The principle behind Step Twelve is SERVICE.
Greetings to all of you still with us in this 3rd Quarter WTS session. And greetings to all of you who are sharing your work only with your sponsors, rather than online. And, finally, greetings to anyone reading this after the session is over (in the archives). For anyone who is still behind in this study, please don't let that stop you. There's no "deadline" here for anyone except me as your leader (and my deadline is just for emailing these shares each week, not in my own personal Step work). :-)
Ah, Step Twelve... It's hard to believe we're at the end. [Did I just say "END"??????????] No, no, no! There's NO END to my Step work! These Steps are what saved my life from an early, obesity-related death, and I intend to *continue* protecting myself from any sort of "death" from my COE addiction; death of body, death of mind or death of spirit. As the AABB says, I have a "daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of [my] spiritual condition." (p. 85). These Steps are my *daily* "fitness workout." [Why? Because we can never forget the (annoying) slogan: "The disease is always outside doing pushups." [It's waiting for a chance to come back into your life.]] So we ask ourselves, "How best can I serve [HP] -- Thy will (not mine) be done." (p. 85)]
So, Step Twelve… As I've mentioned before in other Steps, I think the words used in these Steps are significant, and there's one word in Step Twelve that I actually missed for quite a long time until someone pointed it out to me. That word is, "the." "THE"??????? It's such a teeny word! No wonder I missed it, but how can "the" be "significant"?
Well, what the Step says is, "the result." It says, "Having had a spiritual awakening as THE result of these Steps..." THE result. Not "A" result. No, "THE" result. That's right. There's only ONE result of having worked these Steps. ONE result. Just ONE result. Did I mention, "ONE"? :-)
So what's that ONE result? It's a spiritual awakening. Yep. Notice it doesn't say, "Having BECOME SOBER as the result..." or "Having BECOME ABSTINENT as the result..." Nope. What I was supposed to get out of all this Step work was..........A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING. How come it doesn't even mention my sobriety/abstinence? Because, as we learned in the AABB, "the problem has been removed" (p. 85), and that "problem" was our over- or under- or compulsive-in-some-way eating. And how was it removed? Our "spiritual awakening" removed it for us. Our HP removed it for us. Our spiritual awakening/HP "removed it" by having us become "different" -- so different that we no longer want or need our drug-of-choice. Voila! The "problem" has been removed. And notice, *WE* didn't do the "removing." The sentence isn't, "We removed the problem." Nope. It reads, "The problem was removed" -- implying "by something else." Because, remember, we couldn't remove this problem by ourselves or we all would have done it 5, 10, 20, 40 years ago!!! ["Human will failed us utterly."]
So here we are, having attained a "Spiritual Awakening," and let's face it -- we are reborn! We've had our "ego-ectomy"! We've had our "personality transplant"! :-) If you read the shares that have come in this session, your fellow CE's have shared just that! "I'm different," "I'm a changed person," "I no longer act that way." And what do we do with our new selves? Well, this Step is quite clear about that.
"We tried to carry this message to compulsive [eaters]..." "Carry this message." What does that mean? It's "SERVICE." Yes, carrying the message forward is "SERVICE." How do we do this SERVICE? We can do it in many ways! The most obvious one is sponsoring, of course. And why shouldn't *we* sponsor someone else when someone was there to sponsor *us*? "Pay it forward" is our new standard of living!
And what is "this message"? For me, the message is, "THERE IS A SOLUTION." There is a solution to my "food issues," and to my being a Ms. Cranky-Pants. There is a solution to living a miserable existence. I wanted that, and I found it. How? By someone *else* carrying the message so I could hear it! [I cannot imagine my life if there had been no sponsors. That's why *I* must be a sponsor and "do Service."]
So, yes, Step Twelve is about sponsoring, but that's not the ONLY thing it's about. It's about carrying the message *however* that plays out. It's "doing Service" to carry that message -- and sponsoring is the one most people recognize. But how else can we do Service? We can join loops and send in our shares. [All of you who have been sending in your replies to this WTS session have been "doing Service" all along!] YOUR share may be exactly what some struggling CE needs to hear at that exact moment. [Hey, it was someone's share that pointed out to me the word, "the" in this Step!] :-)
We can also *lead* a loop. There's no magic "Leader Tree" out there from which loop leaders are plucked. :-) TRG needs volunteers to do these things, and you can be that volunteer! [Look at me! I did it! And don't think I wasn't apprehensive! I was. But I knew that "doing Service" in this way was my "next right thing."] And don't forget what the AABB tells us -- nothing assures our sobriety/abstinence more than working with another CE.
