Step One

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

Step One

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Hi everyone.
My name is Shlomo. I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.
The assignments for SHARE 3 are at the end of this share.

My answers to the assignments in my share 2.
Explain in your own words what is meant by this step and why it is important

Then do this step zero.

Step zero: Fully concede to your innermost self that you are a compulsive
Overeater." More About Alcoholism , page 30.
A compulsive eater is a person who suffers from a two fold disease. An
obsession of the mind and an abnormal reaction of the body to food.
So by doing this step I concede that I have this disease. When I say do this
step it means saying this to myself and to another human being,
I have not just to say it, but to internalize it so I wouldn't have any
doubts about it.

Explain why we are powerless over our food compulsion.
Don't explain what we do as a result of our powerlessness but why we are
And then do this part of step one.

The answer is very simple and is written in the Big Book on page 45 We Agnostics
"Lack of power was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live,
So we are powerless because we don't have a Power greater than ourselves in
our life.

The program leads us step by step and gives us a plan of action that when
done restores our connection to this Power on a daily basis.
I say restores since everyone is born with such a connection.
But our spiritual malady which developed during our life, blocks us from
that connection.
It is not The Power that left us. It is always there for us, but we cannot
benefit from it since we built a blocking wall between us and this Power.
When we restore the connection to this source of Power by working all 12
steps we become powerful and are no longer powerless on a daily basis.

In a nutshell: When we are powerless it is because we are not connected to
a Power greater than ourselves.
When we do connect we stop being powerless and become filled with Power, we
become powerful.

This also means that we become free of our obsession and can lead a life
free of food compulsion.
Since freedom from the obsession means we don't feel any need or desire to
eat compulsively and therefore we don't cause our body to react abnormally.

It is the same as a person who is not a compulsive eater and is allergic to
strawberries for example.
Strawberries give him a rush and he turns all red and itchy when eating them.

So he doesn't eat them, doesn't obsess over them and has no compelling
desire desire to eat them.
The allergy is still there but it is dormant and doesn't bother him at all.

Read page 52 We Agnostics in the Big Book. Mark and copy the bedevilments.
Read page 62 How It Works, mark and copy the sentences that deal; with
Selfishness-self-centeredness, and other negative feelings and actions.
Read page 64 How It Works, mark and copy the sentences about the resentments.
Read page 67 How it Works, mark and copy the sentences about fear.
Those pages describe our spiritual malady-unmanageable life. Explain this in your own words.
Also explain why we cannot deal with our negative feelings and actions.

Let us look at the second part of step one: "-that our lives had become
Suppose I have a good job, I earn a lot of money, I have a nice family and
children and a lot of friends, How can I say that my life is unmanageable?
When I am a compulsive eater not in recovery, my life is unmanageable since
the unmanageability in this step is about my inner being.
When I don't have peace of mind and am ruled by my bedevilments, my fears,
my resentments my regrets,and all and even parts of what is described in the
pages 52, 62, 64, 67,of We Agnostics and How It Works.
My life is unmanageable and nothing in the outside world around me can make
me feel better inside for long.
What is described in the above pages is called our spiritual malady.
Every person on this planet has it to some extent.
It doesn't matter if he is an addict or not,
But in those who have the disease of addiction it is so strong that it
completely blocks us from connecting to a Power greater than ourselves
And renders us powerless not only over our food compulsion but also over our
spiritual malady.
That is why we cannot deal with our spiritual malady just by our will power
and that is why self help book are not of great help to us.
Our program is an H.P., help program and not a self help program because of
our powerlessness.

The word "spiritual with a small s", means feelings- a spiritual malady is
composed of negative emotions, and negative ideas and attitudes to life and
to the world and persons around us.
The 12 step program deals with overcoming the spiritual malady by a
Spiritual solution.
Spiritual with a capital S means Higher Power (H.P), Power greater than
ourselves, God as we understand Him, etc....
  It deals with restoring our connection to a Power greater than ourselves
step by step.
  It also tells us on page 64 How It Works, "When the spiritual malady is overcome,
we straighten out mentally and physically"
Step one deals with our disease but the rest of the steps deal only with our
Spiritual solution.

Our 12 step program is an entirely Spiritual program. It teaches us how to
connect to H.P., by dealing with our emotions.
It doesn't teach us how to stop eating, we know how to stop eating.
  I have stopped thousands of times.
The problem is that I cannot stay stopped from returning to compulsive
  The steps don't teach us what to eat and how to eat. We know all that and
it doesn't help us.
It teaches us how to live without the need to eat compulsively by restoring
our connection to H.P.(Higher Power).
That is the reason I don't write about abstinence in this workshop, since
the steps don't deal with it.
Abstinence according to the Big Book is simply freedom from the obsession
with food (return of sanity) which is described in the tenth step promises
on pages 84-85 Into Action.
All other kinds of dealing with food are not part of 12 step recovery.
This doesn't mean that we cannot try food plans and try to refrain from
eating certain foods.
We just have to understand that if we are real compulsive eaters all those
efforts are doomed to fail because we are powerless over our food compulsion.

