I am so blessed by all of your shares, and willingness to be so honest, vulnerable, and persistent in your recovery! Thank you very much!
I hope by now you are working with a trusted Sponsor and have a working food plan in place as you work the 12 steps and use the 9 tools. (If you do not yet have this please do not quit, nor cheat yourself from a true chance at your miracle, please I pray you are willing to simply DO the next right thing!).
I did not start out as the 745 pound woman. I started out as an anorexic. This dis ease is fatal.. Anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating; all eating disorders, diseases that KILL. It is progressive, deadly, cunning and baffling!
It is a 2 fold Dis ease; an obsession of the mind and an allergy of the body.
Abstinence is:"Freedom from compulsive overeating and behaviors, while working toward a healthy body weight."
Abstinence is: HOW we eat! Freedom from Bingeing.
Food Plan is: A food plan is a spiritual tool & helps us abstain from compulsive overeating. These are the foods we eat to support our abstinence. A God honoring way of eating: healthy foods, at healthy times in healthy amounts.
Food Plan is: WHAT we eat! The foods that do not trigger off the compulsive over eater in us.
Many of us have broken our food plans and confuse it with breaking our abstinence. If you binged you broke your abstinence. If you broke your food plan, be honest with your Sponsor and God. Miracles always come after confession. If this continues, check with your Doctor, Dietitian, is this is the food plan to support your abstinence? Surrender your food plan & will, over to the care of God, and remember abstinence starts with your next bite, you never wait until the next day or Monday! How glorious!
Alcohol Food List: A list you present to your Sponsor of the foods you will not eat, because they trigger off the Compulsive Over eater in us. You are willing to fully abstain from these foods.
Ok,I just wanted to do a quick check up from the neck up, and strengthen our Recovery with Awareness. (The above things took me some time to put together in Recovery, so I want to check in with you, as we all get on the same page. You are such a blessing to me, I am so blessed to know I am not alone! Humble thanks!).
Now to our Stepwork shall we?
STEP FOUR: " Made a searching, fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE: Courage. "Courage is: the ability to do something that frightens one, or strength in the face of pain or grief."
Please do not give up on yourself or leave!! This Step, Step Four, is where more people leave than any, because your real work is here. If this is a make it or break it Step, why would you leave before your miracle? I can't leave, I have released 230 pounds so far, WOW right? I need to DO it again!! and then more!! Yes, I didn't start out as a 745 pound woman, I was anorexic, where are you? Are you at healthy body weight? Do you have peace? Is that God shaped hole in your soul filled up?
It just creeps up on us!! 5 pounds to 50 pounds, it goes on SO quickly! Now work at getting that same weight off.?. Yes weight is just a symptom of a far greater
dis ease! This is a fatal Disease.. Don't go away and die alone.. I almost did, now I am so blessed with each abstinent day, filled up with the love of God, instead of filling up on empty calories, ashes, ashes, dying to pain, in bondage to self & blinded in Denial. Ask yourself what is your bottom? Remind yourself of that to stay in Step Four and Five. How uncomfortable is it to not be able to stop bingeing? How about clothes that don't fit? The negative thoughts in your head? How uncomfortable is the obsession of the mind and the allergy of your body? How much is weight and issue for you and how are you treating yourself and friends and family? These answers and thoughts keep me willing to be humble, and do the work to get well, I pray they do you as well. We are in this to win it. Yes freedom from compulsive over eating and a healthy body weight. Plus all the many blessings and miracles that come along with those miracles!
I can now DO ALL things through Christ/God. NOT white knuckle gripping a "DIET" or DIE it!! It is ALL about surrender to an ALL amazing God who is in love with US!! It's not meat or drink.. it is relationship with God, over relationship with food!! He is God.. I had quite a relationship with food at 745 pounds. Now 230 pounds lighter I am SO humbly blessed to have a wonderful FULL FILLING relationship with God, as I work these 12 Steps, using the 9 Tools, that lead me to God. Now I have peace with God. Not like peace the world gives, but the peace of God that passes ALL understanding! It's relationship, intimacy & a transformation of our mind! The 12 Steps and 9 Tools will provide the same miracle for you! If this is a tough Step for you, pray for willingness. For as we learned in Step Three, "first the willingness comes then the Ability!" you deserve to be free from the obsession of the mind, and the allergy of the body! What would you be like if you were free from the obsession of the mind and the allergy of the body? What would your life be like with daily abstinence? These are the very reasons to do the work. Keep coming back for your miracle!
