Step Twelve-part two

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


Hi everyone My name is Shlomo I am a compulsive overeater and leader of this workshop.

ASSIGNMENT 1: Read the chapter THE FAMILY AFTERWARDS in the Big Book pages 122-135 Mark the sentences that speak to you. Mark the sentences that give you new information Reflect and share with us.

Now it is time to deal with the third part of step twelve: "...AND TO PRACTICE THESE PRINCIPLES IN ALL OUR AFFAIRS"

What are the principles? The AA 12 & 12 explains it quite clearly on page 15. "A.A's twelve steps are a group of principles, spiritual in nature, which if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to eat compulsively and enable the sufferer to become happy and usefully whole." Simple isn't it? The steps are the principles.

So we have to practice the twelve steps in all our affairs, which means we have to incorporate them in every area of our lives, or as the Big Book says: "The spiritual life is not a theory, we have to live it." page 83.

For me the first place to practice living the program is at home with my family. I tended to be more obnoxious at home since outside I usually put on my outside manners mask. The next place is at work. Other places are shops, driving my car, etc. In all places and in all our affairs we have to conduct ourselves according to the program code of love and tolerance and it is not always easy.

Let us see what the Big Book has to say about practicing the steps in my family which is I think the most important place to live the program.

The chapter THE FAMILY AFTERWARD. "Cessation of eating compulsively is but the first step away from a highly strained abnormal condition" page 122

This is also emphasized in the chapter THERE IS A SOLUTION page 19 "We feel that elimination of our compulsive eating is but a beginning. A more important demonstration of our principles lies before us in our respective homes, occupations and affairs."

"We grow by our willingness to face and rectify errors and convert them into assets" page 124.

"Cling to the thought that in God's hands, the dark past is the greatest possession you have-the key to life and happiness for others. With it you can avert death and misery for them." page 124. Our past experience can turn into an asset when helping others.

" ...we do not relate intimate experiences of another person unless we are sure he would approve. We find it better when possible to stick to our own stories. A man may criticize or laugh at himself and it will affect others favorably, but criticism or ridicule coming from another often produces contrary effect members of a family should watch such matters carefully, for one careless inconsiderate remark has been known to raise the very devil" Page 125

" Since the home has suffered most than anything, it is well that a man exert himself there. He is not likely to get far in any direction if he fails to show unselfishness and love under his own roof" page 127

"We had come to believe He would like us to keep our heads in the clouds with Him (with H.P.), but that our feet ought to be firmly planted on earth. page 130

"But we are not a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it... We absolutely insist on enjoying life.So we think cheerfulness and laughter make for usefulness... But why shouldn't we laugh? We have recovered, and have been given the power to help others... We are sure God wants us to be happy joyous and free?" pages 132-133

"God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to taken your health problems to such persons." page 133 "Whether the family goes on the spiritual path or not, the compulsive eater has to if he would recover" page 135.

Let us see what the A.A. 12 & 12 step twelve, has to say about applying these principles in all our affairs. "Now comes the biggest question yet. What about the practice of these principles in ALL our affairs? Can we love the whole pattern of living as Eagerly as we do the small segment of it we discover when we try to help other compulsive eaters achieve recovery? Can we bring the same spirit of love and tolerance into our sometimes deranged family lives that we bring to our group meetings? Can we have the same kind of confidence and faith in these people who have been infected and sometimes crippled by our own illness that we have in our sponsors? Can we actually carry the fellowship spirit into our daily work? Can we meet our newly recognized responsibilities to the world at large? And can we bring new purpose and devotion to the religion of our choice? Can we find a new joy of living in trying to do something about all these things?"

"Furthermore, how shall we come to terms with seeming failure or success? Can we now accept and adjust to either without despair or pride? Can we accept poverty, sickness, loneliness, and bereavement with courage and serenity? Can we steadfastly content ourselves with the humbler, yet sometimes more durable, satisfactions when the brighter, more glittering achievements are denied us?"

"The fellowship's answer to these questions about living is 'Yes, all of these things are possible.' We know this because we see monotony, pain, and even calamity turned to good use by those who keep on trying to practice the twelve Steps. And if these are facts of life for the many compulsive eaters who have recovered in the fellowship , they can become the facts of life for many more." Pages 111-112.

Now let us consider some warnings about resting on our laurels, that are given in the A.A. 12 & 12. And how working all the 12 steps makes us grow and develops our recovery. "Of course all those who work the program , even the best, fall far short of such achievements as a consistent thing. Without necessarily taking that first bite, we often get quite far off the beam. Our troubles sometimes begin with indifference. We are abstinent and happy in our recovery work. Things go well at home and office. We naturally congratulate ourselves on what later proves to be a far too easy and superficial point of view. We temporarily cease to grow because we feel satisfied that there is no need for ALL of the Twelve Steps for us. We are doing fine on a few of them. Maybe we are doing fine on only two of them, the First Step and that part of the Twelfth where we 'carry the message.' In slang, that blissful state is known as 'two-stepping.' And it can go on for years.

