Step Twelve

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps,
we tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters,
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.





Leader's Share and Step Questions


STEP Twelve: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

PART ONE

Hi WTS loopies! We’re nearly at the end of this study in Working The Steps (WTS)in TRG. This will be my last post in this quarter's study. I enjoyed the journey with you the past three months and learned so much from the ESH you shared. Thank you for your hard work and for giving service in this way.

In South Africa the Internet is very wonky because of extreme hyperactivity in the virtual world of our coastal town with thousands of visitors from inland. I’m sorry that the last post of this study is a bit late. I hope you have a joyful holiday season and that the promises of recovery are coming true for you too.

AGAIN, thank you for giving service to this loop by sharing your work week after week with us!

Talking about service:

    "Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking [compulsive eating behaviours] as intensive work with other compulsive eaters. It works when other activities fail." (AA Big Book, page 89, additions between brackets my own)

I love to sponsor. Of all the service commitments this is by far my most favourite way of giving service. And YES, it works to keep ~ by giving it away!

We keep our recovery by working intensively with others who share our disease. I started early because I had a sponsor who encouraged me to give service. My first sponsor died within a year after she started sponsoring me. She gave everything and had so many sponsees, I don’t even think she knew how many. I asked her why she had so many sponsees and why she spent so many hours in giving service. Her answer was “I received so much that I can never out-give God. She left a legacy of servantship and I try to keep her dream moving, even when I was young in recovery and felt I had little to give.

I used to be a very self-centred and selfish person and kept these character defects alive by isolation. This stranglehold is loosing it’s grip by giving service and sharing my Experience, Strength and Hope (ESH) with others. If I don’t do this my recovery is in danger and I gradually slip and slide until a full-blown avalanche takes me right into a relapse. I don’t want to live that way any more.

My instruction manual is the Big Book. "If all else fails, follow the instructions." Did you know that the Big Book was originally written as a specific instruction manual by the pioneers?

Unfortunately there is no short cut to recovery. If there was, it would have been in the instruction manual. I had to take the long winding road, containing 12 steps, many ebbs and flows, and some handy tools to help me on my journey. At the start of my journey my ego told me I did not have to read all the instruction; I could figure most of it out on my own. I guess it took what it took until it took, and for me there were no short cuts. Today I walk these 12 steps in order, because this is what I read in the AA Big Book.

The founders of the 12 step program outlined exactly what they did to get better. They left these instructions for us to follow as outlined in the AA Big Book and the AA 12 and 12. For them it was not theory – they worked it. OA came later and applied the solution to compulsive overeating. I can, you can, anyone can recover by simply doing what the pioneers did. So, up till now we completed 11 steps (many of us) and this week we will study and apply the final step.

We’d be wrong if we think we can graduate after completion of Step 12 this week. I learned that we never really graduate from this programme. Recovery is not a destination but a journey and we need to keep working each one of these steps daily to keep the recovery we already have.

The spiritual awakening changed my life, because that huge, gaping hole in my soul is being filled one day at a time by my HP and food is loosing it’s grip on my life as I trudge this road along with you. Today I choose this spiritual solution and you and I can have a:

    "… daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of [our] spiritual condition." (AA Big Book, page 85, addition between brackets my own)

    "For if an alcoholic [COE] failed to perfect and enlarge his [her] spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, [s]he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If [s]he did not work, [s]he would surely [compulsively eat] drink again, and if [s]he drank, [s]he would surely die." (AA Big Book, page 14 – 15, additions between bracket my own)

***********************

PART TWO

Step Twelve: “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”

Principle: SERVICE

“The principle of service which underlies OA's twelfth step can now guide our actions both inside and outside program. Here we experience the great truth that when we let go of our need to control people and simply allow our Higher Power to serve others through us, we receive an abundance of joy and strength.” (OA 12 and 12, page 106)

How do we live the principle of service out on our road to recovery?

Sponsoring

Showing up at meetings, standing in for leaders who are absent

Organising reading materials

Joining loops and share

Walking the talk

Set up chairs

Working with others

Leading meetings

Contributing financially

Opening and locking the meeting door

Being a greeter

Doing outreach calls

Spreading the message in newspapers, bulletin boards etc.

Keep coming back

Sharing ESH, etc.



