Step One

We admitted we were powerless over food,
that our lives had become unmanageable.

Leader's Share and Step Questions


Phyllis here; chunkie, drunkie, junkie...clean, sober, abstinent since May 20, 1972

First, I want to thank the "Powers that be" for giving me an opportunity to share my program with you. I, also, want to remind you that the comments made here are strictly those of the "writer". I want to welcome all who are newcomers and greet those who have "resident privileges". This is for all members of OA.

A bit of background: In the summer of 1934, Bill W. was pronounced a hopeless alcoholic. Shortly thereafter, Bill sobers up with Ebby in the Oxford Group. In December 1934, Bill has his spiritual experience. For the next six months, he works with alcoholics, but none of them get sober.

May, 1935, Bill meets with Dr. Bob, who then has his last drink June 10th. In the meantime, meetings are happening and some sobriety is taking hold. In 1937, NY. AA separates from the Oxford Group. In 1938, The Alcoholic Foundation is established..a trusteeship for AA. Bill begins to write the Book Alcoholics Anonymous and finishes it in December 1938. At this time the 12 Steps were written. The summer of 1939, Midwest AA withdraws from The Oxford Group and AA is fully on its own.

February 1940, The first world service opens in NY. Grapevine magazine established. In 1946, The Twelve Traditions of AA first formulated and published. June 1950, First International Convention in Cleveland and the 12 Traditions are adopted.

Fast forward 1960, Gamblers Anonymous formed a bit earlier, is on radio talking about the program and its effects on its members. Roseanne S. from LA, hears this and thinks this program could work for people who eat compulsively. Now, you have to get a copy of "Beyond Our Wildest Dreams" and learn about the growth of Overeaters Anonymous. And so be it!

My experience has proven to me that recovery from this devastating disease can be accomplished one day at a time. There is no planning ahead "for that certain day" when I will be at goal weight. This is not done by use of a diet and control. For me, it is a plan for each meal, each day, and the work that the Books suggest. I would not be abstinent without the 12 Steps. Let's talk about them.

Dieting was so familiar to me, especially if I was planning to go to a wedding, vacation, etc. It was just a matter of controlling my food. I could do that. I did it many, many times, with friends, with magazines, liquids, with candy, cookies, etc. And, you know how that turned.

When I saw the 12 Steps on a roll down window shade at the first meeting, I felt, run, do not walk to the nearest escape hatch.



The word that stuck out the most was POWERLESS. Not me! I grew myself up. I accomplished lots of stuff. I was a strong woman. Don't tell me I am powerless. Then, they read one of their books. It was the book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The first sentence of the first chapter on the first page says,


No one! We had warped our minds into such an obsession for destructive eating. Nothing seemed to work. We tried it all. The food always won. I never realized how much food I ate. I also never believed I would weigh as much as I did. They talked about the humiliation of being obese. They talked about the compulsive, obessive, destructive actions we took and some of the reasons for ending up in the food. It sounded so psychological to me. I thought I could read the Steps and then carry the message, so I marched forward.

The step has two parts. I learned that I was not alone, but in the company of others who were really willing to help each other. (I wondered what the payoff was for them ?) Were they really honest and willing? I acted as if I wanted to join them. The Steps start with ONE. Admitting powerlessness brought up a lot of other feelings that scared me. And, that was one of them, FEAR. You have much more to gain by admitting this first recognizable negative behavior. The steps begin with 3 major components: honesty, willingness, and committment. In the Big Book it says, "we shall find no enduring strength until we first admit complete defeat". Had I hit bottom? I do believe so. I think it is really important to remember the desperation we feel when we first come here and make this admission. Am I ready to be honest, willing, and to commit to the rest of the process? I now make a definite will go from powerless in Step One to incredible power working the road to Step Twelve.

Questions you might to consider to ask yourself and write about. Seeing my writing is very important. I can think and talk very well, but when I write it, I believe it.

Write a history of your eating disorder.
Make a list of your binge foods.
Have you ever tried controlled eating?
Am I willing to be "one of them"?
Do I think my eating habits are strange? Be honest.
Am I aware of the effects of my disease?
Is my life unmanageable?

Suggestions for reading: Step One in the OA 12 and 12, and the AA 12 and 12.
                                                The introduction to the Big Book

From time to time, I will share some the "cliches" of the Program. "We are not a glum lot".

If you are willing to go to any lengths, G-d never asks you to work that hard.

Good luck and Happy New Year.

Step Leader
Working the Steps

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