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


Here are questions that relate to this step:

  1. What do you think a spiritual awakening is, and how might you know if you have experienced it?

  2. Have YOU had a spiritual awakening as the result of steps? Would you be willing to share with us what that was like?

  3. Do you know of other people who had spiritual awakenings? How do they describe them?

  4. Do you think that everyone’s spiritual awakening will look/feel the same?

  5. I once heard a long-timer say, “I wouldn’t say that I have had a burning bush kind of spiritual awakening, but I have had lots of burnt twigs.” How does this relate to your experience?

  6. Notice that the step says, “as THE result of these steps” not “as A result of these steps”. What does this mean for you?

  7. Why does it say, “We tried” and not “We carried”?

  8. How have others tried to carry the message to you?

  9. Have you tried to carry the message to others? How? How was the experience?

  10. How do you decide whether or not to 12 Step someone?

  11. What expectations do you have when you try to carry this message to others?

  12. Why do you think this program suggests that we try to carry this message to others?

  13. What role does service play in your recovery journey?

  14. One version of the principles of this program is outlined in the table below. How do you apply these principles in your whole life...not just as they pertain to your disease?

    Principle

    How do you apply it to your whole life...not just your COE?

    STEP ONE PRINCIPLE: SURRENDER.(Capitulation to hopelessness.)

     

    STEP TWO PRINCIPLE: HOPE.

    (Step 2 is the mirror image or opposite of step 1. In step 1 we admit that food is our higher power, and that our lives are unmanageable. In step 2, we find a different Higher Power who we hope will bring about a return to sanity in management of our lives.)

     

     

    STEP THREE PRINCIPLE: COMMITMENT.

    (The key word in step 3 is decision.)

     

     

    STEP FOUR PRINCIPLE: HONESTY. (An inventory of self.)

     

     

    STEP FIVE PRINCIPLE: TRUTH. (Candid confession to God and another human being.)

     

     

    STEP SIX PRINCIPLE: WILLINGNESS.(Choosing to abandon defects of character.)

     

     

    STEP SEVEN PRINCIPLE: HUMILITY.(Standing naked before God, with nothing to hide, and asking that our flaws in His eyes be removed.).

     

     

    STEP EIGHT PRINCIPLE: REFLECTION.(Who have we harmed? Are we ready to amend?)

     

     

    STEP NINE PRINCIPLE: AMENDMENT.(Making direct amends/restitution/correction, etc…)

     

     

    STEP TEN   PRINCIPLE: VIGILANCE.(Exercising self-discovery, honesty, abandonment, humility, reflection and amendment on a momentary, daily, and periodic basis.)

     

     

    STEP ELEVEN PRINCIPLE: ATTUNEMENT

    . (Becoming as one with our HP.)

    STEP TWELVE PRINCIPLE: SERVICE.(Awakening into sober (abstinent) usefulness.)

     

     

  15. Now that you have completed all 12 steps during this quarter of WTS, please share what has been the most helpful aspect(s) of this study. What will you do differently in your program and your life, based on what you have learned over this 3 month period?

Here are my answers to these questions:

I think a spiritual awakening is an experience of seeing life differently...through spiritual eyes of truth instead of secular eyes of denial, mistrust, and confusion. I think it is an experience of living life connected to my HP, as opposed to trying to live life under my own power. I recognize that I have had a spiritual awakening when I am able to see life from a different perspective...a perspective that encourages me to release my death grip on my CDs and encourages me to live my life ‘plugged in’ to my HP. I also recognize that I have had a spiritual awakening when my behavior changes in ways that I have been unable to accomplish on my own.

I have had spiritual awakenings as a result of working the steps. The first ‘biggie’ was on June 20, 2012, when I became willing to release my death grip on sugar, for 6 months, in response to my HP’s urging. I could NOT have done this under my own power. The awakening continued over the next 5 months and 3 weeks, after which I realized that I was willing to release sugar for good, ODAT. This, too, was clearly not something I would have done under my own power. AND, interestingly, it came at a time when my ‘faith’ in my HP was not very secure.

Another spiritual awakening I have experienced happened recently...when I realized that I have been feeling restless, irritable and discontented because my husband has addressed some of his addictive behavior, and I now am faced with dealing with my codependent behavior around his addictions. The rules of the game have changed, and I am uncertain as to how to live given the changing landscape of our relationship. My spiritual awakening has helped me to identify this change, be kind to myself over my confusion, and be willing to pause, and wait for my HP to show me the next right thing to do. I am grateful for my hubby’s growth....and desire to continue to grow in response to his changes. This awareness and acceptance is a huge spiritual awakening for me.

I have heard people describe their spiritual awakenings as growing acceptance, as newfound hope, as newfound willingness, as new or renewed relationship and dependence on their HP.

I absolutely do NOT think that everyone’s spiritual awakening will look/feel the same. Everyone’s HP will be different, at least in their understanding of HP....and I am certain that everyone’s spiritual awakening(s) will be custom fitted to their individual needs.4. Do you think that everyone’s spiritual awakening will look/feel the same?