Prayer

Dear God, My spiritual awakening continues to unfold.
The help I have received I shall pass on
and give to others, both in and out of the fellowship.
For this opportunity I am grateful.
I pray most humbly to continue walking day by day
on the road of spiritual progress. I pray for inner strength and
wisdom to practice the principles of this way of life
in all I do and say. I need You, my friends, and
the Program every hour of every day. This is a better way to live.


Step 12 is divided into three parts:

A. Having a spiritual awakening.
B. Carrying this message to compulsive eaters.
C. Practicing these principles in all our affairs.

Let’s take them one by one, starting with the spiritual awakering.

A. A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING

What is this spiritual awakening Step 12 talks about?

    “He has been granted a gift which amounts to a new state of consciousness and being. He has been set on a path which tells him he is really going somewhere, that life is not a dead end, not something to be endured or mastered. In a very real sense he has been transformed, because he has laid hold of a source of strength which, in one way or another, he had hitherto denied himself. He finds himself in possession of a degree of honesty, tolerance, unselfishness, peace of mind, and love of which he had thought himself quite incapable.” (AA 12 and 12, page 107)

If this does not sound happy, joyous and free… I want this today. So, what can we do to get this and keep it for better and for worse?

    “… when we are willing to place spiritual growth first— then and only then do we have a real chance.” (AA 12 and 12, page 115)

    “It became clear that if we ever were to feel emotionally secure among grown-up people, we would have to put our lives on a give-and-take basis; we would have to develop the sense of being in partnership or brotherhood with all those around us. We saw that we would need to give constantly of ourselves without demands for repayment.”

    “When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability to be God Himself... If we really depended upon God, we couldn't very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care. These were the new attitudes that finally brought many of us an inner strength and peace that could not be deeply shaken by the shortcomings of others or by any calamity not of our own making.” (AA 12 and 12, page 116, emphasis mine)

Our own OA 12 and 12 adds:

    “We who began working the Steps in order to recover from compulsive eating now find that through them we have embarked on a lifelong journey of spiritual growth. From the isolation of food obsession we have emerged into a new world. Walking hand in hand with our friends and our Higher Power, we are now exploring this world, using the great spiritual principles embodied in the twelve steps as a map to guide our way. We gratefully follow in the footsteps of many others who have walked this way before us, and we’re gratified to be making footprints of our own for others to follow.” (OA 12 and 12, page 106)

How do we keep this spiritual awakening? We avoid complacency and indifference. We also steer away from ‘two stepping’.

    “Our troubles sometimes begin with indifference. We are sober and happy in our A.A. work. Things go well at home and office. We naturally congratulate ourselves on what later proves to be a far too easy and superficial point of view. We temporarily cease to grow because we feel satisfied that there is no need for all of A.A.'s Twelve Steps for us. We are doing fine on a few of them. Maybe we are doing fine on only two of them, the First Step and that part of the Twelfth where we ‘carry the message.’ In A.A. slang, that blissful state is known as ‘two-stepping.’ And it can go on for years.”

    “The best-intentioned of us can fall for the ‘two-step’ illusion. Sooner or later the pink cloud stage wears off and things go disappointingly dull. We begin to think that A.A. doesn't pay off after all. We become puzzled and discouraged.” (AA 12 and 12, page 112-113)

‘Two stepping’ is working steps One and working with others ONLY. This is not recovery, but avoidance or escapism. There are 12 steps and they are in a certain order for a reason.

Calamities can also hamper our spiritual awakening if we don’t deepen our experience by picking up the spiritual tools:

    “Can we transform these calamities into assets, sources of growth and comfort to ourselves and those about us?...[YES], if we are willing to receive that grace of God which can sustain and strengthen us in any catastrophe.”

    “…well-grounded A.A.'s seem to have the ability, by God's grace, to take these troubles in stride and turn them into demonstrations of faith.” (AA 12 and 12, page 113-114)

B. CARRY THIS MESSAGE

Many of us, experiencing this spiritual awakening want to shout this message from the hilltops for all to hear. But the OA 12 and 12 says the following:

    “Those of us who live this program don’t simply carry the message, we are the message. Each day that we live well, we are well, and we embody the joy of recovery which attracts others who want what we’ve found in OA. We’re always happy to share our secret: the twelve steps of Overeaters Anonymous, which empower each of us to live well and be well, one day at a time.” (OA 12 and 12, page 106)

We walk the talk and become an attraction without saying a word!! Even the baby newcomers amongst us:

    “Even the newest of newcomers finds undreamed rewards as [s]he tries to help his [her fellow sister] brother alcoholic, the one who is even blinder than [s]he. This is indeed the kind of giving that actually demands nothing. [S]He does not expect [her] his brother/sister sufferer to pay [her] him, or even to love [her] him. And then [s]he discovers that by the divine paradox of this kind of giving [s]he has found [her] his own reward, whether [her sister] his brother has yet received anything or not.” (AA 12 and 12, page 109, additions between brackets mine)

The spiritual awakening assists to carry the message in the best possible, manner, and (for me) in an attitude of gratitude:

    "To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action." (AA Big Book, page 93, emphasis mine)

    "…[s]he place the welfare of other people ahead of [her] his own." (AA Big Book, page 94, emphasis and additions between brackets mine)

    "Never talk down to an alcoholic [COE] from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual tools for [her] his inspection." (AA Big Book, page 95, emphasis and additions between brackets mine)

    "It is important for [her] him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to [her] him plays a vital part in your own recovery. Actually, [s]he may be helping you more than you are helping [her] him. Make it plain that [s]he is under no obligation to you, that you hope only that [s]he will try to help other [COEs] alcoholics when [s]he escapes [her] his own difficulties." (AA Big Book, page 94, additions between brackets my own)

We’re starting to give with a different attitude and motive; no thought of reward in prestige, glory, or money.

    “You should not be offended if [s]he wants to call it off, for [s]he has helped you more than you have helped [her] him. If your talk has been sane, quiet and full of human understanding, you have perhaps made a friend." (AA Big Book, page 94, additions between brackets my own)

    "If [s]he is sincerely interested and wants to see you again, ask [her] him to read this book in the interval. After doing that, [s]he must decide for [her]/himself whether [s]he wants to go on." (AA Big Book, page 95, additions between brackets my own)

    "We find it a waste of time to keep chasing a [woman] man who cannot or will not work with you. If you leave such a person alone, [s]he may soon become convinced that [s]he cannot recover by [her]/himself." (AA Big Book, page 96, additions between brackets my own)

What about co-dependency in the sponsor/sponsee relationship? For me this was a serious challenge. I’m a professional nurse and like many people in caring professions this is real danger. We have to be very careful not to let the sponsee become dependent on us. A sponsor cannot become her sponsee’s Higher Power! We gave our wills and lives over to the care of God and not to the care of a human being.

A sponsor is not responsible for her/his sponsee’s recovery, relapse or disease. S/he is there to help. Recovery is between us and our HP. If we try to help someone and he or she does not work the programme, it is not our responsibility. It is also NOT my success when my sponsee recovers ~ the applause always belongs to God. I’m simply an instrument carrying the message.

    “Either we had tried to play God and dominate those about us, or we had insisted on being overdependent upon them. Where people had temporarily let us run their lives as though they were still children, we had felt very happy and secure ourselves. But when they finally resisted or ran away, we were bitterly hurt and disappointed. We blamed them, being quite unable to see that our unreasonable demands had been the cause.”

    “When we had taken the opposite tack and had insisted, like infants ourselves, that people protect and take care of us or that the world owed us a living, then the result had been equally unfortunate. This often caused the people we had loved most to push us aside or perhaps desert us entirely. Our disillusionment had been hard to bear. We couldn't imagine people acting that way toward us. We had failed to see that though adult in years we were still behaving childishly, trying to turn everybody—friends, wives, husbands, even the world itself—into protective parents. We had refused to learn the very hard lesson that overdependence upon people is unsuccessful because all people are fallible, and even the best of them will sometimes let us down, especially when our demands for attention become unreasonable.” (AA 12 and 12, page 115-116)

So we share our own ESH and do not criticise. Our relationship is a mutual help relationship based on personal experience only. Our sponsees are free to decide how and if they want to try what worked for us.

It happened a few times that I had no ESH to share to help my sponsees with specific problems I've never experienced. I usually tell them so and refer them either to someone in the fellowship who has more experience or to professional for outside help.

So we find help primarily from our HP, the steps, ESH from the ‘we’ of fellowship or professionals outside the fellowship. For me the following passages in the AA Big Book are profound in helping me find the BEST kind of help:

    "We simply do not stop [eating compulsively] drinking so long as we place dependence upon other people ahead of dependence on God.”

