Leader's Share and Step Questions
My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.
It is time for step twelve
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."
There are three parts to this step.
The first part tells us that the ONLY result of working the first 11 steps
Is a spiritual awakening.
I gave you some reading and writing assignments in
My last share which included information on spiritual awakening.
But I think that going over some of it will be beneficial.
So what is a spiritual awakening?
The simplest definition is given by the Big Book in appendix II:
" ... Personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from compulsive
Eating..." page 569 third edition, page 567 fourth edition.
So we are changed persons now, recovered from compulsive eating.
Seems simple doesn't it?
Let us expand it a bit.
Big Book chapter There Is A Solution page 27:
" ...spiritual experiences ...appear to be in the nature of huge emotional
displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were
once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one
side, and a complete new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate
The personality change is an emotional change, a change in attitudes towards
ourselves to those around us and to a Power greater than ourselves. It is
explained in appendix II that this change can be sudden which is not common,
and then it is called a spiritual experience, and it can be a gradual change
which is then called a spiritual awakening.
The results are the same, I.e., Recovery from compulsive eating.
This change is a result of working all the 12 steps.
Our life changes gradually from unmanageability to a manageable life as
written in the step nine promises.
And we become free from our obsession with food as written in the tenth step
I have only one answer to anyone who says that he has problems with food.
WORK the steps.
This is the only remedy 12 step fellowships have to offer.
The rest are just delaying temporary relief tactics.
The second part of step 12 is:
"We tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters."
The message is what it says in the first part of this step.
Namely, one achieves a spiritual awakening as a result of working all the 12
Without freely giving what we have freely received we cannot progress and
develop in our recovery. When we neglect that part we regress back into our
disease, since the root of our disease is selfishness and self centeredness.
The Big Book says it simply at the end of the chapter Into Action:
"But this is not all. There is action and more action. "Faith without works
is dead. The next chapter is entirely devoted to STEP TWELVE." page 88.
And page 89 begins with the chapter "WORKING WITH OTHERS."
This chapter begins with a very important message:
"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from
compulsive eating as intensive work with other compulsive eaters. It works
when other activities fail."
So if we work all 12 steps to the best of our ability, but the disease is
still stronger than our recovery, the way to overcome the desire to eat
compulsively is to work intensively with another compulsive eater.
Not to call your sponsor and whine, not to complain or dump your mess in a
But to call another compulsive eater and ask him how you can help him,
Even if you feel you don't have anything to give.
Give a listening ear if you feel you cannot give anything else.
In meetings actively approach newcomers and offer to help.
Talk with them, give them your phone number.
Don't just wait for them to call you, take their number and call them.
In the meetings share about how you work the steps in order to deal with
life's problems, share you recovery actions.
The root of our disease is selfishness and self centeredness and the way to
get out of these defects is to give help and share.
Think about that. Are you really active in working and sharing with others?
Your recovery is in danger if you are not.
A word of warning. Be aware of two stepping, which is working only steps One
and working with others. This is not recovery.
It is escapism from dealing with your disease.
Another point to remember is the following.
Our program is open to all who want it and I will help you gladly as much as
I can, but I am not responsible for your recovery or your relapse or your
disease. This is between you and H.P. So I can only try to help. If I try to
help someone and he does not work the program, it is not my responsibility.
It is not my success when you recover and it is not my failure when you don't.
I only act as an instrument in carrying the message.
The recovery process depends on our relationship with H.P.
Let me quote and discuss some very useful ideas and suggestions about
carrying the message (sponsoring), as they appear the Big Book in the
chapter "WORKING WITH OTHERS".
The Big Book tells us that we should sponsor only those who commit to
work the twelve steps.
"If he does not want to stop eating compulsively, don't waste time trying to
persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity." page 90.
"If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him" page 90.
"If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as
a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees, you may
have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do after he gets
hurt some more." page 95.
A sponsor is just a compulsive eater who shares his ESH in working the 12
step program. It is not his place to act as a nurse or doctor or dietician
or substitute father/mother or husband/wife.
A sponsor should be very careful not to take the place of any professional.
If a sponsee needs or wants professional advice he should turn to
professionals. In the fellowship no one is a professional no matter what he
is outside the fellowship. As I said, a sponsor is only a compulsive eater
sharing his ESH in working the steps and nothing more. This alone is more
than enough, since this is the way we help others to recover.
"If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other
spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no
monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us." page 95.
We don't claim to have a monopoly on recovery we just say that our recovery
program works for us.
"Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out
another compulsive eater and try again. You are sure to find someone
desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste
of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you
leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot
recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny
some other compulsive eater an opportunity to live and be happy." page 96.
We don't waste our time working with someone who cannot or will not work
with us on the 12 steps, since we can spend that time helping someone else
who is interested in our solution.
We also have to be very careful as sponsors not to let the sponsee become
dependent on us. Dependence means slavery. It means making the sponsor my
Higher Power and of course this does not work, since in step 3 we decided to
turn our will and life over to the care of God and not to the care of a
human being. So as sponsors we have to be very careful about that.
"We simply do not stop eating compulsively 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." page 98.