I love the burnt twig concept. Being a recovering perfectionist, there is a danger that I would fall into the trap of judging my spiritual awakening as ‘not good enough’, or something just as silly. Just as I spend a great deal of time looking for “WOW GOD” moments in my life, I now spend time looking for ‘burnt twig’ spiritual awakenings. Maybe the two are related! For me, this whole program is filled with life changing spiritual awakenings....if I only keep my eyes open for them.

The whole point of this program is to create a situation whereby I can have a spiritual awakening, because that is the only thing that will release me from the clutches of this illness. All the previous steps are designed to remove the stumbling blocks that prevent me from having/accepting that spiritual awakening: denial, self centeredness, fear, shame, self-will run riot, guilt, lack of humility etc. Step 12 acknowledges that the work I have done up til now will create for me the spiritual awakening I need...should I be willing to see it...which will, in turn, re-focus my life on service.

All the other blessings that come from this program are a direct result of that spiritual awakening. Without it, I am still functioning under my own (unsteady) willpower.

Usually, I embrace Yoda’s saying, “Do or do not. There is no try.” But, in this case, I have to also admit my powerlessness when it comes to the success of my carrying the message. As the old saying goes, I can lead the horse to water, but I cannot make him drink. I can but share my ESH....I cannot control the outcome. And, I think, that is a blessing, because it both removes the faulty belief that this is MY work to do...and reminds me that I can only do what I do through the power given to me by my HP. It is up to me to sow the seed. It is HP that makes it germinate and grow.....or not. This removes much pressure from my shoulders, which, before program, I would have imposed on myself.

Many people have supported me in my 12 journey, by sharing ESH on loops, in writings, via email and phone calls and texts, in face to face meetings, at a convention, and through sponsorship. Friends from other flavors of addictions have shared with me, and I them. Those who have traveled these roads before me have shared their ESH through literature.

I have shared my ESH on loops, in WTS, in the newcomer loop, at a 12 step convention and through sponsorship. I am open about my involvement in 12 step programs for compulsive overeaters....so that if people are interested, they are free to ask. I have shared information with two family members of COEs. My license plate is HAJFOUI, which stands for Happy, Joyous and Free, YES! And I have had people stop me at traffic lights to ask what it means...and I share my experience with food addiction and 12 step as much as I can before the light turns! I found, to my surprise, at first, that I have no direct investment in how those who hear my ESH receive it. I have had many sponsees work for a bit, and then drop off the face of the earth. I don’t take it personally....I usually give them an open invitation to return if and when they are ready, and I wish them well. It is clear to me that recovery work is God’s work...I am but the conduit. God can use many conduits....and will pick the one that is best suited for the person. If it is not me, that doesn’t mean that I am not ok. It just means it isn’t me.

I wait to see some interest before I 12 Step someone. I would not go up to a stranger and speak to them about recovery. I don’t think it would be well received and I think it is presumptuous. However, I do openly read 12 step literature in public places, and if someone asked about it, I would be happy to share my ESH.

The expectations I have when I try to carry this message to others are that this action will strengthen my program and my recovery, and that it is up to my HP whether the other person responds or not

We have to carry this message to others because we cannot keep what we do not share. I recently heard a talk about this, which alluded to two seas: One has water that flows into it, but not out. The other has water that flows in....and flows out. The first is the Dead Sea...which cannot sustain life, and the other is the Sea of Galilee, which is teeming with life. If I try to hoard the blessings that this program gives I am still stuck in the addiction....only this time I am a compulsive blessing hoarder instead of a compulsive food hoarder! I need to be a conduit for the blessings in order to enjoy them. There is no other way.

For me, this program is all about service. Service I do for myself....using the tools, following my POE, and my POA. Service done on others’ behalf....sharing ESH, setting up chairs, writing for the loops, sponsoring and being a sponsee. These are things I do in response to the great gift this program has given me....hope and experience of a life with blessings beyond my wildest dreams. Service is my way of showing gratitude. Without service, I have no recovery.....I am just a self-serving dry binger.

14. One version of the principles of this program is outlined in the table below. How do you apply these principles in your whole life...not just as they pertain to your disease?

Principle

How do you apply it to your whole life...not just your COE?

STEP ONE PRINCIPLE: SURRENDER.(Capitulation to hopelessness.)

I am working to surrender all my delusional control over people, places and things.  I grew up in an alcoholic family, where grasping anything that resembled control was the only way for a young child to feel safe.  I now have a HP who can ensure my safety, and I am learning to entrust myself, my will and my life, to my HP.

STEP TWO PRINCIPLE: HOPE.

(Step 2 is the mirror image or opposite of step 1. In step 1 we admit that food is our higher power, and that our lives are unmanageable. In step 2, we find a different Higher Power who we hope will bring about a return to sanity in management of our lives.)

 

Hope means being open to possibilities...that things and people—including me—can change even if I don’t see how. 

I am learning to hold reality more gently, giving it time and space to evolve, change, grow and influence my own growing and changing life in a positive way.

STEP THREE PRINCIPLE: COMMITMENT.

(The key word in step 3 is decision.)

 

I have a credo by which I try to live: Let your life speak.  Believe you can make a difference.  Say what you are going to do.  Hold yourself accountable for keeping your commitment, while releasing responsibility for the outcome.  I work to live by this principle of commitment.

