Dear Members of the WTS List,
Happy New Year!
I am Cindy M., your guide to the Working the Steps study for the next twelve weeks. We start officially on Monday, January 5, but in the meantime I know some of you will be eager to get started--New Year's Resolutions and all that. This message will get you acquainted with me, with the resources for our study, and with the plan for our study. Each week's lesson will go out on Monday and again on Thursday.
You will be learning more about me as the study begins, but here's a brief version of my biography: I am 53 years old, married 28 years, and the mother of four children ages 26, 23, 21, and 16. I have been a compulsive overeater since childhood, and by my early 40s I weighed almost 300 pounds. I dabbled in 12-step recovery a number of years ago but really came into recovery in June 2013, at about 265-270 pounds. Since then I have lost 35-40 pounds and am currently just below 230, the lowest weight I've sustained in two decades. I feel really good and am shopping between the largest sizes in the Misses' department and the smallest sizes in the Women's department. I move with much more ease than I used to.
But far beyond my physical improvements, I have had a spiritual transformation--it has taken shape over the months at different levels. But the bottom line is that I live mostly at peace with food. I have had a strong abstinence from my worst trigger foods since February 2014, and that's a miracle. Throughout my recovery I have depended on the resources of The Recovery Group--first with the Newcomers List, Orientation, 12 Steps in 12 Weeks, Recovery (where I am now a co-coordinator and set topics biweekly), The Big Book Study, and this list--Working the Steps. I have also had the privilege of participating in many online meetings led by TRG Trusted Servants, and I have had two sponsors I found through this amazing fellowship. I sponsor a number of people, as well. I am honored to be able to lead you through this study this quarter.
Please, if you have a few minutes, look through these resources, and send a message to the group introducing yourself. It can be something as simple as this: "Hi, I'm Cindy M., in recovery for the last 18 months, doing the WTS study for the fourth time. I am primarily a compulsive overeater and have found recovery especially with the AA Big Book. I look forward to learning something new every time I go through the steps again!"
Resources For You
Our recovery depends on our unity as a fellowship of those with a compulsive eating problem. With that in mind, I want to provide a list of various resources for you to consider. If one works for you, wonderful. If it offends you, let it go.
To find answers to all kinds of questions related to recovery from compulsive eating, go to this site map for The Recovery Group, the sponsor of this study: www.therecoverygroup.org/map/sitemap.html
To get some additional testimonies about the devastation of compulsive eating (over-, under-, or something else), consider the recordings at www.oalaig.org and www.avision4you.info (particularly the “Special” tab and “Step 1” talks).
To read the passages I will direct you to in the “Big Book,” Alcoholics Anonymous, go to www.aa.org/pages/en_US/alcoholics-anonymous, and to see the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, go here: www.aa.org/pages/en_US/twelve-steps-and-twelve-traditions. For a brief two-page document summary of the key passages of the Big Book from www.aabacktobasics.org, download here (or find the link about 2/3 of the way down on the previous linked page): www.aabacktobasics.org/Back%20to%20the%20Basics%20of%20Sponsorship/B2B%20of%20Sponsorship-2%20pg%20Summary-208.doc.
To learn about options for a plan of eating to support your recovery and help you define your abstinence, you should work with your sponsor and/or a health care professional who understands our particular challenges. This is a “hot topic” for many in our fellowship, but in my experience the ones most calm about plans of eating and abstinence are those who have real recovery. My own plan of eating has changed through my recovery, and I have found wisdom and healthy patterns for myself in variations on a whole foods plan: healthy vegan/vegetarian at one end of the spectrum and more primal/lower-carb on the other end. What’s amazing is that once we have recovery in our heads and hearts, we can actually calmly evaluate our plans of eating to find what works best for us, always willing to reconsider. If a food is a non-negotiable, chances are it’s a problem! With that in mind, consider these possible (and possibly conflicting) resources:www.anonymityone.com/faq102.htm, www.oa.org/newcomers/tools-of-recovery/, www.foodaddictsanonymous.org/faa-food-plan, and www.therecoverygroup.org/foodplans/index.html.
To understand your options for Step 4 inventory, explore these sites, from simplest to most complex. I find that using different approaches each time helps expand my idea of what should be in my inventory and what I need still to work on. www.aabacktobasics.org/, www.austinrecovery.org/Portals/0/Documents/RecoveryResources/12Steps/step_4.pdf, http://oabigbook.info/, 12-steps-recovery.com/library/12steps/4step/.
To get answers to questions about the Working the Steps study in particular, go here: www.therecoverygroup.org/wts/faq.html
Plan for the 12-Week Study
2—Step 1—The Food and the Mental Obsession
3—Steps 2 and 3—Hope and Decision
4—Step 4—Paperwork Part 1
5—Step 4—Paperwork Part 2
6—Step 5—Unburdening to Another
7—Steps 6 and 7—Another Decision
8—Step 8—Cleaning House
9—Step 9—Out on the Town
11—Step 11—Acceptance—Life on Life’s Terms
12—Step 12—Taking the Steps on the Road
Please write me privately at OneDayCindyM@embarqmail.com if I can answer any questions as you work through the study. I want it to be as helpful a study as it can be, and your feedback helps me do that!
Blessings in Recovery,
The Twelve Steps