Sometimes the sponsee has all kinds of relationship problems and claims that
he cannot work on his recovery unless his relations with other people like
his family or boss are settled first. The Big Book says that these are just
"Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is
dependent upon his relationship with God." page 99-100.
The sponsee may also think that he cannot work the steps unless he becomes
That is not true. He can and should work the steps and eventually one of the
results of his recovery will be abstinence.
Otherwise he may never work the steps and will never recover.
Remember that freedom from the obsession with food is given only in the step
Now let us see how we sponsor someone who is interested in doing the program
We first describe our personal eating problems and after the sponsee
identifies with us, we explain what it means to be a compulsive eater, that
we have a two fold disease and a spiritual malady.
Then we explain what the solution is and how we applied it and recovered.
"At first engage in general conversation. After a while, turn the talk to
some phase of eating compulsively. Tell him enough about your compulsive
eating, symptoms and experiences to encourage him to speak of himself. If he
wishes to talk, let him do so. You will thus get a better idea of how you
ought to proceed.
If he is not communicative, give him a sketch of your compulsive eating
career up to the time you quit.
But say nothing, for the moment, of how that was accomplished.
If he is in a serious mood dwell on the troubles food has caused you, being
careful not to moralize or lecture.
If his mood is light, tell him humorous stories of your escapades.
Get him to tell some of his."
"When he sees you know all about the compulsive eating game, commence to
describe yourself as a compulsive eater. Tell him how baffled you were, how
you finally learned that you were sick. Give him an account of the struggles
you made to stop. Show him the mental twist which leads to the first bite of
a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter More On
Alcoholism. If he is a compulsive eater, he will understand you at once. He
will match your mental inconsistencies with some of his own."
"If you are satisfied that he is a real compulsive eater, begin to dwell on
the hopeless feature of the malady. Show him, from your own experience, how
the queer mental condition surrounding that first bite prevents normal
functioning of the will power. Don't, at this stage, refer to the Big Book,
unless he has seen it and wishes to discuss it. And be careful not to brand
him as a compulsive eater. Let him draw his own conclusion. If he sticks to
the idea that he can still control his eating, tell him that possibly he can
if he is not too far gone as a compulsive eater. But insist that if he is
severely afflicted, there may be little chance he can recover by himself.
"Continue to speak of compulsive eating as an illness, a fatal malady. Talk
about the conditions of body and mind which accompany it. Keep his attention
focused mainly on your personal experience. Explain that many are doomed who
never realize their predicament... you may talk to him about the
hopelessness of compulsive eating because you offer a solution. You will
soon have your friend admitting he has many, if not all, of the traits of
the compulsive eater. If his own doctor is willing to tell him that he is a
compulsive eater, so much the better. Even though your protege may not have
entirely admitted his condition, he has become very curious to know how you
got well. Let him ask you that question, if he will. TELL HIM EXACTLY WHAT
HAPPENED TO YOU."
Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic
Or atheist, make it emphatic that HE DOES NOT HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOUR
CONCEPTION OF GOD. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes
sense to him. THE MAIN THING IS THAT HE BE WILLING TO BELIEVE IN A POWER
GREATER THAN HIMSELF AND THAT HE LIVE BY SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES. " page 91-93.
We are advised to talk about spirituality in simple terms and not to talk
religion no matter what our religion is, since our program is a spiritual
program 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?" BB, page 12.
The Big Book also explains how to approach a religious person.
"Your prospect may belong to a religious denomination. His religious
education and training may be far superior to yours. In that case he is
going to wonder how you can add anything to what he already knows. But he
well be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why
yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith
alone is insufficient. To be vital, faith must be accompanied by
self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action. Let him see that you are
not there to instruct him in religion. Admit that he probably knows more
about it than you do, but call to his attention the fact that however deep
his faith and knowledge, he could not have applied it or he would not eat
compulsively. Perhaps your story will help him see where he has failed to
practice the very precepts he knows so well. We represent no particular
faith or denomination. We are dealing only with general principles common to
most denominations." pages 93-94.
After the sponsee identified with us, we explain the steps as our program of
action and how we took the steps:
"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 him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass
this on to him plays a vital part in your recovery. Actually, he may be
helping you more than you are helping him. Make it plain he is under no
obligation to you, that you hope only that he will try to help other
compulsive eaters when he escapes his own difficulties. Suggest how
important it is that he place the welfare of other people ahead of his own.
Make it clear that he is not under pressure, that he needn't see you again
if he doesn't want to. You should not be offended if he wants to call it off
for he has helped you more than you have helped him. If your talk has been
sane, quiet and full of human understanding, you have perhaps made a friend.
Maybe you have disturbed him about the question of compulsive eating. This
is all to the good. The more hopeless he feels, the better. He will be more
likely to follow your suggestions." page 94.
The Big Book tells us to avoid preaching which in our fellowship stands for
a "holier that thou" attitude which is based on the defect of false pride (I
am better than you" attitude).
"You will be most successful with compulsive eaters if you do not exhibit
any passion for crusade or reform. Never talk down to a compulsive eater
from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual
tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you. Offer him
friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do
anything to help." page 95.