STEP FOUR PRINCIPLE: HONESTY. (An inventory of self.)

 

I have come a long way from hiding from my own truths.  I have learned how freeing honesty is, and I work hard to live in the light of truth.

STEP FIVE PRINCIPLE: TRUTH. (Candid confession to God and another human being.)

 

I am only as sick as my secrets.  I have learned that people know more of my secrets than I probably admit to knowing myself.  Therefore, I have learned to be honest with people who are safe to be honest with...knowing that that is NOT everyone...and to strive  always to be honest with my Self and my HP.

STEP SIX  PRINCIPLE: WILLINGNESS.(Choosing to abandon defects of character.)

 

My therapist frequently used to ask me, “Do you want to work on such and such?”  I’d look at her like she was NUTS and say, “NO!!!!!”...but I am willing to....Where do we begin?”  Approaching life with open hands gets me so much farther than death-grip clutching onto my CDs has every gotten me.  I am willing to do whatever it takes to be healthy and in recovery.  I have lost too much of my life to this disease.

STEP SEVEN PRINCIPLE: HUMILITY.(Standing naked before God, with nothing to hide, and asking that our flaws in His eyes be removed.).

 

I love the part that says, “our flaws in HIS eyes”.  It reminds me of Macrina’s prayer, “God help me to accept the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is.”  Standing naked before God is becoming an act of gratitude, rather than humiliation....Each time I am able to do it, I am so richly blessed with healing and growth.  I KNOW that God is able to do for me what I cannot do alone...and that God WANTS to do it.  And  that God will act with the utmost gentleness and love. And that the things I consider flaws might not be seen that way by my HP.   What a gift that is!

STEP EIGHT PRINCIPLE: REFLECTION.(Who have we harmed? Are we ready to amend?)

 

This strikes me as the pause where God can work.  Just as there is a space for a pause between an urge to COE and that first compulsive bite, a space where God can be invited to intervene, so reflection creates a space for God to work in my relationships.   More and more, am I willing to invite God into my relationships....

STEP NINE  PRINCIPLE: AMENDMENT.(Making direct amends/restitution/correction, etc…)

 

This is SO much easier to do right away than months or years later.  I am learning to say, “Can I have a rewind moment?  I shouldn’t have said/done/thought that, and I am so sorry.  What I would have said/done/thought if I were in my right mind at the moment was ....? or something of that sort.  Please forgive my very human and very inappropriate remark/action.”

 

STEP TEN   PRINCIPLE: VIGILANCE.(Exercising self-discovery, honesty, abandonment, humility, reflection and amendment on a momentary, daily, and periodic basis.)

 

I used to live my life trying hard NOT to see what I was doing.  Hiding myself under the stairs, as it were, so I did not have to see myself....I was convinced that I was the most NOT OK person alive.  Now I can see that I am human, that I will make mistakes, but that doesn’t make ME a mistake.  I will attach a poem I wrote some years ago at the bottom of this chart...the thoughts in this poem freed me to be willing to live a life of self vigilance.

STEP ELEVEN PRINCIPLE: ATTUNEMENT

. (Becoming as one with our HP.)

 

My deepest desire is that my will be aligned with my HP’s...that we work together as one....to bless the world as I have been blessed.  This is only possible as I work the steps and keep my housekeeping steps up to date.  I am so grateful that my HP wants me to be co-creator with Her...and entrusts her with the care of her creation. 

STEP TWELVE PRINCIPLE: SERVICE.(Awakening into sober (abstinent) usefulness.)

 

All my life I have lived a life of service....I once imagined that my tombstone might say, “She helped wherever she could”.  I am now awakening to an even deeper degree to sober service...service that does not have attached to it my codependent needs...service that is freely given, a spiritual response to a spiritual gift. Service is meant to be a joy.  If it is not, I need to examine my motives.

Thank you all for the opportunity to share my ESH in this quarter of WTS. A fellow who has previously led this study told me it would be a great experience. I did not understand just how great it would be. The most helpful aspect was that my HP led me to ask the very questions I needed to answer at this time. My HP apparently knew that my husband was about to undergo a huge spiritual awakening, and I needed to do some work to be ready to respond appropriately to it. Thank you for being here, sharing your ESH with me, and trusting me to lead you on this study.

I will respond differently to my husband, thanks to what I have learned over this time period. I will continue to do my own healing work, for I know that when one person in a relationship changes, the whole dynamics of the relationship changes. I will continue to seek God’s leading in my own recovery, and be grateful for the work she is doing in both of us. I will redouble my efforts to work steps 10 and 11, because it is clear those are two areas where I am not focusing enough attention.

And, I will continue to live out of gratitude for all 12 step and TRG have to offer me, for truly, I would not have survived the past 16 months without it. Thanks for being a part of my life and my recovery. May blessings follow you—and flow through you-- all throughout the coming year.

Hugs, Lainey






Introduction
Step One
Step Two
Step Three
Step Four
Step Five
Step Six
Step Seven
Step Eight
Step Nine
Step Ten
Step Eleven


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