Step Three

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives
over the care of God as we understood Him

Leader's Share and Step Questions

"Came to believe in a power greater than ourselves that could restore us to sanity."

What is the goal of Overeaters Anonymous? It is not physical recovery. it's to change our behavior, to stop eating compulsively. We have reached the conclusion that we cannot do that on our own. Step 3 is about accepting help from a power greater than ourselves.

I appreciate the practicality of step 3 as it is written in the OA 12 & 12. They understand that step 3 is not magic. We can be abstinent for years and be confronted by cravings. For many of us abstinence is a moving target. Foods that we used to be able to tolerate are now on our red light list. The reason why OA doesn't provide a food plan is because our needs are all different and they change over time.

So how do I know when I am abstinent? A food plan is defined over time by taking an honest look at our eating history, and talking with our sponsor. I have been working with a professional nutritionist. In particular I recommend finding one that is familiar with the idea of abstaining from certain foods and/or certain behaviors. If it is not possible to work with a professional there is an OA pamphlet called "A Dignity of Choice" that can provide guidance. Your food plan can evolve, so feel free to start with the basics.

However, the instruction we receive from our food plan is merely self knowledge. Self knowledge is useless against this disease without spiritual power. We need the twin gifts of willingness and ability. They will come if you ask for them. The idea behind step 3 is very simple "I can't, God can, I think I'll let God."

The AA Big Book uses beautiful imagery to drive this point home.

"He is the Director, we are his agents."
"He is the Father, we are his children. " pg. 62

In essence, step 3 goes much deeper than the food. Over time you will understand that He wants everything. One of the most profound passages in the Big Book for me is the end of the story "Crossing the River of Denial."

As our program gets stronger we learn to trust our intuition. We learn also to share intuitive thoughts with sponsors and other trusted advisors. Sanity around food becomes an everyday reality.

"In learning God's will, we may again refer to our experience, knowledge, common sense, intuition and the wisdom of spiritual mentors." (OA 12 & 12 p. 24)

Questions: Have you defined your abstinence?
Read pgs. 60-63 of the AA BB. Discuss.
Read "Crossing the River of Denial" (pg. 328-337).
The author speaks of "the real meaning of step 3." What does step 3 mean to you?
Are you willing to go to any lengths to maintain your abstinence?

Replies to the assignments are to be sent to

Robin Brown

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