And we have to understand that the most important thing in our life is
restoring our connection to a Power greater than ourselves and not
abstinence ( see pages 50 We Agnostics).
Since real abstinence results from this restored connection and from nothing

I know that what I write here is different from what you hear in meetings or
what people share about in the loops.
But I don't represent TRG or OA in my shares, only myself. And I share only
my present ESH and understanding of the 12 step recovery program.

I am absolutely certain that if people put the restoration of their
connection with H.P., as their highest priority instead of food,
  we will have a much higher recovery percentage which will approach the
recovery percentage of alcoholics in the early days of AA.

Let us read what is achieved by working the 12 step program.
This should give us a strong incentive to work all the 12 steps to the best
Of our ability.
Read the Big Book pages 50 We Agnostics, changes as a result of connecting to H.P.,
How It Works page 63, connection to H.P.
Into Action page 75, fifth step promises,
Into Action page 83- 84 ninth step promises.
Into Action page 84-85, tenth step promises.
Appendix II "Spiritual Experience", at the end of the book.
Read the AA 12&12 Step Twelve, pages 106-107 spiritual awakening..
How does reading all those pages affect you?

Step one: "We admitted we were powerless over our food compulsion-that our
Lives had become unmanageable"
A. Is your abstinence the one described in the Big Book as freedom from the
Obsession with food?
If not, do you think such abstinence is possible? How do you plan to achieve
B. What does the word RECOVERED mean to you?
C. Is a recovered compulsive eater still powerless over his food compulsion?
D. Describe your personal spiritual malady and how it affects your life,
Past and present.
E. Describe the manifestation of your food compulsion in your life, past and
F. Do step one By admitting it to yourself, to some other person and to H.P.
That's all for now folks, If I stirred you up a bit and made you think ,it
Served its purpose.

Have a nice day


Send questions and comments to
Send answers to the assignments to:



Hi everyone,
My is Shlomo, I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this step workshop.

Let me sum up what we learned and did so far.
I have a disease called compulsive eating which is two fold:
An abnormal reaction of the body to food which leads to cravings which are a
desire and feeling for more ,generally beyond my mental control.
This abnormal reaction is activated by eating and especially strong for
certain foods and food substances that I am more sensitive to.
Such abnormal reactions are the evidence of a certain biochemical imbalance
in my body for which there is no known cure.
It is chronic and it gets worse with time no matter how recovered I am.
The only way not to activate the abnormal physical reaction by compulsive
eating is by being free of the desire to begin eating foods that activate
As long as I am not free of this desire I will always begin to eat
compulsively even after a period of regular eating that didn't wake up

The second aspect of my disease is a disease of the mind.
  I have an obsession of the mind which convinces me to desire and eat foods
that cause me to overeat and binge and therefore I cannot stay stopped from
overeating and bingeing.
That is why abstinence fails again and again when it is based on my will to
stop eating compulsively.
My obsession redirects my will to a will to eat food that harms me,
reassuring me that this time it will be ok, or making me not give a damn
about the destructive results.
This is called insanity in our program: repeating the same action (eating
foods that cause me cravings) again and again and expecting different
results or not caring about the results.

Our problem is complicated by the fact that eating is a basic instinct of
We have to eat in order to live and cannot stop eating entirely like
alcoholics in recovery do with alcohol.
Compulsive eating is therefore a disease that takes our eating instinct to
destructive extremes like bingeing and overeating, like bingeing and purging
(bulimia) and like starving ourselves to death (anorexia).
The disease distorts our perception of our reality, therefore we are often
confused and believe what our mind tells us about ourselves as the truth.
   But what it tells us about ourselves is a delusion.
We are deluded by our mind to believe lies and do not see the truth.
This is the main cause of the development of our spiritual malady on which I
will write presently.

We have to understand that the abnormal reaction of our bodies to food will
always stay with us even if we recover.
But this is not our main problem.
Our main problem is our obsession that causes us to return to compulsive
eating after periods of not eating compulsively by using our willpower.
If our obsession was somehow removed we wouldn't feel the need or desire to
start eating foods that cause us to overeat or binge or at least not succumb
to that desire.
And then we will not activate our abnormal bodily reaction to food and it
will not bother us at all.

The first thing we have to do is to admit that I have this disease, since
denial will leave me stuck in it.
When I admit that I have this disease I can seek ways to deal with it.
So the zero step I have to take is to "concede to my innermost self that I
am a compulsive eater".
When I do concede and internalize it I can now try to find a remedy for it.
How disappointed I was when everything I tried didn't work.
Diets or food plans based on my willingness to follow them seemed to work
but eventually my obsession made me begin to eat compulsively again.
So I tried to get all kinds of professional help and it didn't help either.

