power was the moment God stepped in and freed me from thirty-five years of bondage to food addiction. Powerful stuff!
Love in recovery,
Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Third Step Prayer:
God, I offer myself to Thee to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always! Amen.
Principle of Step Three:
In Step Three we learned faith as we made the most important decision we had ever made, the decision to trust God as we understand God with our will and our lives. Practicing the principle of faith today means that we will no longer go through life acting however we feel like acting at any given moment. Instead we will look to our Higher Power for guidance and strength as we face each decision.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous: Page 104
To help comprehend the questions, please read Step Three in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of OA. Also read in the BB of AA (Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous) the chapter titled, How It Works, pages 60 through 63, as well as page 417. (Fourth Edition)
1. What action am I willing to take to develop my faith in program and in my Higher Power?
2. Am I willing to finally put the food down and pick up program instead? What will happen to me if I do? Explain.
3. What are my prayers to my Higher Power? Am I asking God to do it all or am I willing to take the responsibility of doing my part?
4. Do I feel I have a choice to make the decision of Step Three? Explain.
5. Where can I find the acceptance I need?
Suggestions: 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.
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