    "Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house." (AA Big Book, page 98, additions between brackets mine)

What is the role of a sponsor? Maybe this table can help us understand what a sponsor IS and what a sponsor IS NOT:

A SPONSOR IS

A SPONSOR IS NOT

A recovering COE/CUE, purger or over-exerciser

A normie (normal person)

Someone who shares ESH

Someone who dictates or gives advice

Non-professional

A doctor, nurse, dietician or other professional or guru

A human and co-traveller, that can become a friend

God or a HP

A trusted servant

A substitute mother, father, husband or wife


How should we sponsor? The Big Book explains exactly how we start and proceed:

    "At first engage in general conversation. After a while, turn the talk to some phase of drinking [compulsive eating behaviours]. Tell him [her] enough about your drinking habits [compulsive eating behaviours], symptoms and experiences to encourage him [her] to speak of him[her]self. If [s]he wishes to talk, let [her] him do so. You will thus get a better idea of how you ought to proceed. If [s]he is not communicative, give [her] him a sketch of your drinking [compulsive eating] career up to the time you quit. But say nothing, for the moment, of how that was accomplished. If [s]he is in a serious mood dwell on the troubles liquor [food] has caused you, being careful not to moralize or lecture. If [her] his mood is light, tell [her] him humorous stories of your escapades. Get [her] him to tell some of [her stories] his."

    "When [s]he sees you know all about the compulsive [eating] drinking game, commence to describe yourself as an alcoholic [compulsive eater]. Tell [her] him how baffled you were, how you finally learned that you were sick. Give [her] him an account of the struggles you made to stop. Show [her] him the mental twist which leads to the first [bite] drink of a spree. … If [s]he is an alcoholic compulsive eater, [s]he will understand you at once. [S]He will match your mental inconsistencies with some of [her] his own."

    "If you are satisfied that [s]he is a real compulsive eater [alcoholic], begin to dwell on the hopeless feature of the malady. Show [her] him, from your own experience, how the queer mental condition surrounding that first bite [drink] prevents normal functioning of the will power. Don't, at this stage, refer to the Big Book, unless [s]he has seen it and wishes to discuss it. And be careful not to brand [her] him as an alcoholic [compulsive eater]. Let [her] him draw [her] his own conclusion. If [s]he sticks to the idea that [s]he can still control [her] his [eating] drinking, tell [her] him that possibly [s]he can if [s]he is not too alcoholic [too far gone as a compulsive eater]. But insist that if [s]he is severely afflicted, there may be little chance [s]he can recover by [her] himself.”

    "Continue to speak of [compulsive eating] alcoholism as an illness, a fatal malady. Talk about the conditions of body and mind which accompany it. Keep [her] his attention focused mainly on your personal experience. Explain that many are doomed who never realize their predicament... you may talk to [her] him about the hopelessness of [compulsive eating] alcoholism because you offer a solution. You will soon have your friend admitting [s]he has many, if not all, of the traits of the [compulsive eater] alcoholic. If [her] his own doctor is willing to tell [her] him that [s]he [has an eating problem] is alcoholic, so much the better. Even though your protégé may not have entirely admitted [her] his condition, [s]he has become very curious to know how you got well. Let [her] him ask you that question, if [s]he will. Tell [her] him exactly what happened to you. Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the [woman] man be agnostic or atheist, make it emphatic that [s]he does not have to agree with your conception of God. [S]He can choose any conception [s]he likes, provided it makes sense to him [her]. The main thing is that [s]he be willing to believe in a power greater than [her] himself and that [s]he live by spiritual principles." (AA Big Book, page 91-93, additions between brackets mine)

I believe we should keep it simple when we talk about spiritual matters. We NEVER talk religion no matter what our religion is. Our programme is a spiritual programme not a religious one. The main difference being expressed in what Bill W.'s sponsor said to him:

    "Why don't you choose your own conception of God?" (AA Big Book, page 12)

    “To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action. Let [her] him see that you are not there to instruct [her] him in religion. Admit that [s]he probably knows more about it than you do … We are dealing only with general principles common to most denominations." (AA Big Book, page 93 – 94, additions between brackets mine).

We will sense that our sponsee identified with our story. Now we can explain the 12 steps and how this programme is the solution.

    "Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal, how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to [her] him. It is important for [her] him to realize that your attempt to pass this on to [her] him plays a vital part in your recovery. Actually, [s]he may be helping you more than you are helping [her] him. Make it plain [s]he is under no obligation to you, that you hope only that [s]he will try to help other compulsive eaters when [s]he escapes [her] his own difficulties.” (AA Big Book, page 94, additions between brackets mine)

    "Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be." (AA Big Book, page 97)

A sponsor and sponsee walk the recovery road together on equal footing, sharing the same problem and solution to the problem.