What else is Service? We can also show up at meetings -- face-to-face or online. Just being there -- a living, breathing Spiritually Awakened person -- might be just what a struggling newbie needs to see. [Great saying: *You* may be "the only 'copy' of the AABB that someone ever sees."] And at the meeting, there are many ways to do Service: lead the meeting, be a greeter, pass out or collect the reading material, set up chairs, lock/unlock the meeting room, pass the donation basket, donate money to TRG online, etc. [Your donations are another form of Service.] And even if you're not terribly "spiritually fit" at a given moment in time, your showing up -- still struggling -- is also giving service! Someone will benefit to see that you "keep coming back" - that you haven't given up.
We can also carry 12-Step materials with us wherever we go -- putting them up on bulletin boards, handing them out to someone who might be interested, sharing them with newbies. Simply being "ready" to share your ESH is a way to "carry materials" with you!
This list is not exhaustive. You'll intuitively know what SERVICE looks like as you begin to do it. It's any activity that "carries the message" -- the message that THERE IS A SOLUTION to addiction; that THERE IS A SOLUTION to those with no SERENITY in their lives.
So, what else does this Step suggest? "...to practice these principles in all our affairs." Principles? What principles? Oh, right! The ones that your leader (moi!) has been writing at the top of each share! Let's look at them again: HONESTY, HOPE, FAITH, COURAGE, INTEGRITY, WILLINGNESS, HUMILITY, SELF-DISCIPLINE, LOVE FOR OTHERS, PERSEVERANCE, SPIRITUAL AWARENESS, SERVICE.
And don't forget, words are significant, and the significant words in this part of Step Twelve is "ALL OUR AFFAIRS." That's right. We don't pick and choose when or where or with whom we'll exercise these principles. They are to be practiced in ALL our affairs. All. With our family, our neighbors, our co-workers, the check-out girl, the hairdresser, OURSELVES, etc. In good times and in bad. We don't chuck our principles out the window if it's "not convenient" or it's "too hard." These need to become part of who we are. [AABB quote: "The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection." p. 60] These principles will *always* guide you toward the next right thing.
So, we may have "graduated" from a WTS Session, but our work isn't over -- IT HAS JUST BEGUN! We only have a *DAILY* reprieve from our CE. We are *not* cured. [And we only get this "daily reprieve" provided we do the footwork.] Think of the countless people who have some medical issue where they *must* take daily meds or a daily injection or else they're just as sick as they were before they saw the doctor. That's what addiction and recovery look like. Our disease really *is* out in the parking lot doing pushups, and it will come back with a vengeance *IF* we decide not to take our daily “injection.” But Steps 10, 11 & 12 are our "maintenance" Steps. You don't *have to* do Steps 1 - 12 over and over again (though many do! I've done them several times.). Once you have your Spiritual Awakening, you should be able to "maintain" it on a DAILY basis -- striving for "spiritual progress not spiritual perfection." All 12 Steps are there whenever you want them. So are the AABB, the meetings, TRG, fellow CE's, etc.
So, get out there and CARRY THE MESSAGE! Get out there and PRACTICE THOSE PRINCIPLES IN ALL YOUR AFFAIRS! And above all, MAINTAIN YOUR SPIRITUAL FITNESS DAILY! *THAT'S* what will keep you abstinent and serene. That's what will keep you attuned to your "primary purpose" (AABB p. 77). [And if you're not there yet, that's Ok! Just keep moving forward - one day at a time.] :-)
I won't say "goodbye" just yet because I will be sending out a "WRAP UP" share for "Week #13" (Sept. 28th). So keep working on this, and I'll be back in a week! :-) Prayer and assignment below!
TWELFTH STEP PRAYER
My spiritual awakening continues to unfold.
The help I have received I shall pass on & give to others,
both in & 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 the inner strength & wisdom to practice
the principles of this way of life in all I do & say.
I need You, my friends and the program every hour of every day.
This is a better way to live.