Helping others should be adopted as a daily way of life in order to grow and
develop in our recovery.
"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." page 97.
The Big Book tells us that the sponsor and his sponsees are intimate sharing
partners. We walk the recovery road together as two equal human beings who
share the same problem and now share the same solution.
"Both you and the new man 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!" page 100.
The Big Book emphasizes that the way we respond to the sponsee's problems is
by sharing our own ESH in solving such problems and not by criticizing. Our
relationship is not a dependency relationship but a mutual help relationship
based on personal experience only. The sponsee is free to decide how and if
to use my shared ESH.
"If you have been successful in solving your own domestic problems, tell the
Newcomer's family how that was accomplished. In this way you can set them on
the right track without becoming critical of them. The story of how you and
your wife settled your difficulties is worth any amount of criticism." page
This also implies that if we don't have personal experience with some of the
Sponsee's problems, we should say so. We should say that we don't have
personal experience in dealing with such problems and refer him to someone
who has this experience in the fellowship, or if needed, suggest he turn to
professional help. It is of utmost importance to admit that there are things
we don't know or don't have experience about, otherwise we act out of pride
and dishonesty. Just to use the example of the Big Book. If the sponsee has
marital problems and I was never married or never had any, I cannot share
personal ESH on such problems and should say so.
As a recovered person I have to be at any place where I can be of maximum
help to others.
"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness
to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You
should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand
Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you
The first place to be is were there are compulsive eaters who seek the
solution of the 12 step program. This means going to 12 step fellowship
meetings for compulsive eaters, sharing and sponsoring f2f. It means
participating in online activities like sharing and sponsoring in the
It means going anywhere else where I can be of help.
Now to some personal ESH suggestions about sponsoring and sponsor/sponsee
relations. These are my personal opinions based on my interpretation and
understanding of the suggestions in the Big Book, and not necessarily what
is recommended in OA or the Recovery Group.
In my opinion a sponsor is someone who has worked all 12 steps, is not a
salve to his food obsession, And is working steps 10-12 on a daily basis. I
think that my first commitment is to my recovery and before I reach that
stage in my step work, I am on the road to recovery, but I have not yet
reached a recovery stage that really enables me to carry fully the message
of my personal recovery.
The Big Book puts it in these words:
" ... his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered...
"Outline the program of action, explaining how you made self-appraisal, how
you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful
to him." page 94
"He has read this volume [the Big Book which you left for him to read and
says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of
recovery. Having had the experience yourself [of working all the 12 steps,
you can give him much practical advise." page 96.
So we see that the Big Book refers to the sponsor as a recovered person who
worked all the 12 steps, and now has a message of personal recovery to share
Otherwise I can be a very helpful person but I am not a sponsor according to
the Big Book.
"But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got." BB page 164.
As I see it, a recovered person transmits recovery and a person who has not
yet reached the recovery stage by working all the steps cannot transmit
recovery yet. His message is still flawed till he completes the whole
process which is working all the 12 steps.
Does this mean that I cannot help others before completing all the steps?
I can do a lot of things to help others and give service which is also
considered 12 step work. But to be an effective sponsor I have to first
recover myself by working all the steps.
The A.A., 12 & 12 step 12, explains what kinds service can and should be
"Even the newest of newcomers find undreamed rewards as they try to help
their sisters and brothers, the ones who are even blinder than they. This is
indeed the kind of giving that actually demands nothing. They do not expect
their fellow sufferers to pay them, or even to love them. And then they
discover that by the divine paradox of this kind of giving they have found
their own reward, whether the newer ones have yet received anything or not.
Their own character may still be gravely defective, but they somehow know
that God has enabled them to make a mighty beginning, and they sense that
they stand at the edge of new mysteries, joys, and experiences of which they
had never even dreamed."
"Practically every twelve step fellowship member declares that no
satisfaction has been deeper and no joy greater than in a Twelfth Step job
To watch the eyes of women and men 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..., 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 the message to the next compulsive eater.
"Nor is this the only kind of Twelfth Step work. We sit in 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 message. Whether our audience is one or many,
it is still Twelfth Step work. There are many opportunities even for those
of us who feel unable to speak at meetings or who are so situated that we
cannot do much face-to-face Twelfth Step work. We can be the ones who take
on the unspectacular but important tasks that make good Twelfth Step work
possible, perhaps arranging for the coffee and
Before and after the meetings, where so many skeptical, suspicious newcomers
have found confidence and comfort in the laughter and talk. This is Twelfth
Step work in the very best sense of the word. 'Freely ye have received;
freely give ...' is the core of this part of Step Twelve."
