Step Twelve

Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps,
we tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters,
and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Leader's Share and Step Questions

Wishing those of you who celebrate an amazing Resurrection Sunday/Easter. I had the opportunity to read and study this step over the weekend, and am grateful for the insights I received. I am also grateful for each person who has read and/or shared during this quarter's study. I appreciate all the encouragement I received as I did my utmost to live up to this awesome responsibility. I would encourage others to step up or to say yes if asked to serve in this way. The commitment to read, study, write and share helped ramp up my own recovery and helped me to have a return to clean, pure abstinence. I will be forever grateful.

Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Principle: Service or Charity

Definition of service: The action of helping or doing work for someone.
Definition of charity: The voluntary giving of help to those in need.

I think both of these principles are very appropriate for this step and this place in our journey. When you read the Step 12 chapter in the OA 12 and 12 (please do), you will find a recap of the principles we have studied these past 13 weeks. You should also read Chapter 7 of the AA Big Book, “Working With Others.” Yes, an entire chapter is dedicated to this principle of service that is borne out of our spiritual awakening which occurs as a result of working Steps 1 through 11. Let’s break down this amazing step, shall we?

Having had a spiritual awakening – what’s that you may be asking? This is that awareness we spoke of last week. The awareness of a Power greater than ourselves. We awaken to a realm beyond the physical one we can see with our eyes, and become aware of a spiritual way of life. The spiritual life is not a theory. At this point, we are practicing it.

… as a result of these steps. What steps are those? Let’s review:
Step 1 – We admitted we were powerless over food – that our lives had become unmanageable.
Step 2 – Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step 3 – Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Step 4 – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step 5 – Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Step 6 – Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step 7 – Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Step 8 – Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step 9 – Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
Step 11 – Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

To me, Step 12 contains a promise that the results of working through these 11 steps is a spiritual awakening. I think the word ‘awakening’ has an interesting connotation. Perhaps you, like me, already feel you have had spiritual experiences, or have a spiritual awareness, or have been on a spiritual path before or during the above 11-step process. I believe that while I did have all of those things at various points in my life, the process of working the steps actually awakens my spirituality in the sense of enlightening it – make it bigger, broader, better, more complete.

… we tried to carry this message – what message? The OA 12 and 12 says it is the message of hope. I truly believe it is the message of RECOVERY. The message that people can absolutely be free of the disease of compulsive overeating and come to a place of neutrality around food.

.. to compulsive overeaters – Here, I believe they are referring to the “real” compulsive overeaters, like the “real” alcoholics talked about in the Big Book. Those of us for whom no other method could work. Not the moderate eater, or even the hard eater, but the true compulsive overeater. And we bring this message of recovery to those people who are most desperate. We are looking to help those who are willing and who want to do these steps to find this way of living that truly works.

… and to practice these principles – which principles? Again, there is a wonderful recap of the principles in the OA 12 and 12, but here is the simple list:

Honesty, Hope, Faith, Courage, Integrity, Willingness, Humility, Brotherly Love, Discipline, Perseverence ,Awareness and Service.

… in all our affairs – Not some, not a few, not many, not even most, but in ALL our affairs. To me this means from walking the dog to raising my children! I need these principles to be apparent in every relationship I have, and in every action I take.

I have been extraordinarily blessed over the past 13 weeks in doing service in this new way for me. I am celebrating over 30 days of abstinence again as a result of following the simple (but not easy) path that is laid out for us in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have been blessed way more than I expected by having the hope, faith, courage and willingness to say yes when asked to help lead the study this quarter. I was able to be honest here and walk with integrity. I have hopefully exhibited humility and brother love along the way as I learned from each of you. Doing this work certainly took discipline as I had to do my own reading, studying and writing over the past 13 weeks. I persevered, and as a result became more aware of my Higher Power’s role in my life. What an awesome journey this is. I suppose I will leave you with a few questions regarding this Step 12.

With love in recovery,


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