A.) READING in the AABB: Read all of Chapter 7, "Working With Others." Take notes. Just think about what it is saying.
B.) Take the list of the 12 principles of the 12 Steps and tell us how each one now manifesting itself in your life. [HONESTY, HOPE, FAITH, COURAGE, INTEGRITY, WILLINGNESS, HUMILITY, SELF-DISCIPLINE, LOVE FOR OTHERS, PERSEVERANCE, SPIRITUAL AWARENESS, SERVICE]
C.) Here are some of the Promises of Step Twelve:
• You can help when no one else can.
• You can secure their 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.
• Follow the dictates of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world, no matter what your present circumstances!
• Assuming we are spiritually fit, we can do all sorts of things [CEs] are not supposed to do.
• God will keep you unharmed.
Please share which promises are coming true for you.
D.) What are some ways you are already "doing Service"?
E.) Read over the Twelfth Step Prayer and write about what each line means to you now that you've gone thru the 12 Steps.
BE A LIVING EXAMPLE OF WHAT RECOVERY LOOKS LIKE! :-)
See you next week!!!
PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS:
HONESTY, HOPE, FAITH, COURAGE, INTEGRITY, WILLINGNESS, HUMILITY, SELF-DISCIPLINE, LOVE FOR OTHERS, PERSEVERANCE, SPIRITUAL AWARENESS, SERVICE
Greetings, fellow travelers! :-) Can you believe we've been thru all twelve Steps? What a journey! What a new life! The Promises in the AABB can *all* come true for any of us who are willing to work this wonderful program. I have a great quote from a fellow COE from one of the loops I'm in (used with her permission). She was talking about what it takes to find Recovery in OA: "All it takes is the willingness to admit defeat, the desire for freedom, and the commitment to follow directions." Willingness, Desire, Commitment. That's it. Can we do that? Yes, I think anyone can. No matter how sick we are when we begin this journey, every single one of us has the chance to find a way out of our "food hell."
Thank you to all of you who have shared here. It’s been wonderful to see the growth in this group. We didn’t all make the same progress in the same way in the same timeframe, but that’s how this works (that’s how life works!). If we do the footwork, HP will be in charge of the outcome and the timeline for that outcome. So just keep working on the Steps — One Day at a Time!!
I want to begin this wrap-up with some slogans and quotes. Sometimes they are so pithy and succinct, that they tell it better than anyone's ESH. :-)
Slogan: We have a disease that tells us we don't have a disease.
Slogan: The symptom is physical, the cause is emotional and the solution is spiritual.
Slogan: I am not responsible for my disease but I am responsible for my recovery.
Slogan: We make amends to our bodies with abstinence.
Slogan: Abstinence does not equal Recovery.
Slogan: Abstinence without the Steps is just a diet.
Slogan: The difference between a problem drinker and an alcoholic is that when the alcohol is taken away from the problem drinker, the problem goes away. But when the alcohol is taken away from the alcoholic, the problem begins.
Quote: "After all, our problems were of our own making. Bottles were only a symbol." AABB p. 103
Slogan: I can do something for 24 hours that would appall me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.
Slogan: We're responsible for the effort, not the outcome.
Slogan: God can move mountains, but I have to bring the shovel.
Slogan: This program is not about food at all …its about how I handle life without using food.
Quote: "What the sum total means to me is that recovery is freedom. Freedom is not stopping something, giving it up, quitting, swearing off. Freedom is beginning, expanding, awakening, growing, learning, becoming and being aware." [from Lifeline Sampler, page 255]
In the very beginning of my TRG journey, I found slogans and quotes to be of great help, and I *still* find them to be useful every day. [There are tons more of these slogans, by the way, and if anyone wants a link to some of them, write me privately, and I'll send you the link.]
Looking back, I remember what the AABB said about what our lives used to look like, and what our lives could become. Here is a particularly important sentence about how I should live my life from now on: "Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear." [p. 84] WOW, all four of those were on my Step Four inventory! Were they on yours? Those are some of the chief culprits that will get me right back into my COE existence if I don't pounce on them the moment they pop up (and ask my HP to remove them). I once read a great passage (I'm afraid I don't remember where) that outlined what addicts have to do to recover.
"It seems there are four basic movements that recovering people need to make to put their lives on a positive spiritual basis.