"We may often pass through Twelfth Step experiences where we will seem to be
temporarily off the beam. These will appear as big setbacks at the time, but
will be seen later as stepping-stones to better things. For example, we may
set our hearts on getting a particular person to stop eating compulsively,
and after doing all we can for months, we see them relapse. Perhaps this
will happen in a succession of cases, and we may be deeply discouraged as to
our ability to carry the message. Or we may encounter the reverse situation,
in which we are highly elated because we seem to have been successful. Here
the temptation is to become rather possessive of these newcomers. Perhaps we
try to give them advice about their affairs which we aren't really competent
to give or ought not give at all. Then we are hurt and confused when the
advice is rejected, or when it is accepted and brings still greater
confusion. By a great deal of ardent Twelfth Step work we sometimes carry
the message to so many compulsive eaters that they place us in a position of
trust. They make us, let us say, the group's chairperson. Here again we are
presented with the temptation to over-manage things, and sometimes this
results in rebuffs and other consequences which are hard to take."
"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 if we turn more and more
to the entire Twelve Steps for the answers." pages 109-111.
So in addition to sponsoring, there is a lot of service that can be done.
Sharing ESH in meetings, helping by volunteering to all kinds of service
tasks even as simple as arranging for coffee and tea for the meetings,
volunteering to be a group's secretary, or inviting leaders to the meeting,
welcoming newcomers, selling approved literature , arranging the chairs in
the meeting room, being the treasurer of the meeting, volunteering to serve
in an Intergroup, and in the Recovery Group. There are a lot of trusted
servants jobs we can volunteer to do. It is important to remember that
service is an integral part of our recovery process. It is our way of really
belonging to the fellowship. Service makes us part of the fellowship and not
just a participator in the fellowship.
Before I continue with the third part of step twelve let me write some
personal suggestions about relations between sponsors and sponsees
1. A sponsee can have more than one sponsor.
2. A sponsee may leave his sponsor whenever he/she wants and choose another
3. It is best to agree from the beginning on what the sponsor and the
sponsee expect from their relationship and commit to some simple ground
rules like when and how often to get in touch, etc.
4. If the relationship becomes a relationship of dependency it should be
terminated at once. The relationship between a sponsor and sponsee should be
a relationship of help between equals.
5. There are two sponsoring stages:
A) The sponsee is learning how to work the steps and the sponsor guides him
in doing it.
B) The sponsee has worked all the 12 steps and is now working steps 10-12 on
a daily basis. At this stage the sponsor becomes more of a sharing partner.
Personally I have found it very useful to sponsor each other at this stage,
sharing our problems and successes and using each other's ESH.
6. As a sponsor share about your difficulties with your sponsee too,
otherwise he is bound to think that you are perfect, and be afraid to be
honest about his difficulties with food and with life. Complete Honesty
between sponsor and sponsee is essential.
7. As a sponsor share only your personal ESH in working the steps and in
applying them to life's problems. Say I DON'T KNOW as an answer to any
problem you have not experienced personally, or solved personally. Don't
hesitate to refer your sponsee to another suitable person who can give him
an answer based on personal experience or to a professional.
8. An integral part of our recovery process is giving service. As a sponsor
see to it that your sponsee understands it from the beginning of your
relationship and volunteers to give service, and goes to meetings.
9. Volunteer to sponsor in The Recovery Group (abbreviated TRG) and in the
WTS loop. We need you and you need us.
In order to sponsor in TRG write to: TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org
In order to volunteer specifically to sponsor in the coming quarter in WTS
write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Add a short bio which includes a short summery of your step work.
10. Volunteer for service in the Recovery Group. There are lots of service
tasks that can be done. Write to the administrators at:
Ask for information and volunteer for service.
1. Share your spiritual awakening with us.
2. Volunteer to sponsor in TRG, OA or any other 12 step fellowship for
compulsive eaters that you belong to.
3. Volunteer to give service in f2f meetings and in online meetings and
4. Help other compulsive eaters actively and not passively. Take the
5.. Share with us how you carry the message and give service at present and
how you plan to do it in the near future.
Comments and questions are welcome
TOP OF PAGE
My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.
Now it is time to deal with the third part of step twelve:
"...AND TO PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS"
What are the principles?
The AA 12 & 12 explains it quite clearly on page 15.
"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 eat compulsively and
enable the sufferer to become happy and usefully whole." Simple isn't it?
The steps are the principles.
So we have to practice the twelve steps in all our affairs, which means we
have to incorporate them in every area of our lives, or as the Big Book
says: "The spiritual life is not a theory, we have to live it." page 83.
For me the first place to practice living the program is at home with my
family. I tended to be more obnoxious at home since outside I usually put on
my outside manners mask. The next place is at work. Other places are shops,
driving my car, etc. In all places and in all our affairs we have to conduct
ourselves according to the program code of love and tolerance and it is not
Let us see what the Big Book has to say about practicing the steps in my
family which is I think the most important place to live the program.
The chapter THE FAMILY AFTERWARD.
"Cessation of eating compulsively is but the first step away from a highly
strained abnormal condition" page 122
This is also emphasized in the chapter THERE IS A SOLUTION page 19
"We feel that elimination of our compulsive eating is but a beginning.
A more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our
respective homes, occupations and affairs."
"We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and convert them into
assets" page 124.
"Cling to the thought that in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest
possession you have-the key to life and happiness for others. With it you
can avert death and misery for them." page 124.
Our past experience can turn into an asset when helping others.
" ...we do not relate intimate experiences of another person unless we are
sure he would approve.
