Step One

We admitted we were powerless over food,
that our lives had become unmanageable.

Leader's Share and Step Questions

The principle behind this step is HONESTY.

It wasn’t too hard for me to admit my powerlessness over food when I came into the rooms of OA in 2004. After all I was 382 lbs., at 5ft. 6 inches. I actually had to use a walker to get to the meeting as I had ruined my knees with excess weight. My doctor had told me I would probably die before age 60 due to my weight, and still I couldn’t stop eating compulsively. So yes, I thought I was powerless over food. BUT…..just give me the right food plan (diet), and I would be alright. I just hadn’t found the diet for me. With the right diet I could do it. How’s that for crazy thinking!!!

The fact was, I had been on every diet I had ever heard of, and nothing worked. I could stop eating and loose weight – but – I couldn’t stay stopped. And actually – truthfully – it was getting harder and harder to stay stopped, even a few hours. Lunchtime usually found me racing for the food – and then continuing throughout the day to eat compulsively. I went to bed each night ashamed, confused and discouraged, promising myself this would not happen again tomorrow.

Okay, so I go to meetings and within 3 weeks I get a sponsor. She has me read the Doctor’s Opinion and I begin to understand I have a disease. And this disease has two parts….physical and emotional….body and mind. I begin to see that I have an allergy to certain substances (sugar and flour). Which means that when I take in these substances, I loose all control, and can’t muster up the strength to stop eating them. These foods (I call them my trigger foods) I can not eat – not even a little – as my body does not respond to them normally. It is not my fault, I don’t have to be ashamed of the way I react to food. I have a disease – an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind. It is like a weight has been lifted.

Great!! Now I found the perfect “diet”. I just won’t eat my trigger foods. Then I will loose weight, and everything will be just wonderful.
There is that other part to my disease…my mind (the obsession). You see, my diseased mind eventually tells me I can eat these substances again. You know, “You’ve been so good – surely you deserve a little piece of _____________”, or “After putting up with (fill in the blank) you deserve a little bit of ____________”, or “You could have ______________________ now, after so long you’re probably a normal eater”.

So, now I get it, I am powerless over food. I could admit that. But is my life unmanageable???? After all, I have a family, I have a job, I have friends – what’s unmanageable. Well remember the principle honesty? When I looked at my life honestly I had to admit I was making quite a mess of things when I tried to “manage” them. Things never quite went the way I wanted, no matter hard I tried to manage them. And people…..well you’d think they would have been grateful that I was trying to help them. But, no, they usually ended up being mad at me for me being resentful at them, or both. So, yes, when I looked at my life honestly, I had done a very poor job at managing it.

Step One: I admitted I was powerless over food, and my life had become unmanageable. But I noticed it wasn’t I….it was WE. WE admitted WE were powerless over food, and OUR lives had become unmanageable. I learned that I was not alone in this. I did not have to do this alone. In fact, I could not do it alone. I now had some hope. Powerless does not mean hopeless.

Assignment for Step One:
READ: In Alcohol Anonymous Big Book:

WRITE: and share with your sponsor and the WTS group the following:
  • Write a history of your COE, including solutions you have tried.
  • Do you believe when you put your addictive substance into your body that the reaction is like an allergy and there is a craving for more?
  • Has this craving happened to you with certain substances? Give examples.
  • What do you have to do to relieve the physical cravings?
  • Please share three instances where you can relate your own story to “Bill’s Story”.
  • When one asks “What do I have to do?”, what is the answer given by the Big Book (page 20)
  • What is the solution, and how do we bring it about (BB page 25)
  • Do I acknowledge that my current methods of managing have not been successful, and I need to find a new approach to life? Explain.
  • From all you have read so far, take one sentence or one paragraph that you really like and share it with us. Tell us why you like it.
  • Are you willing to admit you are powerless over food, and your life has become unmanageable?

Know that you are building the road to recovery; one Step at a time. Take good care of yourself as you work these Steps. My thoughts and prayers are with you until next week. Feel free to contact me at my personal email address with comments or questions.


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