My name is Shlomo
I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop
ASSIGNMENT 1: Read the following pages in the Big Book that describe Spiritual
Awakening or Spiritual Experience
Bill's Story page 14,
There Is A Solution page 27
Into Action the step 9 and step 10 promises pages 83-85.
Spiritual Experience ( Appendix II) pages 567-568
Mark the sentences that speak to you
Mark the sentences that give you new information.
Reflect and share with us.
ASSIGNMENT 2: Read the chapter "Working With Others", in the Big Book
Mark the sentences that speak to you
Mark the sentences that give you new information.
Reflect and share with us.
ASSIGNMENT 3: Read the chapter on step twelve in the AA12&12
Mark the sentences that speak to you
Mark the sentences that give you new information.
Reflect and share with us.
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."
There are three parts to this step.
The first part tells us that the ONLY result of working the first 11 steps
is a spiritual awakening.
So what is a spiritual awakening?
The simplest definition is given by the Big Book in appendix II:
" ... Personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from compulsive
Eating..." page 567 fourth edition.
So we are changed persons now, recovered from compulsive eating.
Seems simple doesn't it?
Let me expand it a bit.
Big Book chapter There Is A Solution page 27:
" ...spiritual experiences ...appear to be in the nature of huge emotional
displacements and rearrangements. Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were
once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one
side, and a complete new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them."
The personality change is an emotional change, a change in attitudes towards
ourselves to those around us and to a Power greater than ourselves. It is
explained in appendix II that this change can be sudden which is not common,
and then it is called a spiritual experience, and it can be a gradual change
which is then called a spiritual awakening.
The results are the same, I.e., Recovery from compulsive eating.
This change is a result of working all the 12 steps.
Our life changes gradually from unmanageability to a manageable life as
written in the step nine promises.
And we become free from our obsession with food as written in the tenth step
I have only one answer to anyone who says that he has problems with food.
WORK the steps.
This is the only remedy 12 step fellowships have to offer.
The rest are just delaying temporary relief tactics.
The second part of step 12 is:
"We tried to carry this message to compulsive eaters."
The message is what it says in the first part of this step.
Namely, one achieves a spiritual awakening as a result of working all the 12 steps.
And in simpler words: One reaches recovery from compulsive eating on a daily basis by working steps 1-12 (all
of them) every day.
Without freely giving what we have freely received we cannot progress and
develop in our recovery. When we neglect that part we regress back into our
disease, since the root of our disease is selfishness and self centeredness.
The Big Book says it simply at the end of the chapter Into Action:
"But this is not all. There is action and more action. "Faith without works
is dead. The next chapter is entirely devoted to STEP TWELVE." page 88.
And page 89 begins with the chapter "WORKING WITH OTHERS."
This chapter begins with a very important message:
"Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from
compulsive eating as intensive work with other compulsive eaters. It works
when other activities fail."
So if we work all 12 steps to the best of our ability, but the disease is
still stronger than our recovery, the way to overcome the desire to eat
compulsively is to work intensively with another compulsive eater.
Not to call your sponsor and whine, not to complain or dump your mess in a
But to call another compulsive eater and ask him how you can help him,
Even if you feel you don't have anything to give.
Give a listening ear if you feel you cannot give anything else.
In meetings actively approach newcomers and offer to help.
Talk with them, give them your phone number.
Don't just wait for them to call you, take their number and call them.
In the meetings share about how you work the steps in order to deal with
life's problems, share you recovery actions.
The root of our disease is selfishness and self centeredness and the way to
get out of these defects is to give help and share.
Think about that. Are you really active in working and sharing with others?
Your recovery is in danger if you are not.
A word of warning. Be aware of two stepping, which is working only steps One
and working with others. This is not recovery.
It is escapism from dealing with your disease.
Another point to remember is the following.
Our program is open to all who want it and I will help you gladly as much as
I can, but I am not responsible for your recovery or your relapse or your
disease. This is between you and H.P. So I can only try to help.
If I try to help someone and he does not work the program, it is not my responsibility.
It is not my success when you recover and it is not my failure when you don't.
I only act as an instrument in carrying the message.
The recovery process depends on our relationship with H.P.
Let me quote and discuss some very useful ideas and suggestions about
carrying the message (sponsoring), as they appear the Big Book in the
chapter "WORKING WITH OTHERS".
The Big Book tells us that we should sponsor only those who commit to
work the twelve steps.
"If he does not want to stop eating compulsively, don't waste time trying to
persuade him. You may spoil a later opportunity." page 90.