Here we go let's roll up our sleeves and get well together, shall we?
STEP FOUR: " Made a searching, fearless moral inventory of ourselves."
The Set Aside Prayer:
"God please set aside everything I think I know about myself, the twelve steps, this book, the meetings, my disease, and you. God so I may have an open mind and a new experience with all these things, please let me see the truth."
"God please help me with this, show me what I need to know. Please protect me. Your will not mine be done."
As food addicts, we often feel like people cannot understand us. Many of us are self-centered and tend to isolate, which is part of our addiction. Our disease prevents us from seeing the harm that we bring to first ourselves, then our family members and friends. It is hard enough for us to live with ourselves so we canít be considerate of others. Addiction is cunning, powerful and baffling. What makes the irrationality of addiction, is that it operates in the mid brain where things are automatic, not the cognitive brain where things are conscious. If you are in active addiction, take a minute and think about your family members Get the support you need from a trusting Sponsor, Meetings, this Group, and all the love and support from your family and friends available. Churches bless me and many as well.. Reach out for help. There is a solution and we are here to help you find it.
When I did my first Fourth Step I too, was a bit hesitant to share with someone I really didn't know that well, the messy, debris from my past, all the hurt, the pain. The sexual abuse, incest, rapes. Do I really have to be searching, fearless, moral, and thorough? I mean those were just some of the things done to me, what about all the subsequent things I then did? You know if that is what it took to get well at 745 pounds, I prayed for the willingness, and God came through! My Sponsor was no slouch, she had me doing the answers to the stepwork,( many days of the week), plus reading the OA, and AA Literature, going to the Meetings, Plan of Eating, We spoke on the Phone, I was writing and journaling, had an action plan, Anonymity was protected, all the 9 tools were engaged in my Program, and it was and is working!
Let's turn to (p. 64) in The AA Big Book. We are going to make a personal inventory of our grosser handicaps. We are going to discover what had blocked us off from the Sunlight of the Spirit. In Step Three self-will or our lives propelled on our will, not a surrendered life to God, is the root of our troubles. So now we are going to take stock of the three manifestations of self will: resentments, fears & our sex conduct or harms toward others. We are going to make columns just like they do in the Big Book on (p.64) plus two more that I use to stay clean and abstinent, adding my part in it, and ending with a column of something positive that came from all of this. Something did.
We have three basic instincts of life which create self: social instinct, security instinct, and the sex instinct. We need these to survive. These are God-given, so they are good, however when we use them incorrectly, they cause us and others problems. Social instinct used incorrectly creates" resentments". Security instinct used incorrectly brings" fears". When the sex instinct is used incorrectly it brings "harms to others". This is why we focus on resentments, fears & harms. Nearly every serious emotional problem comes from misdirected instinct. All self-centered people have problems in all three areas, addicts or not.
"Burned up" or a grudge are other words for resentments .Resentment comes from a Latin word, "Sentire" which means to feel, and then you put "re" in front and it means: again, so resent means: to feel again! You just don't get over that feeling! We include people, institutions, anyone, or anything we were annoyed, or agitated, let down, or regret, as a regret is a resentment toward yourself. This may be a long list, or short list, however we just do one at a time, so no worries.
