This step talks about “having had a spiritual awakening”. Those words are very impressive, “a spiritual awakening”, but anyone who has taken the third, ninth, and eleventh step, can attest to the fact that they are now living life on a spiritual basis. At the beginning of this step study I believe I wrote about the choice we make by deciding to work this program. It’s the choice to live life according to spiritual principles: honesty, love, service and faith. So if we've made it this far, chances are we have had a spiritual awakening, and can speak from experience, about how our life has improved, and compulsive eating no longer dominates our lives as a result.
Step twelve is very, very close to my heart. It took many years in recovery to fully practice the primary principle in step twelve – service - but when I was ready, it became the basis of my self esteem in so many ways. Since I’ve been in program, I have always believed that even if I am unemployed, I always have one job, and that is the job of carrying the message of OA, of trying to help others recover from compulsive eating. If I get paid work, then I have two jobs! I take service in OA very seriously. Not because of the slogan “you can’t keep it unless you give it away”, but because I know I’ve been given a gift, a second chance at life, and therefore I show my gratitude to my higher power by trying to get the word out, and share this gift with others. I’ve been made strong by my faith and can now help others who are hobbling along.
In very early recovery I didn’t feel ready to work closely with other people as a sponsor. So I did other kinds of service at the group level. I also have done a lot of service beyond the group level. It has been a joy to offer my creative skills to the many needs that the Intergroup committees have.
I want to stress the word “try” in the way this step reads. It says “tried to carry this message”. That’s an important word to note, because we are not being asked to fix anyone, or convert anyone, or do anything perfectly. If we just try and offer our help, we are practicing the 12th step. That saying “Begin where you are, step out in faith, do the best you can, expect God to help” applies here. Trying to help others gain the benefit of the spiritual life that this program purports is what makes me feel like I have a purpose on this planet.
Working these twelve steps with all of you has given me an exceptionally joyous holiday season, which I have not had for a couple of years. God bless you all, and keep coming back.
Questions for reflection:
What can I offer, right now, to the newcomer in OA?
If I haven’t done much service, either at the meeting, or by sponsoring, what is holding me back?
In this coming new year, what new kind of OA service might I consider trying?
In loving service, with a “Happy New Year”,
The Twelve Steps