"If he does not want to see you, never force yourself upon him" page 90.
"If he is not interested in your solution, if he expects you to act only as
a banker for his financial difficulties or a nurse for his sprees, you may
have to drop him until he changes his mind. This he may do after he gets
hurt some more." page 95.
A sponsor is just a compulsive eater who shares his ESH in working the 12
step program. It is not his place to act as a nurse or doctor or dietitian
or substitute father/mother or husband/wife.
A sponsor should be very careful not to take the place of any professional.
If a sponsee needs or wants professional advice he should turn to
professionals. In the fellowship no one is a professional no matter what he
is outside the fellowship. As I said, a sponsor is only a compulsive eater
sharing his ESH in working the steps and nothing more. This alone is more
than enough, since this is the way we help others to recover.
"If he thinks he can do the job in some other way, or prefers some other
spiritual approach, encourage him to follow his own conscience. We have no
monopoly on God; we merely have an approach that worked with us." page 95.
We don't claim to have a monopoly on recovery we just say that our recovery
program works for us.
"Do not be discouraged if your prospect does not respond at once. Search out
another compulsive eater and try again. You are sure to find someone
desperate enough to accept with eagerness what you offer. We find it a waste
of time to keep chasing a man who cannot or will not work with you. If you
leave such a person alone, he may soon become convinced that he cannot
recover by himself. To spend too much time on any one situation is to deny
some other compulsive eater an opportunity to live and be happy." page 96.
We don't waste our time working with someone who cannot or will not work
with us on the 12 steps, since we can spend that time helping someone else
who is interested in our solution.
We also have to be very careful as sponsors not to let the sponsee become
dependent on us. Dependence means slavery. It means making the sponsor my
Higher Power and of course this does not work, since in step 3 we decided to
turn our will and life over to the care of God and not to the care of a
human being. So as sponsors we have to be very careful about that.
"We simply do not stop eating compulsively so long as we place dependence
upon other people ahead of dependence on God...
"Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well
regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean
house." page 98.
Sometimes the sponsee has all kinds of relationship problems and claims that
he cannot work on his recovery unless his relations with other people like
his family or boss are settled first. The Big Book says that these are just
"Remind the prospect that his recovery is not dependent upon people. It is
dependent upon his relationship with God." page 99-100.
The sponsee may also think that he cannot work the steps unless he becomes
That is not true. He can and should work the steps and eventually one of the
results of his recovery will be abstinence.
Otherwise he may never work the steps and will never recover.
Remember that freedom from the obsession with food is given only in the step
Now let us see how we sponsor someone who is interested in doing the program
We first describe our personal eating problems and after the sponsee
identifies with us, we explain what it means to be a compulsive eater, that
we have a two fold disease and a spiritual malady.
Then we explain what the solution is and how we applied it and recovered.
"At first engage in general conversation. After a while, turn the talk to
some phase of eating compulsively. Tell him enough about your compulsive
eating, symptoms and experiences to encourage him to speak of himself. If he
wishes to talk, let him do so. You will thus get a better idea of how you ought to proceed.
If he is not communicative, give him a sketch of your compulsive eating
career up to the time you quit.
But say nothing, for the moment, of how that was accomplished.
If he is in a serious mood dwell on the troubles food has caused you, being
careful not to moralize or lecture.
If his mood is light, tell him humorous stories of your escapades.
Get him to tell some of his."
"When he sees you know all about the compulsive eating game, commence to
describe yourself as a compulsive eater. Tell him how baffled you were, how
you finally learned that you were sick. Give him an account of the struggles
you made to stop. Show him the mental twist which leads to the first bite of
a spree. We suggest you do this as we have done it in the chapter More On
Alcoholism. If he is a compulsive eater, he will understand you at once. He
will match your mental inconsistencies with some of his own."
"If you are satisfied that he is a real compulsive eater, begin to dwell on
the hopeless feature of the malady. Show him, from your own experience, how
the queer mental condition surrounding that first bite prevents normal
functioning of the will power. Don't, at this stage, refer to the Big Book,
unless he has seen it and wishes to discuss it. And be careful not to brand
him as a compulsive eater. Let him draw his own conclusion. If he sticks to
the idea that he can still control his eating, tell him that possibly he can
if he is not too far gone as a compulsive eater. But insist that if he is
severely afflicted, there may be little chance he can recover by himself.