    "Both you and the new man [woman] must walk day by day in the path of spiritual progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen. When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!" (AA Big Book, page 100, additions between brackets mine)

What if the sponsor starts to struggle again or relapse?

    "… obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got." AA Big Book, page 164)

The sponsor may start to ‘two-step’ again and it does not work. In my opinion the sponsor will inform her/his sponsees what is busy happening and give them a choice regarding the continuation of the relationship.

Other challenges can also occur during sponsorship:

    “… we sometimes carry the message to so many alcoholics that they place us in a position of trust. They make us, let us say, the group's chairman. Here again we are presented with the temptation to overmanage things, and sometimes this results in rebuffs and other consequences which are hard to take.” (AA 12 and 12, page 111)

    “But in the longer run we clearly realize that these are only the pains of growing up, and nothing but good can come from them” (AA 12 and 12, page 111)

Our sponsees may have specific challenges, not nearly as bad as the problems an alcoholic may experience, but I know sponsors who stepped out of their comfort zones, took their sponsees shopping for healthy foods and teaching them how to cook! This is service, even more so in challenging situations. The secret is balance and hearing your HP's intuitive voice.

    “… You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if need be. It may mean the loss of many nights’ sleep, great interference with your pleasures, interruptions to your business. It may mean sharing your money and your home, counseling frantic wives and relatives, innumerable trips to … hospitals …and asylums. Your telephone may jangle at any time of the day or night. Your wife [husband] may sometimes say [s]he is neglected. … Sometimes you will have to call a doctor … Another time you may have to send for … an ambulance. Occasionally you will have to meet such conditions." (AA Big Book, page 97)

But all and all, its WORTH it! We are worth help and so are our sponsees.

This brings us to the last part of Step 12.

C. PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS

So now it’s time to “walk the talk’, do what it takes, get INTO ACTION at home, on the job, in parenthood, at the supermarket, in community, society as a whole and also in meetings, loops and rooms. In fact every sphere of our lives is touched by the principles of the 12 steps of recovery.

    "The spiritual life is not a theory, we have to live it." (AA Big Book, page 83)

    "A.A's twelve steps are a group of principles, spiritual in nature, which if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink [eat compulsively] and enable the sufferer to become happy and usefully whole." (AA 12 and 12, page 15, additions between brackets my own)

Charity begins at home:

    "Since the home has suffered most than anything, it is well that a man [woman] exert him/[her]self there. [S]He is not likely to get far in any direction if [s]he fails to show unselfishness and love under his own roof." (AA Big Book, page 127, additions between brackets my own)

The key and theme of Step Twelve is described in the AA 12 and 12:

    THE joy of living is the theme of A.A.'s Twelfth Step, and action is its key word. Here we turn outward toward our fellow alcoholics who are still in distress. Here we experience the kind of giving that asks no rewards. Here we begin to practice all Twelve Steps of the program in our daily lives so that we and those about us may find emotional sobriety. When the Twelfth Step is seen in its full implication, it is really talking about the kind of love that has no price tag on it. (AA 12 and 12, page 106)

We start to practice these principles in all our affairs and we CANNOT FAIL to RECOVER.


Step One is Honesty  

Step Seven is Humility

Step Two is Hope

Step Eight is Self Discipline

Step Three is Faith

Step Nine is Brotherly love

Step Four is Courage

Step Ten is Perseverance

Step Five is Integrity

Step Eleven is Spirituality

Step Six is Willingness

Step Twelve is Service

When the AA Big Book is closely scrutinised we will find that

  • a number of pages and paragraphs are devoted to steps one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 and 11;
  • an entire chapter is used to tells us how to work with others (step 12);
  • TWO (!!!) chapters were used to deal with the family (Step 12);
  • one chapter helps us to work with an employee (Step 12); and
  • a chapter accenting the need to work with others and the benefits/results of doing so (Step 12).

So 88 pages are devoted to the first eleven steps, while five chapters are used to help us work Step 12!!! STEP TWELVE is a very important step.

Even in the AA 12 and 12, the chapter devoted to Step 12 is twice the size of the other chapters. Step 12 is SIGNIFICANT.

Applying these principles in all our affairs will take the rest of our lives, one day at a time.

