My name is Susan B and I am a compulsive overeater, sugar addict and emotional eater and the leader of the WTS (Working The Steps) fourth quarter, 2013 study that begins on October 1 and will end on December 31. Thank you for allowing me within the next 12 weeks to share my Experience, Strength and Hope (ESH).
A little bit about myself: I'm 56, married the past 30 years to Peter, mother of three adult children and grandmother to one granddaughter of 21/2.
I had a very brief encounter with OA for the first time in 1989 in the library hall of a small town by the name of Bothaville in South Africa. We were only three in that meeting and I don't think I had gone to meetings more than four times, when we moved away. These 12 Steps stuck with me through many years (even if not in application).
My second introduction to 12-step programmes was in July, 2009, when I did some research for a family member who had an addiction, and Wikipedia led me to Serendipity, and from there I found TRG. So I started the Newcomer's Orientation more or less on July 11, 2009. I've been on this journey ever since and today I weigh about 27kg (59.4 pounds) less than my top weight.
The past four years I've worked the steps three times in totality, once with my first online sponsor, then in WTS (between online sponsors), and then the third time I did Lawrie's Big Book study with my second and third online sponsor and an online recovery friend. I also worked the CoDa steps with my current primary online sponsor in TRG (busy with Step Nine) and am working the steps with my HOW online sponsor (food, inventory and now step sponsor ~ up to Step Six).
My history: During my school years I was always the tallest girl in my class... much taller than my petite little sister who was four years younger than I. My father adored her and my mother loved her so much that her nick-name (up till today) is "Babatjie" (a small baby). I felt unloved, ugly and in the way. Looking at pictures taken during my childhood, I was beautiful and not overweight, just tall for my age. I used the piano, books, and extravagant fantasies to escape from my own perceptions of being unloved, and not cared for. I became an emotional eater - eating over joy, sadness, anger, loneliness, fear and resentment. Later in my early adolescence I discovered the bliss that came from sweet, fatty and starchy food stuff. I started to gain weight, but was still within normal ranges for my height, but I felt fat and unattractive. I went on my first diet when I was 12. I gave the toast and eggs my mother served for breakfast to my elder brother and had fruit from our own garden instead.
As the years passed the weight gain became profound and I had mixed successes and failures with: dieticians, physicians, psychologists, hypnosis and medications (taken orally and injections), homeopathy, fasts, prayer from spiritual gurus, etc... My weight yo-yo'd for the next 32 years, from normal to 45 kg (99 pounds) above normal.
What happened was: As I started my journey in TRG, I discovered that recovery was an inside job and that three parts of my humanness were affected by my disease: my physical body, my spirit and my emotions. My journey was not simple ~ relapses became a common theme and thread the past four years... Gradually I found the solution "Trust God (Steps One to Three and Step 11), Clean House (Steps Four to Nine and Step 10) and Help Others (Step 12)".
How is it today: I've gone down six dress sizes, I'm off my cholesterol and diabetic medications, I'm starting to experience a life that is happy, joyous and free. I live in Steps 10, 11 and 12 daily and my three-legged stool (spiritual, emotional and physical) is the most balanced it has ever been. Since I started working the HOW (aka Honesty, Openness and Willingness) way of recovery (the past six months), my relapses are minimised and I'm not far from a normal weight. In this study my emphasis will be on HOW: Commit ourselves to a black and white abstinence (Step Zero) so we may deal with the grey areas of living. How you work your programme is between you, your sponsor and your Higher Power.
You will receive the 1st step share next Monday. My share for the week will go out on Mondays and repeat on Thursdays.
Your assignment for the week will always be at the bottom of my share for the week.
Some suggestions for the Step Study:
Realize that no one is telling you how to work your programme. My assignment for the week is a suggestion and you decide how you will work your programme with the help of your sponsor.
How our disease manifests itself is different for each one of us: Some of you are compulsive overeaters, some are also sugar addicts (like me), some are bulimics, some are compulsive under-eaters or anorexics, and some are over-exercisers. Typically many of us have some combination of all compulsive behaviours mentioned. We work together, but each one of us has our own individual programme.
So, keeping that in mind, I want to suggest that you:
- Find a sponsor (if you don't already have one) to help guide you through the steps. If you do not have a sponsor, you will find directions in how to get a sponsor in this study loop from time to time.
- When sending in your answers to the step questions, you can choose whether you want to share your answers to the WTS loop or send it to your sponsor only.
- This is also an excellent opportunity to do 90 meetings in 90 days, as this will support your 90 day step study, recovery and abstinence. Meetings can be attended online, by phone, face to face (F2F), via Skype or any kind that is available to you.
- Please get a copy of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous along with The Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions of AA and OA. You can either buy your literature online by visiting www.oa.org or visit your local face to face meeting. You do not need to buy a copy of The Big Book because AA makes it available on the web. The AA Big Book will be found online at the following link: http://www.therecoverygroup.org/special/bbrecovery.html
Scroll all the way to the bottom to find the individual chapters.
The AA 12 X 12 can be found by following this link: http://12and12.net/pdfs.html
- Keep your answers to all step questions, as you will need to refer back to them in Steps Five through Nine.
Your assignment this week is as follows:
(i) Read the following literature:
(ii) Introduce yourself to this loop and share your eating history (if you are open to do so) with us.
- Step one in the OA 12 and 12,
- Step one in the the AA 12 and 12, and
- The Doctor's Opinion in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.
(iii) What are you goals for the next 12 weeks as we Work The Steps together?
In loving service,