1. Move from fear to Trust;
2. from self-pity to Gratitude;
3. from resentment to Acceptance;
4. from dishonesty to Honesty."
As we work the 12 Steps, we are making those moves. We're letting go of old "life strategies" that kept us in the food (our drug), and we're learning brand new strategies that will keep us lined up with HP's will (not our own). And another quote: "...the central conflict in Recovery is between HP and Ego; the selfless and the selfish. By getting away from ego, one gets better; by becoming wrapped up in ego, one does the exact opposite." [from "The Twelve Steps of Insanity"]
So what do I have to do? I have to work the 12 Steps to get THE result: a spiritual awakening. And then I have to MAINTAIN that position. The 12 Steps show me how to do that maintenance. And it doesn't happen in a vacuum! This is a "we" program. We will always have each other. [Quote: ""In the deepest part of a compulsive eater's soul is the realization that recovery begins when we find one another." — Rozanne S., founder of OA.]
I am so grateful I had all of YOU for this part of my WTS journey. I felt so honored when the Trusted Servants of TRG asked me to lead the third quarter of WTS. But I was nervous. Would I be any good at it? What if I did it wrong? But I was quickly soothed with one of the slogans I've already mentioned: "I'm responsible for the effort, not the outcome." Could I put forth the effort to lead this twelve-week study? Of course! I certainly have plenty of ESH on the disease (DIS-ease) and on Recovery — we all do! :-) The outcome is up to my HP, not me.
I do appreciate the kind words some of you have sent me, and you are all so welcome! But the AABB also tells me that "nothing guarantees my sobriety as much as working with another alcoholic [CE]." It sounds trite, but *YOU* helped ME. *YOU* kept me focused on my Recovery. This session was my way of "doing Service" in TRG. And your being enrolled here was *your* way of "doing Service"! So thank you ALL for your Service, and for being here and helping ME on MY journey! :-)
HUGS TO ALL OF YOU!! - Susan (COE / Sugar Addict)
[Below, you'll find a little assignment and a simplified version of the Steps.]
In our very first assignment (way back at Step One), I asked you to save your answers to Part B so we could compare your replies. Here are those questions again. Think about the answers you would put down today vs. those you put down twelve weeks ago. [i.e., Give us an idea of what has changed. How have you changed since your “Introduction”?]
STEP ONE, Part B. Answer the following questions:
1. Are you happy with your weight? Are you happy with what you do with food? Are you happy with what food is doing to your body? Are you happy with your life? Any interpersonal tensions going on at home or at the office or with extended family?
2. Give an example of when you just *couldn't* stop eating something, or you *couldn't* resist some food when the circumstances were important that you should stop.
3. Step One says, "We admitted......." Why does the Step say, "We"?
4. The principle behind Step One is HONESTY. How have you been DID-honest about your food intake with others? In what areas of your life have you been or are you dishonest?
5. Do you have any fear about working the 12 Steps or being in this WTS session?
6. Do you resent having "a food problem"?
7. What are you willing to change about your life right now?
8. Google “The 15 Questions of OA," and answer them. [Note: I answered "yes" to every single one, but that's just my experience. Everyone's will be different. (If you can't find them online, write to me off-loop, and I'll email them to you).]
9. How will you know when you have actually taken Step One?
BONUS: Here's a "simple" look at the 12 Steps (Source Unknown):
Step 1: There's a power that will kill me.
Step 2: There's a Power that wants me to live.
Step 3: Which do I want? (If you want to die, stop here. If you want to live, go on.)
Step 4: Using examples from your own life, understand that selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear control your actions.
Step 5: Tell all your private embarrassing secrets to another person.
Step 6: Decide whether or not you want to live that way any more.
Step 7: If you want your life to change, ask a Power greater than yourself to change it for you. (If you could have changed it yourself, you would have done it long ago.)
Step 8: Figure out how to make right all the things you did wrong.
Step 9: Fix what you can without causing more trouble in the process.
Step 10: Understand that making mistakes is part of being human (When you make a mistake, fix it, immediately if you can.)
Step 11: Ask for help to treat yourself and others the way you want your Higher Power to treat you.
Step 12: Don't stop doing 1 through 11, and pass it on!
The Twelve Steps
© Copyright 1995 ~ 2015 THE RECOVERY GROUP All rights reserved