Step One

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

Leader's Share and Step Questions

The spiritual principle for Step One is honesty.

STEP ONE - We admitted we were powerless over food -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

I grew up in a home with parents and three sisters. My father was a workaholic. In this case, it felt like he was never around. My mother ruled the house. She frequent episodes of rage which ended as her staying in her bedroom with a migranes. We had to it her way or no way.

I was a twin and we were the middle child. I relied on my twin sister for everything. We were very shy, and stayed to ourselves. We were introverted. We never dated. My life changed when she went to live with some friends to go a two-year college for Librarian Science. I lived at home and went to Business College.

During the time at Business College, a friend asked me if I would like to go with her to a bar. She was meeting her boyfriend there. I went with her to the bar, and I met a man there, we were talking and he said he couldn't hear me very well, and his apartment was upstairs and he invited me upstairs to better get to know him and to further our conversation. Things got out of control real quick and my life became unmanageable. He raped me that night. I went home and never told anyone. It was my dirty little secret.

My life spiraled out of control. This was a defining moment of pain in my life. Yet I went on as if nothing had happened. I shortly thereafter met the man I was to marry. I got married and had my children. Then I started gaining weight because I couldn't handle the after effects of the rape, a possessive mother-in-law, mood swings, depression and squandering of money all compounded pain and added weight into my life.

As I continued to gain weight, I lost my self-esteem. By this time it was very low. We met my father and my step mother for dinner and he mentioned that I was no longer his skinny bunch. And if I didn't look out, I would turn out as fat as my mother. I became outraged and bitter. Why would he say such a hurtful thing to me? But it was true! But I wasn't yet at the bottom of the pit.

In my Recovery journey and through Overeaters Anonymous I began my program of recovery by admitting that I am powerless over food. I had a difficulty with the admission because I liked to control my own eating. Even though my eating was out of control, I persisted in thinking, that someday soon I'll again muster the strength of character needed to check my eating excesses, and this time I'll keep them under control. But to me, however, the days of controlled eating grew fewer and farther apart until at last I came to OA, looking for help and a new soul ution.

I was so happy to find the help and support, the soul ution online through TRG. I went to the meetings and listened to their ESH. (Experience, Strength, and Hopes shared). I thought it was religious, but I was told that it is was spiritual. No one religion is taught. I found out it is not a Program of rules, rituals, and laws like religion is. It is a Program about faith and believing like faith and spirituality. We are simply asked to believe in a Power greater than ourselves. For me that was easy, I believe in God.

I found that compulsive overeating is an illness that cannot be controlled by willpower alone. Our disease and yours is an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind. My disease and yours is a threefold in nature: physical, emotional, and spiritual. I was lacking in all three when I hit my bottom after my divorce.

Physically, I gained weight which made me self conscious, isolating, didn't want to exercise or do anything to make me feel better. Sex was no longer an option anymore. My then husband, found better entertainment on the internet with porn. I didn't know what to do with this pain and hurt. So, I wanted to make everyone around the bad guy, because I wasn't happy with myself or my life. Emotionally, I didn't feel loved or appreciated anymore. My life was spiraling out of control, I was on that slippery slope down. I was put on medication to help my mood swings and depression. My diagnosis was bipolar disorder. Spiritually, it was nil and void. I could not feel God's presence. God was not in my life. I went on a Missions trip for the homeless in New Orleans and was saved and baptized. I was so excited, and blessed. I felt God only when I was baptized in New Orleans, LA when I was on a mission for our church. When I came home, I was so excited and filled with hope, but was short lived by the attitude of my husband because he didn't want to discuss it with me. He shut me down and told me he didn't understand why I didn't do it here. It was personal. I was hurt and resented him for that. My marriage for so many reason fell apart and ended in divorce. This truly hurts me on so many levels.

I found out that whatever the cause that I and you are not like normal people when it comes to eating. To be free of bondage from compulsive overeating, we must abstain from all foods and eating behaviors which cause us problems.

I wish it was that easy. I was still acting as if I still was insane. I did believe that my life would be manageable if only others around us would do as we wanted. My fears, anxieties, the angers and disappointments were the reason to eat. I was escaping the pressures of my problems or boredom of everyday life. I procrastinated, hid, and ate.

Finally, I had to admit my powerlessness over food which opened the door to some amazing newfound power. For the first time in my life, I recognized, acknowledged and accepted the truth about myself. I had to realize if I kept in denial about my condition of compulsive overeating that it would lead to destruction.

There are two ways we can walk in this life. We can walk in this life. We can follow Satan (Devil) and walk in the flesh (self-centeredness) or follow Jesus (God) and walk in the spirit (God centeredness). Satan or the Devil wants you to follow to destruction. Jesus or God died to save you.

The recovery journey begins when we confront the very first word in Step One: WE. This immediately challenges the loner/isolationist in us when we are in our addictions and dependent on people and substances. Although we would be more comfortable with the word I and would prefer to get better alone, only WE can recover. The Twelve Step program guides us into community, where all involve are a part of each other's recovery. The Twelve Steps are worked and lived in a group, independence is deadly for an addict.

When we come to this program we have to put our preconceived ideas aside and approach it with an open mind. Here is a nice prayer that will help us do just that.

Set Aside Prayer

Please help me set aside
Everything I think I know
About myself, my disease
These steps, and especially a
Power greater than myself.

So I learn with an open mind
And I have a new experience
With myself, my disease,
These steps and especially a
Power Greater than myself.

We have seen the truth demonstrated again and again: "Once an compulsive overeater, always a compulsive overeater."

Commencing to eat after a period of abstinence we are in a short time as bad as ever. If we are planning to stop eating, there must be no reservation of any kind, nor any lurking notion that someday we will be immune to food.

For those who are unable to eat moderately the question is how to stop altogether. We are assuming, of course, that the reader desires to stop. Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will eat or not. Many of us felt that we had plenty of character. There was tremendous urge to cease forever. Yet we found it impossible. This is the baffling feature of compulsive overeating as we know it--this utter inability to leave it alone, no matter how great the necessity or the wish.

The subtle insanity which precedes the first food. Insanity is the lack of proportion of the ability to think straight, or doing the same thing over.

But the actual or potential compulsive overeater will hardly an exception will absolutely unable to stop drinking on the basis of self-knowledge.


1.Have I returned to my former compulsive overeating behavior after years of recovery?
2. What other solutions have I tried, and what were the results?
3. Am I still looking for a solution outside of OA?
4. How has and does this malady affect my life not just physically,but emotionally and spiritually as well?
5. Has chronic unhappiness over my eating problems affected my friendships or marriage? How?
6. Are your eating characterized by countless vain attempts to prove you could eat like other people?
7. Are you willing to admit that you are a real compulsive eater?
8. Are you obsessed with the idea that somehow someday you will control and enjoy your eating?
9. What have you learned from Step One?

Gail W

Step One

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