Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
We are past the half-way mark in our study of the principles behind the Twelve Steps during the WTS this quarter. It is wonderful to see so many of you continuing to participate and share how you are practicing the principles of recovery in all your affairs.
At the same time, many of you may have stopped responding to the shares somewhere along the way. I can completely identify with that! I subscribed to the WTS probably 4 or 5 times before I actually completed all Twelve Steps. So don’t worry if that is you! Go at your own pace and don’t worry about getting things sent on time. It is ALWAYS the right time to Work The Steps so please, please, please: do your best but don’t allow perfectionism or procrastination to get you down! Just do what you can, when you can, and share it with the loop (or just your sponsor, if you prefer).
In my disease, I wanted to either be the best at something, or thought I was the worst. I approached tasks like the WTS in a way that was about competition, getting a “good grade”, being a “good girl” or whatever other kinda silly ego stuff you can imagine. If I couldn’t do the assignment perfectly and on time, I didn’t do it. That also kept me from participating (and being of maximum usefulness) in huge segments of my life.
And this brings us to the principle behind step seven this week, which is humility. Humility is a concept and notion that had zero appeal for me in my disease. Humility was for The Waltons and the folks on Little House on the Prairie in my opinion! Not hip, slick and cool people like me! Thankfully, the power of addiction brought me to my knees and I became willing to re-examine my ideas about pretty much everything.
All of this is intimately related with eating. If I can’t be the best at something, and my ego is running the show, I feel awful. And when I feel awful the only thing that makes me feel better is food. Similarly though, I would often tell myself I was the worst at certain things (like chopping tomatoes, sweeping, being a girlfriend, organizing my finances and catching a volleyball). And I would tell myself awful stories about how bad I was. Once again, the solution was one: more food to take the pain of my failure away.
The Twelve Steps teach us that there is another way. That practicing humility can actually be a lovely thing. We are reminded that humility is about being right-sized in relation to our fellows and our HP: we are equal to everyone, perfectly imperfect in our own ways and all beneath a loving Higher Power. Humility is about right-relations with HP and our fellows.
When I humbly ask my HP to remove my shortcomings, I am accepting the fact that on my own I cannot change. I might try to “act as if” I don’t have a character defect or “act my way into right thinking”, which are wonderful ways of getting to the ultimate refinement of our character. But it is HP who removes them, not me.
Accepting that truth helps keep me humble. So do the mistakes I make because I am a perfectly imperfect human being. I’ve had my very sick mother staying with me for a while and got into some food during the middle of the night this past weekend. I have also been lacking emotional sobriety, feeling highly emotional. I’ve had tears in my eyes for most of today, in fact.
I share this all with you because doing so keeps me humble. That is why honesty continues to be the foundation of ALL the principles of recovery: if I am not willing to be rigorously honest, I will not be able to practice the rest of the principles, such as humility. Just because I made a mistake, it doesn’t mean I am a mistake. It means I am human and have forgotten the right relationship briefly: that if I seek to do His will to the best of my ability, I will be given everything I need and often what I want. He is the Employer, I am the Employee.
So humility for me today looks like sharing with my boyfriend how terrified and sad I am about my mother’s decline. Admitting to my sponsees that I may not be able to meet with them this evening for our regular Big Book study. Calling my sponsor and asking for her suggestions when I am in the doctor’s office and the news and emotion and logistics are too much for me to bear alone. Above all, humility means knowing that I am no better or no worse than anyone else and that, to HP, we are all equal. And that sometimes, all I really need is just a good nap.
One more thing. The 7th step prayer is extremely powerful:
"My Creator, I am now willing that you should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that you now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to you and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen"
It reminds me that my HP will remove the defects if I humbly ask and remember that my job is to be of maximum usefulness to myself and others. Right now my ego wants me to go into a cave and hide from the pain of life and death. My HP has slowly removed that selfish defect for me and, by having this opportunity to be of service on this WTS, get to see the miracle in action. If it were up to me, I’d be hiding and eating. Thankfully, it’s not. And by practicing the principles to the best of my ability, I get to be of service to my family, my fellowship, my partner and myself as I recover one day at a time from compulsive overeating.
Here are some questions and assignments for you this week.
· If you have stopped writing and sharing on this step study, would you be willing to just tell us why? Is it because of perfectionism and procrastination by any chance? If so, now is your chance to answer just ONE question and feel GREAT about yourself today!
· If you have been participating in the study consistently, why do you think you are following through this time? Is it because your food is more surrendered, you are more desperate, you have more time during the summer, etc? Let us know so the rest of us can learn from your perseverance.
· What does humility mean to you?
· Has your view of humility changed in recovery? If so, how?
· Why is it important to cultivate humility to recover from compulsive overeating in your opinion?
· What have you done recently which demonstrates humility? What have you done that may demonstrate a lack of humility?
· Why is being "right-sized” important in this step? Can you share how you have become right-sized physically as well as emotionally and spiritually?
· Which of your character defects do you believe you have which stand in the way of your usefulness to your HP and fellows?
· Read step 7 in the OA 12 and 12 and AA 12 and 12.
The Twelve Steps
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