Eventually I reached bottom.
Bottom is not what happens to me or around me.
Bottom is an internal thing. It is a feeling of complete defeat and despair.
I realize I have nowhere to turn. I cannot help myself and others cannot
help me either, and there is no way out.
Bill W., describes his bottom in the chapter Bill's Story before he meets
his friend who recovered.
Page 8 " No words can Tell of the loneliness and despair I found in that
bitter morass of self -pity.
Quicksand stretched around me in all directions. I had met my match. I have
been overwhelmed. Alcohol was my master."
Only when I reach internal bottom will I really try to sincerely practice
the solution offered by the twelve steps.

After reaching bottom I can truly admit that I am powerless over my
compulsive eating.
The result of being powerless is that I cannot stay away for long from the
foods that cause me cravings and overeating and bingeing, and I relapse
again and again and again ...
The program tells me why I am powerless.

The reason I am powerless is because I don't have a Power greater than
myself in my life with regard to my disease.

Only when I have conscious contact with a Power greater than myself will my
obsession be removed and sanity returned and I will recover from my disease.

When I am recovered I stop being powerless and become Powerful.

I can now follow diets and food plans and not desire to eat things that
cause me harm and awaken cravings, and I will not have to relapse ever.
The Big Book says that permanent recovery is possible. And it is.

Now to the first step of the twelve
"We admitted we were powerless over our food compulsion-that our lives had
become unmanageable"
The second part of step one deals with the bedevilments that appear in the
chapter We Agnostics on page 52
Those describe our unmanageable life which is a manifestation of our
spiritual Malay.
The word "spiritual means feelings and the word"Spiritual" concerns
something incorporeal Like a Power greater than ourselves, or H.P. Or God,
So when we talk about the solution to our disease it is entirely and only
When we talk about our disease we talk about our obsession, about our
bodies abnormal reaction, and about our spiritual malady.
Our solution is entirely Spiritual.
Our recovery plan of action deals with our spiritual malady as part of the
solution that helps remove the blocks that separate us from conscious
contact with a power greater than ourselves.
Other parts of the Spiritual solution are composed of prayer and meditation.

When we refer to our spiritual malady we mean a malady of negative
feelings attitudes and relations with the wold around us, which are called
character defects in our program.
Every person on this planet has this malady to some extent.
But in addicted persons which includes compulsive eaters it is strong enough
to block any connection we may have had with a power greater than ourselves
in regards to our disease.
That is why the recovery program deals with our emotions.
We are not only powerless over our food compulsion but we are also powerless
over our spiritual malady.
So when dealing with overcoming the spiritual malady we also use prayer as a
means of beginning to have some initial contact with a Power greater than

Just one more remark about suggestions and directions in the big Book. The 12
step program is suggested as a program of recovery. But once I have decided
to do this program I have to follow the deirections exactly and in full.
Otherwise the program will not work. Not following the directions means
resorting to half measure. And the Big Book says quite explicitly "Half
measures availed us nothing"
The 100 alcoholics who participated in writing this Book made every effort
to tell us exactly how they recovered.
Meaning that if we do exactly what they did we will recoverer too.
It also says that if we decided to have what the writers of the Big Book had,
which is recovery, we have to go to any length to get it.
So we can pick and choose only if we want to do the program or not.
But if we choose to do it we have to follow directions or remain in our
active disease.
Well I hope this summing up made some things clearer.

We cannot just end this post without assignments so here they are.
In my next post we will begin dealing with the recovery program and deal
with step 2.

A. Did you reach bottom ? Describe it.

B. The Big Book tells us in the chapter HOW IT WORKS page 58 "Some of us
have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was inl until we let
go absolutely"
Say the SET ASIDE PRAYER on a daily basis which means every day.
This will help you to let go of the old ideas you brought with you to the
workshop and learn the new ideas (new to you) given in the Big Book.

1. Answer again why we are powerless over food and over our spiritual malady

Please don't tell us what you do as a result of being powerless.
Do you remain powerless in recovery too?

2. Read the chapter We agnostics in the Big Book.
Mark and copy the sentences that give you new information.
Mark and copy the sentences that give you action directions

3. Explain What sentences in this chapter present this program as Spiritual
and not religious.

4. What is needed to begin the recovery program.

5. What arguments if any convinced you to be willing to believe the
existence of a Power greater than yourself.

6. Explain your understanding of the meaning of the proposition "either God
is everything or else He is nothing.God either is, or He isn't. What was our
choice to be?"

7. Where do we find our connection to a Power greater than ourselves according
to the Big Book?

That's all for now folks. Do carry on.
And please don't hesitate to send me questions and comments even if they
seem trivial or silly.
There are no such thing as silly or trivial questions. every question is
So don't be shy. I am here at your service.

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Send answers to assignments to

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