We find it better when possible to stick to our own stories.
A man may criticize or laugh at himself and it will affect others favorably,
but criticism or ridicule coming from another often produces contrary effect
members of a family should watch such matters carefully, for one careless
inconsiderate remark has been known to raise the very devil" Page 125
" Since the home has suffered most than anything, it is well that a man
exert himself there. He is not likely to get far in any direction if he
fails to show unselfishness and love under his own roof" page 127
"We had come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds
with Him (with H.P.), but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth.
"But we are not a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our
existence, they wouldn't want it...
We absolutely insist on enjoying life.So we think cheerfulness and laughter
make for usefulness...
But why shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power
to help others...
We are sure God wants us to be happy joyous and free?" pages 132-133
"God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists,
and practitioners of various kinds.
Do not hesitate to taken your health problems to such persons." page 133
"Whether the family goes on the spiritual path or not, the compulsive eater
has to if he would recover" page 135.
Let us see what the A.A. 12 & 12 step twelve, has to say about applying
these principles in all our affairs.
"Now comes the biggest question yet. What about the practice of these
principles in ALL our affairs? 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 compulsive eaters achieve recovery? Can we bring the same spirit of
love and tolerance into our sometimes deranged family lives that we bring to
our group meetings? 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 fellowship
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 fellowship's answer to these questions about living is 'Yes, all of
these things are possible.' We know this because we see monotony, pain, and
even calamity turned to good use by those who keep on trying to practice the
twelve Steps. And if these are facts of life for the many compulsive eaters
who have recovered in the fellowship , they can become the facts of life for
many more." Pages 111-112.
Now let us consider some warnings about resting on our laurels, that are
given in the A.A. 12 & 12. And how working all the 12 steps makes us grow
and develops our recovery.
"Of course all those who work the program , even the best, fall far short of
such achievements as a consistent thing. Without necessarily taking that
first bite, we often get quite far off the beam. Our troubles sometimes
begin with indifference. We are abstinent and happy in our recovery 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 the 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 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. [OA] doesn't pay off after all. We become puzzled
"Then perhaps life, as it has a way of doing, suddenly hands us a great big
lump that we can't begin to swallow, let alone digest. We fail to get a
worked-for promotion. We lose that good job. Maybe there are serious
domestic or romantic difficulties, or perhaps someone we thought God was
looking after becomes a military casualty.
"What then? Have we compulsive eaters got, or can we get, the resources to
meet these calamities which come to so many? These were problems of life
which we could never face up to. Can we now, with the help of God as we
understand Him, handle them as well and as bravely as our normative friends
often do? Can we transform these calamities into assets, sources of growth
and comfort to ourselves and those about us? Well, we surely have a chance
if we switch from 'two-stepping' to twelve-stepping,' if we are willing to
receive that grace of God which can sustain and strengthen us in any
"Our basic troubles are the same as everyone else's, but when an honest
effort is made 'to practice these principles in all our affairs,'
well-grounded compulsive eaters seem to have the ability, by God's grace, to
take these troubles in stride and turn them into demonstrations of faith. We
have seen recovered compulsive eaters suffer lingering and fatal illness
with little complaint, and often in good cheer. We have sometimes seen
families broken apart by misunderstanding, tensions, or actual infidelity,
who are reunited by this way of life... "
"Like most people, we have found that we can take our big lumps as they come
But also like others, we often discover a greater challenge in the lesser
and more continuous problems of life. Our answer is in still more spiritual
development. Only by this means can we improve our chances for really happy
and useful living. And as we grow spiritually, we find that our old
attitudes toward our instincts need to undergo drastic revisions. Our
desires for emotional security and wealth, for personal prestige and power,
for romance, and for family satisfactions -- all these have to be tempered
and redirected. We have learned that the satisfaction of instincts cannot be
the sole end and aim of our lives. If we place instincts first, we have got
the cart before the horse; we shall be pulled backward into disillusionment.
But when we are willing to place spiritual growth first -- then and only
then do we have a real chance."
"After we come into the fellowship , if we go on growing, our attitudes and
actions toward security -- emotional security and financial security --
commence to change profoundly..."
"As we made spiritual progress, ... 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 kinship with all those around us. We saw that we would
need to give constantly of ourselves without demands for repayment. When we
persistently did this we gradually found that people were attracted to us as
never before. And even if they failed us, we could be understanding and not
too seriously affected."
"When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of
emotional stability, in fact, to be God Himself. We found that dependence
upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it
would work where nothing else would. 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
" ... For those of us who were like that, the fellowship had a very special
meaning. Through it we begin to learn right relations with people who
understand us; we don't have to be alone any more.
" ... as time passed we found that with the help of the Twelve Steps we
could lose those fears (fears of financial insecurity), no matter what our
material prospects were. We could cheerfully perform humble labor without
worrying about tomorrow. If our circumstances happened to be good, we no
longer dreaded a change for the worse, for we had learned that these
troubles could be turned into great values. It did not matter too much what
our material condition was, but it did matter what our spiritual condition
was. Money gradually became our servant and not our master. It became a
means of exchanging love and service with those about us. When, with God's
help, we calmly accepted our lot, then we found we could live at peace with
ourselves and show others who still suffered the same fears that they could
get over them, too. We found that freedom from fear was more important than
freedom from want..."
" ... Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes, and right
action is the key to good living; therefore the joy of good living is the
theme of the fellowship's Twelfth Step." pages 112-125.
PERSONAL ESH AND PRACTICAL ADDITIONAL RECOVERY SUGGESTIONS
I will now deal deal with some personal ESH activities that I incorporate
into my daily recovery work. I learned these activities and ideas from
others. They do not appear in the AA or OA books but I found them a very
effective recovery practice that is essentially a step 7 activity applied to
different situations and problems in life. I found those actions to be very
effective in expanding my recovery and look upon them as part of my daily
practice of steps 10 -12.
Of course they are personal suggestions only and you can use them or not as
you see fit. There is just one important point to make before continuing.
All the processes I write about, work only if we do them. Just reading about
them or understanding them is of no help. This is true of course for our
whole recovery program.
DEALING WITH FEARS:
I will repeat and expand here since fear is one of the most basic and rooted
liabilities that an addict has. I think the reason is simple. Our disease
twists our perception of reality and this causes us to feel insecure and
The way the Big Book suggests we deal with fears is first by prayer.
"We ask God to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would
have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear." page 68.
When we pray we begin to outgrow fear. By asking God to direct my attention
toward what He would have me do, we ask to be given a clear perception of
reality that is not clouded by our illness. We also ask for the power to
walk through the fear and act according to God's will. The asset that is
conjugate to fear is faith and trust in God, which results in courage.
Let me now look at what we usually fear, and then see some ESH suggestions
for asset practice.
Fear about some future event, which is a manifestation of fear of the
Examples: Expecting something that I have (money, family, job, freedom, love
etc.) to be taken from me. Expecting not to get something that I want (money
family, job, freedom, love, etc.). Fear of being found out, which is a fear
of possible future results of something I did that I shouldn't have done, or
something that I didn't do and should have done.
Why do we fear or worry about these future events?
1. We fear because we lack information.
2. We fear because we assume responsibility for solving future events now.
We invent imagined information, project it into the future situations, build
a frightening scene in our mind and go over it repeatedly as if it were real
and thus frighten ourselves.
This assuming and projecting is a manifestation of NOT living in the here
3. We fear because our self-trust is very low, which results in fear of
taking necessary action.
We deal with this sort of fear by the practice of the personal expanding
asset list as explained in the previous posts. So I will not discuss it any
Dealing with fear:
1. Dealing with lack of information is quite simple. We get the information
from a suitable person. It can be a professional, in case of an illness for
example, or it can be someone who had the problem I have and solved it, or
it can be asking God for the answer and doing some prayer and meditation.
Let us see some examples.
A). I have a pain in my hip and I think I am going to die of bone cancer. I
think a lot of men are like that. This is an assumption I use to scare
myself instead of gathering relevant information. So the treatment is to go
to an expect doctor, be examined and get the information. And what is more
difficult sometimes, to be ready to accept what the expert doctor says.
Even if the information is grave it can be dealt with since it is not a
fantasy. Usually the fear is gone or diminished in such cases, since we know
what can really be done, and whatever comes, we can leave the consequences
B). I have a new job and part of it is making phone calls to people I don't
know. It turns out that I have a fear of using the phone, so I procrastinate
and may loose the job. Trying to get advice from a coworker who never had
such a problem is no help, since all he can say is "what is the matter, why
are you dramatizing things? It is very easy. Just make the calls, you don't
have to do more than that, and the person on the other end will not bite you
Great advice, but of no use to me. I know all that and I am still afraid of
making the calls.
Asking someone who has the same problem for help is no good either. He can
just say that he identifies with me and we can cry on each other's shoulders
together. I have to find someone who had this problem and solved it. Then I
can try to use his experience in overcoming this kind of fear.
Does this remind you of something? How about our compulsive eating? We
cannot be helped by someone who is not a compulsive eater and we cannot be
helped by someone who is a compulsive eater deep in the problem. We can be
helped by a compulsive eater in recovery who works the solution. We can
begin our recovery by using his ESH.
C). I get a letter from the IRS and they invite me to see them in two weeks
about my previous year's taxes. I get scared imagining that they are after
my hide. They will confiscate all my property and put me in jail since I
probably did something wrong. This is an example of assumption and
Usually I used to worry and do nothing, and come unprepared. Then I get some
large fines just to make some of my fears come true.
Now, working the program, I begin by praying to H.P. To remove my fears.
Then I begin some positive actions. First I ask God for help and I determine
not to deal with the whole problem now. Committing to live in the here and
now, take responsibility only for my immediate small step, and leave the
rest to God.
Remembering that my next step is evolved by my present step, and the present
step is the only thing I can deal with, I ask myself what small step can I
do now towards solving the problem.