"Resentment is the number one offender. It destroys more compulsive overeaters than ANYTHING else! From it stem all forms of spiritual disease. For we have been not only mentally and physically ill, we have been spiritually sick. When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten out mentally and physically." (p.64 AA Big Book). This paragraph has saved my life. I knew and know that it is more God and less of me! I had to seek God, and not food! The answer is spiritual..! Relationship with God. He won't fail me as my family, friends and self has. Jesus I can trust. I can't trust me. I thank Him for this powerful transformation taking place in my body, mind, spirit and soul and that I am free from me, from food, from you! Free indeed! I have been free from the very thing burying me in my own body, my own mind, my soul.. If a 745 pound had hope, now this 500 pound woman is living hope. Breathing hope, even while on oxygen 24/7 and in a wheelchair, God is cutting me deep, and driving out everything that doesn't belong in me, and excess food does not belong in me, nor the obsession of the mind, so I can think on whatsoever things are pure. lovely, praiseworthy and of good report. Not death, sickness, food, sugar, scamming and scheming to be in the food, but in the presence of an all knowing, loving, caring God! Now I can cast all my cares on God/Jesus, because He cares for me, when nobody loved that big ole beautiful 745 pound dead living woman, God did, and He does now at 500, I am worthy in and through His eyes, He died for me, and rose again, to prove it, now finally I could... live for Him.. not food!! Now to clear up the debris and wreckage of my past, and on to a greater miracle, healing! So I am not triggered to pick up the food, rather pick up my sick bed and deny myself and accept God's amazing grace and love. Surrendering to this loving God is so wonderful such a miracle I am not stuffing my face, rather facing my stuff. This is what Step Four is: facing our stuff. The only thing that will stop you is a lack of surrender to God/Jesus, or your H/P. Let's work to live shall we?
Here is an example:
Cause (or why)
Part in it:
myself up to 745 pounds
Relationship with God/Jesus that is
of 230 pound weight release
of body, mind, soul & spirit
you, and SO much more.
Well, The Big Book states it very clearly, IF we continue to hold on to resentments, WE WILL COMPULSIVELY OVER EAT AGAIN!!
NO.. I am not willing to compulsively overeat again, for me to BINGE is for me to DIE.. you too, I don't care if you weigh 100 pounds or 900, it all ends the same way. (remember I began as an anorexic). If you are starving yourself, or purging, and thin, it is just as fatal. Thin, skinny is not healthy!! The I.V.'s in my neck and mandatory eating disorder counseling for me, was just as deadly as super morbid obesity. I compare my anorexia and COE to a rain stick, you turn it upside down, and you hear beautiful rain, you turn it upside down again, you still get rain!! A drug is a drug, is a drug, is a drug, and food is simply the "good girl drug." (seen the back of any food labels? There are as many or more chemicals in food as there is crystal meth amphetamine). We are addicted. I am addicted, but free today through surrender, I am free of me with daily, moment by moment surrender to God's care, and moment by moment conscious contact wit God, our Creator.
(BINGE is :Believe, I'm Not, Good, Enough).
RECOMMENDED READING FOR STEP FOUR:
AA Big Book (P.64-71)
OA 12 Steps & 12 Traditions (p.29-44)
Please treat yourself to answering all of the questions in the OA 12 Steps & 12 traditions on( pages 37-43). They will truly help you to get free, clean & abstinent. The wonderful news, is that MANY people are not able, or not have been able to get anything like abstinent, until after this Step has been given away to their Sponsors! How much hope does that offer? Many, many times I have found that if something is eating at me, I will soon eat at it, so I come back here to this Step and DO it again to get free, you see this Step is a great blessing, please do not cheat yourself from your abstinence and serenity. There are lots of helps, forms, information and ways to do your Fourth Step, this is absolutely what works for me, and all those I have been blessed to Sponsor. Our Sponsors are a Tool of Recovery, not your Recovery, or your God, or Coach, Counselor or Pastor. We are to share our mess with our Sponsor and share the message, Experience, Strength & Hopes at the Meeting.
The authors ask us to turn back to our list because it holds the key to our future! This is a very powerful Step, healing is here.
AA BIG BOOK:
It is plain, a life with resentments lead to futility! People who wronged us were spiritually sick, just like us. We are asked to have pity, tolerance and patience we would cheerfully show a sick friend. Then to pray the Angry Man's Prayer for two weeks to get free from this resentment.
Angry Man's Prayer"God save me from being angry at:_____________________."This is a sick man, how can I be helpful to him. God save me from being angry. Thy will be done." Bless them with everything I want for myself, in Jesus Name Amen.
We avoid retaliation or argument, we can't be helpful if we are. God will show us how to have a kindly, tolerant view of them everyone. Fear is an evil & corroding thread, the very fabric of our existence was shot through with it. Fear sets in motion trains of circumstances. fear ought to be classified with stealing. Fears came as a result of self reliance failing us. The better way is reliance and trusting in God! Faith means courage! We never have to apologize for God! Instead we let Him work though us, and ask Him to remove our fear, and to show us to what He would have us to be. At once we commence to outgrow fear.
