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

Hello, friends. I’m Penny, a compulsive eater, and your leader for this quarter’s WTS step study.

As we come to the end of our step work for this quarter, I realize again what an honor it has been to be able to serve. I also make this pledge: I commit to working the steps with the next quarter’s leader and the quarter after that and the quarter … you get the idea.

Step 11: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

THE result of working the steps is a blossoming renewal of my soul. It’s not a perfect body, it’s not weight loss, and it’s not a perfection of spirit. It’s a constant stretching and awareness of my soul and my spirit, as though I had been in a deep slumber.

And now that I have experienced this awakening – a soul seeing the world with different eyes, so to speak – I have two main tasks.

The first is to carry the message to other compulsive eaters.

Here’s the message:

  1. There is a way out of eating compulsively that doesn’t have anything to do with starvation/deprivation;
  2. People like myself who were obsessed with weight, food intake, dieting, and exercising don’t have to do those things anymore.
  3. Working the 12 steps can give us self-love, self-acceptance, a guilt-free life, a life free from fear, and a life of integrity and dignity.
  4. There’s a way out that very simply has to do with finding a power greater than one’s self.

How do I carry the message?

When I had lost a noticeable amount of weight when I first came into OA, it was pretty easy. People would ask me how I did it. A lot of the time they were disappointed. Like me before OA, they wanted a quick fix, a diet, a pill, a magazine article, a doctor’s name. But sometimes they were intrigued, especially as they saw me maintain that weight loss, and maybe as they saw the light in my eyes come back to life.

But now that I no longer stop traffic in the street – I mean, really, does anyone stop and stare because, “Hey – look at that normal-looking woman!!” – the best way I can carry the message is to live the best life I can live and periodically chat up people when I land in a conversation about weight loss. I don’t go up to fat people and hand them an OA card. I do my best to keep my meetings sustainable and healthy. I do service. I freely talk about my experience with friends and physicians so they know they have someone they can refer their friends to. I don’t pretend to know all the answers (I know only a few in any case); I don’t try to fix people; I simply tell people my story, what worked for me, what I was like, what happened, and what I’m like now. If people want what I have – cool; if not – also cool. All of us have our own journeys.

I carry the message by being the best person my Higher Power wants me to be, hopefully just doing the next right thing, and cleaning up my messes when I make them.

I sponsor. I belong to various social media groups for compulsive eaters. I do service. I make outreach calls (well, mostly texts, but it's the same thing), and I welcome them.

And finally, how do I live these principles in all my affairs?

I do my best – imperfectly – to live an examined life. I work Step 10 every day, and freely admit my wrongs when necessary. Every day I admit my powerlessness over food, other people, situations, and institutions. I humble myself before my Higher Power, asking God to guide me to being the best person I can be. I aim for the most honesty I can muster. I accept the reality of my condition: I am a compulsive eater, and my life can easily become unmanageable if I don’t let my Higher Power take care of me.

So, my friends, we come to the end of this particular journey. I thank you with all my heart for giving me this opportunity to serve.

And I leave you with this from the Big Book:

“Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven’t got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you–until then.” Alcoholics Anonymous World Service (2014-01-05). Alcoholics Anonymous (Kindle Locations 2696-2699). Kindle Edition.

Penny K

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