Maybe it is just finding and organizing some of the papers I will need,
receipts, reports and such. Maybe it will take a few days, so I determine
What I can comfortably do today and turn the rest over to God. This way I
can do a small step every day. Maybe I can get advice from an accountant,
Too. But I don't worry, since worrying is a paralyzing defect that gets me
nowhere. I just pray to H.P. And do my footwork and you now what, on the day
I have to visit the IRS, I come prepared. It even turns out that they owe me
some money and I get a nice check for my troubles.
D). Sometimes the answer is to ask myself how I should approach the fear
problem. I ask H.P. for help, usually by prayer and I listen to H.P.'s
answer by meditation.
This is a good practice for any problem since the answers I get may also
tell me if I need to seek advice from another person and which kind of
person to approach.
4. Another type of fear is addiction to fear. This is really an adrenaline
addiction similar to gambling addiction. Fear makes the body secrete
adrenaline and gets me kind of excited. It is a feeling in the gut like
there are butterflies flying around there. Usually this kind of excitement
ends up by my feeling bad about myself, like the feeling after eating too
There is a simple way to eventually get rid of such obsession. Find some
other obsession to replace it. Well, I will not go as far as that, but here
is a simple method that helps a lot, since it is positive and is an act of
Write a list of all the pleasant/exciting activities that you like. It can
be as simple as going to a movie or spending an hour with yourself, or
reading a nice book or dancing, or listening to music, or watching the
sunset, etc. Choose activities that are not dependent on the participation
of others, though they can be activities in which others participate.
Choose a different activity from your list each week and decide to do it.
Determine a date place and time and just do it. Don't find last minute
excuses to postpone it. After a while you may choose two different
activities a week, we don't want to indulge ourselves too much. What happens
is that you get excited planning the activity, you are exited doing it and
you get excited remembering it. Quite a nice bundle of excitements that
replaces the fear excitement, with one big difference: it leaves you feeling
good about yourself, since it was an act of self-care and self-love.
Now let us deal with some more recovery practices.
POSTPONED FULFILLMENTS PROCESS:
This process makes me realize how I neglected my needs and helps me to give
them the right priority in my life
1. Write down two or three things you have wanted to do but have not taken
the time for.
REMARK: We have a tendency to look for very big things that I missed doing
in my life, like being a multimillionaire or a famous movie star. What we
are looking for here are simple things like time for myself, hiking, having
my own little garden, writing, studying makeup or interior decorating, or
taking night courses, or some career courses, etc.
Choose some things you keep running up against.
2. How often do you think of them?
EXAMPLE: Let us say that I plan to turn one of my weekends into a special
vacation, and it never gets done. I think of it quite often but still it
never gets done.
3. Attempt to identify which emotions are triggered by your thinking of
REMARK: It may be enthusiasm, excitement, relaxation, a sense of adventure,
4. Make a list of the projects that currently require your time and energy.
Include situations which you spend time on by thinking or worrying about
REMARK: This is a good opportunity to see what happens in my life now. I
list projects that take up my time and energy including family, job, etc.
There are decisions that may take a few minutes to decide but take hours of
worrying about them till I decide. So include those too, since when I worry
I can't do anything else.
It is interesting to note that worrying draws into my life problems that
justify my worry. This is a spiritual principle. When I focus on the
negative I draw negative into my life, and when I focus on the positive I
draw positive. The story "Doctor Alcoholic Addict" in the Big Book talks
about it. See for example pages 450-451, in the third edition. In the fourth
edition see pages 418-419.
5. Ask yourself if any of the items that currently require your time and
energy are more important than your well being.
REMARK: My answer may be no! But the evidence of my life shows otherwise,
since I dealt with these things first and neglected the things I wanted to
6. Which of the activities in No. 4 can you comfortably release immediately
or phase yourself out of over the next few months?
REMARK: Some things I cannot get out of doing, but maybe there are some
things I can reduce, like cleaning the house for the fifth time this week,
maybe twice is enough. Or pay someone to do some of the things for me; then
I can use the freed time more productively for myself.
7. What can you COMFORTABLY do this week in terms of exploring or pursuing
that activity/activities you've always wanted to do?
REMARK: The key word is "comfortably." We don't want to get stressed over it
but to enjoy ourselves. Choose one or more of the things you mentioned in 1
8. Reassure yourself that you are worth it; that you deserve to spend your
time enjoyably for you.
REMARK: I actively reassure myself that it is ok.
The purpose of this process is to bring me more in touch with what I do
about the important situations in my life.
1. Select a situation (job, relationship, etc.).
2. List the things you want from that situation.
(Examples: Fulfillment, companionship, sensitivity, etc.)
REMARK: Since a lot of times we don't know what exactly we want from a
particular situation, we waste a lot of time in the attempt of holding on to
it, instead of benefiting from it. Therefore this is an opportunity to find
out what I really want from this situation.
3. What problems currently stand in the way of your having the things you
want from the situation?
4. Ask yourself what qualities you need in order for this situation to come
into your life.
REMARK: Maybe I will need more ability to talk about myself or to promote
myself, or more patience or study, etc.
5. What is the first step or steps towards creating the situation you want?
REMARK: Instead of being a victim of the situation, what can I do to direct
things towards my benefit?
6. What can you comfortably begin with today?
A lot of times we know we have a problem, but get stuck there. In this
process we unfold the problem so that we can do something about it.