Now let's do our fear Inventory:
As with the Resentment Column Inventory, write down each Fear you have, and answer the questions:
1. Who/What do I fear?
2. What am I afraid of?
3. What part of Self is affected?
4. Where does this lead me?
5. What's the result of me having this fear?
6. What are the Character Defects that this fear uncovers in me?
do I fear
am I afraid of
part of Self is affected
does this lead me
the result of fear
Defect fear uncovered
Now about sex. Many of us need an overhauling here. Some say sex is of the lower nature. ALL sex all the time, no sex ever. Over sexualized, or sex and love anorexic. We have all had sex problems. We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone's sex conduct. We remembered our sex powers are God given be taken lightly or selfishly, nor to be despised or loathed. If sex is troublesome to us, we are to throw ourselves that much further into service to get out of self and to cease the urge.
Sex Prayer: God mold our sex ideals, and help us to live up to them. Give us guidance in the questionable situations, bless us with sanity & strength to do the next right thing. in Jesus Name, Amen. (or your HP).
Now let's do our Sex Inventory:
For each sexual issue we answer the questions:
1. Who did I hurt?
2. What did I do?
3. Which part of Self was affected?
4. What feeling did I create in others?
5. What are my Character Defects?
did I hurt
did I do
that was affected
I created in others
We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, as long as to do so, will not create more harm. Always speak to your sponsor, Pastor, Coach our Counselor before giving and amends so you do not do further harm!!!
Faith did for us what we could not do for ourselves. God can remove whatever self-will has blocked us from Him. This is a good beginning!
Overeaters Anonymous Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions:
The Fourth Step calls us to examine our lives from the past to present day. Doing the work of this Step is the most loving thing we could do for ourselves.As we take a look at our past, and what we have done we will better understand ourselves. This understanding is the beginning of emotional healing! Many of us have carried shame, guilt, & worthlessness. We had never faced our wrongs honestly.Writing the inventory is the beginning of cleaning up our messes. It is essential to be free from compulsive over eating. This is a process of increasing honesty, & awareness that will lead us to freedom from the bondage of self! Our past problems have been controlling our actions, feelings and emotions. As we face our problems, they lose their power, and we will be able to do God's will more easily. We have lied to ourselves and others, we must change if we are to live! Change begins with honesty. By doing this inventory it is easier to live by our Step Three decision and surrender of our will, food, and lives over to the care of God. We can pray for willingness & then take action! Any action no matter how small will free us from deadly procrastination. (5 syllable word for SLOTH). Writing helps us see our reactions. IN OA we learn to utilize, not analyze. What counts is that we DO it. We are moving beyond the food &the emotional havoc to a fuller living experience!
If you have a resentment you want to be free of, pray for the person of the thing that you resent. You will be free
If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free.
Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free.
Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words, & you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway.
Do it every day for two weeks, and you will find you have come to mean it, and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding, and love.
NOW YOUR PART:
QUESTIONS FOR STEP FOUR:
1. When and in what ways have you lead a "double life," looking good on the outside while full of shame about my addiction on the inside?
2. What blocks and resistances do I have to be being honest with God about my wrongdoings?
3. What role has guilt & shame from your past mistakes played in keeping you from writing a fearless, searching moral inventory?
4. What truly brought you into the bondage of addiction & dependency? What is your part in it?
5. In what ways have you avoided facing your sorrow about how your addiction has impacted your life and the lives of others?
6. Where and when have you demanded your wants and needs come before the needs of others, especially your family, friends, co-workers? (those closest to you).
7. Now on a positive note, what is something positive your take-away from Step Four?
YOU ARE NOT YET FINISHED: It is time to make columns across, and write your resentment, fear and sex inventories..
One last question then:
1.Are you willing to set aside time to grieve, and allow humility to grow in you? What is your commitment to yourself, your growth, your recovery by completing your Fourth Step Inventory? Will you be completing a Fourth Step Inventory?
GREAT work and willingness!
God bless n prayers,
The Twelve Steps