"Continue to speak of compulsive eating as an illness, a fatal malady. Talk
about the conditions of body and mind which accompany it. Keep his attention
focused mainly on your personal experience. Explain that many are doomed who
never realize their predicament... you may talk to him about the
hopelessness of compulsive eating because you offer a solution. You will
soon have your friend admitting he has many, if not all, of the traits of
the compulsive eater. If his own doctor is willing to tell him that he is a
compulsive eater, so much the better. Even though your protege may not have
entirely admitted his condition, he has become very curious to know how you
got well. Let him ask you that question, if he will. TELL HIM EXACTLY WHAT
HAPPENED TO YOU."
Stress the spiritual feature freely. If the man be agnostic
Or atheist, make it emphatic that HE DOES NOT HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOUR
CONCEPTION OF GOD. He can choose any conception he likes, provided it makes
sense to him. THE MAIN THING IS THAT HE BE WILLING TO BELIEVE IN A POWER
GREATER THAN HIMSELF AND THAT HE LIVE BY SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES. " page 91-93.
We are advised to talk about spirituality in simple terms and not to talk
religion no matter what our religion is, since our program is a spiritual
program not a religious one. The main difference being expressed in what
Bill W.'s sponsor said to him: "WHY DON'T YOU CHOOSE YOUR OWN CONCEPTION OF
GOD?" BB, page 12.
The Big Book also explains how to approach a religious person.
"Your prospect may belong to a religious denomination. His religious
education and training may be far superior to yours. In that case he is
going to wonder how you can add anything to what he already knows. But he
well be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why
yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith
alone is insufficient. To be vital, faith must be accompanied by
self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action. Let him see that you are
not there to instruct him in religion. Admit that he probably knows more
about it than you do, but call to his attention the fact that however deep
his faith and knowledge, he could not have applied it or he would not eat
compulsively. Perhaps your story will help him see where he has failed to
practice the very precepts he knows so well. We represent no particular
faith or denomination. We are dealing only with general principles common to
most denominations." pages 93-94.
After the sponsee identified with us, we explain the steps as our program of
action and how we took the steps:
"Outline the program of action, explaining how you made a self-appraisal,
how you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be
helpful to him. It is important for him to realize that your attempt to pass
this on to him plays a vital part in your recovery. Actually, he may be
helping you more than you are helping him. Make it plain he is under no
obligation to you, that you hope only that he will try to help other
compulsive eaters when he escapes his own difficulties. Suggest how
important it is that he place the welfare of other people ahead of his own.
Make it clear that he is not under pressure, that he needn't see you again
if he doesn't want to. You should not be offended if he wants to call it off
for he has helped you more than you have helped him. If your talk has been
sane, quiet and full of human understanding, you have perhaps made a friend.
Maybe you have disturbed him about the question of compulsive eating. This
is all to the good. The more hopeless he feels, the better. He will be more
likely to follow your suggestions." page 94.
The Big Book tells us to avoid preaching which in our fellowship stands for
a "holier that thou" attitude which is based on the defect of false pride.
"You will be most successful with compulsive eaters if you do not exhibit
any passion for crusade or reform. Never talk down to a compulsive eater
from any moral or spiritual hilltop; simply lay out the kit of spiritual
tools for his inspection. Show him how they worked with you. Offer him
friendship and fellowship. Tell him that if he wants to get well you will do
anything to help." page 95.
Helping others should be adopted as a daily way of life in order to grow and
develop in our recovery.
"Helping others is the foundation stone of your recovery. A kindly act once
in a while isn't enough. You have to act the Good Samaritan every day, if
need be." page 97.
The Big Book tells us that the sponsor and his sponsees are intimate sharing
partners. We walk the recovery road together as two equal human beings who
share the same problem and now share the same solution.
"Both you and the new man must walk day by day in the path of spiritual
progress. If you persist, remarkable things will happen. When we look back,
we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God's
hands were better than anything we could have planned. Follow the dictates
of a Higher Power and you will presently live in a new and wonderful world,
no matter what your present circumstances!" page 100.
The Big Book emphasizes that the way we respond to the sponsee's problems is
by sharing our own ESH in solving such problems and not by criticizing. Our
relationship is not a dependency relationship but a mutual help relationship
based on personal experience only. The sponsee is free to decide how and if
to use my shared ESH.