1. Identify a problem or issue.
How long has it been in your life?
2. What prevents you from solving this problem?
3. Of the following choices, identify your fears and resistances regarding
a) The fear of acknowledging the problem.
b) The fear of losing something you have.
c) The fear of not getting what you want.
d) The fear of becoming something you don't want to be.
e) The fear of becoming like someone you don't like or respect.
EXAMPLE: A lot of times we live in fear that we will be like our parents,
for example, and therefore we run away from every characteristic we have
that is similar to theirs. We run away without understanding that we can
possibly use this characteristic in a much better and useful way then they
4. What effect is the problem having on your life? What things do you have
to cope with because of the problem? What resentments do you have because of
it? How does it affect your behaviors in ways you do not like?
REMARK: Consider seriously not only the immediate effects but also secondary
effects. This gives a wide view into areas this problem creates that
generally are not considered.
5. What external factors contribute to the problem? And what did these
REMARK: External factors like other people's opinions, involvement of family
members, parents, children, places, health factors, or other subjects that
are connected to the problem and have to be considered.
6. Identify the YOU factor in the problem:
On a daily basis:
On a longer term basis:
REMARK: What do I bring into the problem in terms of rationalization,
self-justification, outbreaks of anger, resentments, people-pleasing.
People-pleasing is a very devastating affair of not being who we really are.
Never being right, but always being right for someone else. When we get into
it, to some extent our resentments turn into "justified" anger points by
which we "get" some of our self-esteem back. We do this by "working and
reworking" our resentments in our heads, to balance our people-pleasing.
This is a good place to identify these things if they exist in us.
7. What resistances, rationalizations/excuses, arise when the solution to
the problem surfaces?
REMARKS: The problem may prey on my mind, and sometimes quite normally
insights arise that this or that will solve the problem. And then the
resistance begins by saying to myself, it is not that, or it is not possible
that this is the right answer. So we write down the excuses, and resistances
we use in order to push an arising solution back inside and ignore it.
8. How would you feel if the problem were solved now? Elaborate on this
REMARK: Your answer may surprise you.
9. What first steps can you COMFORTABLY do today to start resolving the
issues listed in this process?
REMARK: The key word is COMFORTABLY, since we always look towards a giant
crushing step that we should take and we never take it. We only want to know
what we can do this moment, comfortably and harmoniously, from where we are
standing now, in order to solve some of the issues.
10. Indicate whether or not you can commit to that first step NOW!!!!
REMARK: Here I begin to move towards the solution. But suppose something
came up and I have to wait a few days till I can do it? Then I can begin to
do something NOW that will enable me to take the necessary step in a few
Example: If I have to go and talk with someone like my boss in a few days, I
can today begin to arrange to have free time then, and not arrive that day
to work and see that I cannot meet him because of other commitments.
1. Deal with your existing fears by the processes explained in this post.
a) Getting needed information from suitable persons (professionals, people
who had my problem and solved it, etc.). Include inner contemplation, prayer
b) Committing to living in the here and now and acting accordingly in the
now with simple immediate steps, surrendering the rest to H.P.
c) Doing some fun "I" activities for me on a weekly basis.
2. Begin dealing with your neglected needs by the "Postponed Fulfillment"
3. Begin to bring yourself more in touch with what to do about the important
situations in your life, by doing the "Situation Analysis" process.
4. Unfold problems you have in your life, so that you can do something about
them. Use the "Problem Analysis" process.
5. Share about using these processes and how it influences your feelings and
6. Share How you use the steps in all your affairs
7. The steps alone are not all there is to the recovery program.
The traditions are also very important to our recovery
Read the TRG guidelines in: www.therecoverygroup.org/support/guidelines.html
Reflect and share with us how you apply the traditions in the fellowship
Reflect and share with us how you apply the traditions or your understanding
of how one should apply the traditions in all one's affairs.
8. SHARE WITH US WHAT YOU GAINED FROM THIS WORKSHOP AND HOW IT AFFECTED YOU.
IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS SHARE THEM TOO.
This is an invitation to all WTS members to share, whether you participated
actively or not.
I will be with you till the end of this month, and answer any questions that
you have about the steps and the traditions. As always you are invited to
ask questions. Your questions are always welcome and are really needed.
I want to thank all of you for being here.
I enjoyed your shares immensely and I learned a lot from your shares and
Thanks are due to all the trusted servants that keep WTS a functioning
And thanks are due to all the trusted servants in TRG.
This is a marvelous place for recovery from compulsive eating.
I thank my H.P. For giving me the inspiration and the ability to write and
just let the words flow. If there are any mistakes, wrong interpretations or
unclear explanations they are my doing not His. If some of you want to keep
In touch after the workshop or ask questions you are welcome.
And last but not least.
Those of you who have worked all 12 steps at least once, and are willing to
give service as WTS sponsors in the coming quarter which begins on 1 July,
Please write to me at: email@example.com
Add a short bio that includes your step work.
In the subject line write SPONSORING WTS.
I wish us all a life full of recovery
Have a nice day
The Twelve Steps
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