    “Can we love the whole pattern of living as eagerly as we do the small segment of it we discover when we try to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety? Can we bring the same spirit of love and tolerance into our sometimes deranged family lives that we bring to our A.A. group? Can we have the same kind of confidence and faith in these people who have been infected and sometimes crippled by our own illness that we have in our sponsors? Can we actually carry the A.A. spirit into our daily work? Can we meet our newly recognized responsibilities to the world at large? And can we bring new purpose and devotion to the religion of our choice? Can we find a new joy of living in trying to do something about all these things?”

    “Furthermore, how shall we come to terms with seeming failure or success? Can we now accept and adjust to either without despair or pride? Can we accept poverty, sickness, loneliness, and bereavement with courage and serenity? Can we steadfastly content ourselves with the humbler, yet sometimes more durable, satisfactions when the brighter, more glittering achievements are denied us?”

    “The A.A. answer to these questions about living is ‘Yes, all of these things are possible.’” (AA 12 and 12, page 111 - 112)

IN CONCLUSION

The SOLE PURPOSE to work Step 12 is not only to help ourselves:

    "At the moment we are trying to put our lives in order. But this is not an end in itself. Our real purpose is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to God and the people about us." (AA Big Book, page 77)

    "For if an alcoholic failed to perfect and enlarge his spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, he could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead.” (AA Big Book, page 14, emphasis mine)

    "Our very lives, as ex problem drinkers [eaters], depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs." (AA Big Book, page 20, emphasis and addition between brackets mine)

    "When a person offended we said to ourselves, ‘This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.’ We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn’t treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful." (AA Big Book, page 67, emphasis mine)

In other words there is nothing wrong with focusing on going through the steps to get abstinence. We probably need that self centred motive to get started. After an amount of time and recovery we have to look beyond that self centred motive to become of maximum service to God and our fellows.

AND the REWARDS are numerous:

    “… no satisfaction has been deeper and no joy greater than in a Twelfth Step job well done. To watch the eyes of men and women open with wonder as they move from darkness into light, to see their lives quickly fill with new purpose and meaning, to see whole families reassembled, to see the [compulsive eating] alcoholic outcast received back into his community in full citizenship, and above all to watch these people awaken to the presence of a loving God in their lives—these things are the substance of what we receive as we carry [OA’s] A.A.'s message to the next [compulsive eater] alcoholic” (AA 12 and 12, page 110, additions between brackets mine)

    “We sit in [online, face to face, telephone, Skype, OA, CoDa, CE, NA] A.A. [etc] meetings and listen, not only to receive something ourselves, but to give the reassurance and support which our presence can bring. If our turn comes to speak at a meeting, we again try to carry A.A.'s message.” (AA 12 and 12, page 110, additions between brackets my own)

Promises of Step Twelve:

  • We can help when no one else can.
  • We can secure other addicts confidence when others fail.
  • Life will take on new meaning.
  • When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's hands were better than anything we could have planned.
  • Following a Higher Power we will live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances are.
  • When spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things we are not supposed to do.
  • God will keep us unharmed

    "We’re no longer afraid of food, either, because we are no longer controlled by it. The glorious fact for most of us is that God has lifted the food obsession from us. Freed of the obsession and restored to sanity, today we choose not to eat self-destructively. We have new ways of coping with our problems now and new practices which make living a positive, joyful experience most of the time. If we should again crave more food than we need, we know we will find relief in the steps instead of compulsive eating." (OA 12 and 12, page 100)

What a joy! Thank you, God!

Assignment:

(i) Reading for this week

(ii) Why do we never graduate from working the 12 steps?

(iii). What message do you want to carry to other’s who suffer from compulsive eating behaviours?

(iii) Take the list of the 12 principles of the 12 Steps and tell us how each one of them plays out your life after completion of this study.

(iv) Imagine you're meeting with a newcomer after a meeting (virtual or face to face). How would you carry the message to that person if you only have ten minutes?

(v) How do you sponsor or plan to sponsor? Are you overwhelmed? Are you available to those who still suffer? If applicable, do you think the people you sponsor more dependent upon you than upon the steps and their higher power?

(vi) Describe your spiritual awakening to us.

(vii) Who and what about this programme was your biggest attraction?

(viii) What helped you most in this round of the WTS? What did you find most difficult? Do you have any suggestions to improve this study?

In loving fellowship

SusanB






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