"If you have been successful in solving your own domestic problems, tell the
Newcomer's family how that was accomplished. In this way you can set them on
the right track without becoming critical of them. The story of how you and
your wife settled your difficulties is worth any amount of criticism." page
This also implies that if we don't have personal experience with some of the
Sponsee's problems, we should say so. We should say that we don't have
personal experience in dealing with such problems and refer him to someone
who has this experience in the fellowship, or if needed, suggest he turn to
professional help. It is of utmost importance to admit that there are things
we don't know or don't have experience about, otherwise we act out of pride
and dishonesty. Just to use the example of the Big Book. If the sponsee has
marital problems and I was never married or never had any, I cannot share
personal ESH on such problems and should say so.
As a recovered person I have to be at any place where I can be of maximum help to others.
"Your job now is to be at the place where you may be of maximum helpfulness
to others, so never hesitate to go anywhere if you can be helpful. You
should not hesitate to visit the most sordid spot on earth on such an errand
Keep on the firing line of life with these motives and God will keep you
The first place to be is were there are compulsive eaters who seek the
solution of the 12 step program. This means going to 12 step fellowship
meetings for compulsive eaters, sharing and sponsoring f2f. It means
participating in online activities like sharing and sponsoring in The
It means going anywhere else where I can be of help.
Now to some personal ESH suggestions about sponsoring and sponsor/sponsee
relations. These are my personal opinions based on my interpretation and
understanding of the suggestions in the Big Book, and not necessarily what
is recommended in OA or the Recovery Group.
In my opinion a sponsor is someone who has worked all 12 steps, is not a
slave to his food obsession, And is working steps 10-12 on a daily basis. I
think that my first commitment is to my recovery and before I reach that
stage in my step work, I am on the road to recovery, but I have not yet
reached a recovery stage that really enables me to carry fully the message
of my personal recovery.
The Big Book puts it in these words:
" ... his attention should be drawn to you as a person who has recovered... page 90.
"Outline the program of action, explaining how you made self-appraisal, how
you straightened out your past and why you are now endeavoring to be helpful to him." page 94
"He has read this volume [the Big Book] which you left for him to read and
says he is prepared to go through with the Twelve Steps of the program of
recovery. Having had the experience yourself [of working all the 12 steps,
you can give him much practical advise." page 96.
So we see that the Big Book refers to the sponsor as a recovered person who
worked all the 12 steps, and now has a message of personal recovery to share.
Otherwise I can be a very helpful person but I am not a sponsor according to
the Big Book.
"But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got." BB page 164.
As I see it, a recovered person transmits recovery and a person who has not
yet reached the recovery stage by working all the steps cannot transmit
recovery yet. His message is still flawed till he completes the whole
process which is working all the 12 steps.
Does this mean that I cannot help others before completing all the steps? NO!
I can do a lot of things to help others and give service which is also
considered 12 step work. But to be an effective sponsor I have to first
recover myself by working all the steps.
The A.A., 12 & 12 step 12, explains what kinds service can and should be done.
"Even the newest of newcomers find undreamed rewards as they try to help
their sisters and brothers, the ones who are even blinder than they. This is
indeed the kind of giving that actually demands nothing. They do not expect
their fellow sufferers to pay them, or even to love them. And then they
discover that by the divine paradox of this kind of giving they have found
their own reward, whether the newer ones have yet received anything or not.
Their own character may still be gravely defective, but they somehow know
that God has enabled them to make a mighty beginning, and they sense that
they stand at the edge of new mysteries, joys, and experiences of which they
had never even dreamed."
"Practically every twelve step fellowship member declares that no
satisfaction has been deeper and no joy greater than in a Twelfth Step job
well done. To watch the eyes of women and men open with wonder as they move from
darkness into light. To see their lives quickly fill with new purpose and meaning, to see whole
families reassembled..., and above all to watch these people awaken to the
presence of a loving God in their lives -- these things are the substance of
what we receive as we carry the message to the next compulsive eater.
"Nor is this the only kind of Twelfth Step work. We sit in meetings and
listen, not only to receive something ourselves, but to give the reassurance
and support which our presence can bring. If our turn comes to speak at a
meeting, we again try to carry message. Whether our audience is one or many,
it is still Twelfth Step work. There are many opportunities even for those
of us who feel unable to speak at meetings or who are so situated that we
cannot do much face-to-face Twelfth Step work. We can be the ones who take
on the unspectacular but important tasks that make good Twelfth Step work
possible, perhaps arranging for the coffee and Before and after the meetings,
where so many skeptical, suspicious newcomers
have found confidence and comfort in the laughter and talk. This is Twelfth
Step work in the very best sense of the word. 'Freely ye have received;
freely give ...' is the core of this part of Step Twelve."
"We may often pass through Twelfth Step experiences where we will seem to be
temporarily off the beam. These will appear as big setbacks at the time, but
will be seen later as stepping-stones to better things. For example, we may
set our hearts on getting a particular person to stop eating compulsively,
and after doing all we can for months, we see them relapse. Perhaps this
will happen in a succession of cases, and we may be deeply discouraged as to
our ability to carry the message. Or we may encounter the reverse situation,
in which we are highly elated because we seem to have been successful. Here
the temptation is to become rather possessive of these newcomers. Perhaps we
try to give them advice about their affairs which we aren't really competent
to give or ought not give at all. Then we are hurt and confused when the
advice is rejected, or when it is accepted and brings still greater
confusion. By a great deal of ardent Twelfth Step work we sometimes carry
the message to so many compulsive eaters that they place us in a position of
trust. They make us, let us say, the group's chairperson. Here again we are
presented with the temptation to over-manage things, and sometimes this
results in rebuffs and other consequences which are hard to take."
"But in the longer run we clearly realize that these are only the pains of
growing up, and nothing but good can come from them if we turn more and more
to the entire Twelve Steps for the answers." pages 109-111.
So in addition to sponsoring, there is a lot of service that can be done.
Sharing ESH in meetings, helping by volunteering to all kinds of service
tasks even as simple as arranging for coffee and tea for the meetings,
volunteering to be a group's secretary, or inviting leaders to the meeting,
welcoming newcomers, selling approved literature , arranging the chairs in
the meeting room, being the treasurer of the meeting, volunteering to serve
in an Intergroup, and in the Recovery Group. There are a lot of trusted
servants jobs we can volunteer to do. It is important to remember that
service is an integral part of our recovery process. It is our way of really
belonging to the fellowship. Service makes us part of the fellowship and not
just a participator in the fellowship.
Before I continue with the third part of step twelve let me write some
personal suggestions about relations between sponsors and sponsees
1. A sponsee can have more than one sponsor.
2. A sponsee may leave his sponsor whenever he/she wants and choose another
3. It is best to agree from the beginning on what the sponsor and the
sponsee expect from their relationship and commit to some simple ground
rules like when and how often to get in touch, etc.
4. If the relationship becomes a relationship of dependency it should be
terminated at once. The relationship between a sponsor and sponsee should be
a relationship of help between equals.
5. There are two sponsoring stages:
A) The sponsee is learning how to work the steps and the sponsor guides him
in doing it.
B) The sponsee has worked all the 12 steps and is now working steps 10-12 on
a daily basis. At this stage the sponsor becomes more of a sharing partner.
Personally I have found it very useful to sponsor each other at this stage,
sharing our problems and successes and using each other's ESH.
6. As a sponsor share about your difficulties with your sponsee too,
otherwise he is bound to think that you are perfect, and be afraid to be
honest about his difficulties with food and with life. Complete Honesty
between sponsor and sponsee is essential.
7. As a sponsor share only your personal ESH in working the steps and in
applying them to life's problems. Say I DON'T KNOW as an answer to any
problem you have not experienced personally, or solved personally. Don't
hesitate to refer your sponsee to another suitable person who can give him
an answer based on personal experience or to a professional.
8. An integral part of our recovery process is giving service. As a sponsor
see to it that your sponsee understands it from the beginning of your
relationship and volunteers to give service, and goes to meetings.
9. Volunteer to sponsor in The Recovery Group (abbreviated TRG) and in the
WTS loop. We need you and you need us.
In order to sponsor in TRG write to: TRGAdm@TheRecoveryGroup.org
In order to volunteer specifically to sponsor in the coming quarter in WTS
write to me at: email@example.com
Add a short bio which includes a short summery of your step work.
10. Volunteer for service in the Recovery Group. There are lots of service
tasks that can be done. Write to the administrators at:
Ask for information and volunteer for service.
ADDITIONAL ASSIGNMENTS :
1. Share your spiritual awakening with us.
2. Volunteer to sponsor in TRG, OA or any other 12 step fellowship for
compulsive eaters that you belong to.
3. Volunteer to give service in f2f meetings and in online meetings and
4. Help other compulsive eaters actively and not passively. Take the
5.. Share with us how you carry the message and give service at present and
how you plan to do it in the near future.
Step Four-part one
Step Four-part two
Step Four-part three
Step Four-part four
Step Four-part five
Step Twelve-part one
Step Twelve-part two
The Twelve Steps