"The best-intentioned of us can fall for the 'two-step' illusion. Sooner or later the pink cloud stage wears off and things go disappointingly dull. We begin to think that A.A. [OA] doesn't pay off after all. We become puzzled and discouraged." "Then perhaps life, as it has a way of doing, suddenly hands us a great big lump that we can't begin to swallow, let alone digest. We fail to get a worked-for promotion. We lose that good job. Maybe there are serious domestic or romantic difficulties, or perhaps someone we thought God was looking after becomes a military casualty. " "What then? Have we compulsive eaters got, or can we get, the resources to meet these calamities which come to so many? These were problems of life which we could never face up to. Can we now, with the help of God as we understand Him, handle them as well and as bravely as our normative friends often do? Can we transform these calamities into assets, sources of growth and comfort to ourselves and those about us? Well, we surely have a chance if we switch from 'two-stepping' to twelve-stepping,' if we are willing to receive that grace of God which can sustain and strengthen us in any catastrophe. "

"Our basic troubles are the same as everyone else's, but when an honest effort is made 'to practice these principles in all our affairs,' well-grounded compulsive eaters seem to have the ability, by God's grace, to take these troubles in stride and turn them into demonstrations of faith. We have seen recovered compulsive eaters suffer lingering and fatal illness with little complaint, and often in good cheer. We have sometimes seen families broken apart by misunderstanding, tensions, or actual infidelity, who are reunited by this way of life... "

"Like most people, we have found that we can take our big lumps as they come But also like others, we often discover a greater challenge in the lesser and more continuous problems of life. Our answer is in still more spiritual development. Only by this means can we improve our chances for really happy and useful living. And as we grow spiritually, we find that our old attitudes toward our instincts need to undergo drastic revisions. Our desires for emotional security and wealth, for personal prestige and power, for romance, and for family satisfactions -- all these have to be tempered and redirected. We have learned that the satisfaction of instincts cannot be the sole end and aim of our lives. If we place instincts first, we have got the cart before the horse; we shall be pulled backward into disillusionment. But when we are willing to place spiritual growth first -- then and only then do we have a real chance."

"After we come into the fellowship , if we go on growing, our attitudes and actions toward security -- emotional security and financial security -- commence to change profoundly..."

"As we made spiritual progress, ... it became clear that if we ever were to feel emotionally secure among grown-up people, we would have to put our lives on a give-and-take basis; we would have to develop the sense of being in partnership or kinship with all those around us. We saw that we would need to give constantly of ourselves without demands for repayment. When we persistently did this we gradually found that people were attracted to us as never before. And even if they failed us, we could be understanding and not too seriously affected."

"When we developed still more, we discovered the best possible source of emotional stability, in fact, to be God Himself. We found that dependence upon His perfect justice, forgiveness, and love was healthy, and that it would work where nothing else would. If we really depended upon God, we couldn't very well play God to our fellows nor would we feel the urge wholly to rely on human protection and care. These were the new attitudes that finally brought many of us an inner strength and peace that could not be deeply shaken by the shortcomings of others or by any calamity not of our own making.

" ... For those of us who were like that, the fellowship had a very special meaning. Through it we begin to learn right relations with people who understand us; we don't have to be alone any more. "

" ... as time passed we found that with the help of the Twelve Steps we could lose those fears (fears of financial insecurity), no matter what our material prospects were. We could cheerfully perform humble labor without worrying about tomorrow. If our circumstances happened to be good, we no longer dreaded a change for the worse, for we had learned that these troubles could be turned into great values. It did not matter too much what our material condition was, but it did matter what our spiritual condition was. Money gradually became our servant and not our master. It became a means of exchanging love and service with those about us. When, with God's help, we calmly accepted our lot, then we found we could live at peace with ourselves and show others who still suffered the same fears that they could get over them, too. We found that freedom from fear was more important than freedom from want..."

" ... Understanding is the key to right principles and attitudes, and right action is the key to good living; therefore the joy of good living is the theme of the fellowship's Twelfth Step." pages 112-125.

PERSONAL ESH AND PRACTICAL ADDITIONAL RECOVERY SUGGESTIONS I will now deal deal with some personal ESH activities that I incorporate into my daily recovery work. I learned these activities and ideas from others. They do not appear in the AA or OA books but I found them a very effective recovery practice that is essentially a step 7 activity applied to different situations and problems in life. I found those actions to be very effective in expanding my recovery and look upon them as part of my daily practice of steps 10 -12. Of course they are personal suggestions only and you can use them or not as you see fit. There is just one important point to make before continuing. All the processes I write about, work only if we do them. Just reading about them or understanding them is of no help. This is true of course for our whole recovery program.

DEALING WITH FEARS: I will repeat and expand here since fear is one of the most basic and rooted liabilities that an addict has. I think the reason is simple. Our disease twists our perception of reality and this causes us to feel insecure and afraid. The way the Big Book suggests we deal with fears is first by prayer. "We ask God to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear." page 68.

When we pray we begin to outgrow fear. By asking God to direct my attention toward what He would have me be, we ask to be given a clear perception of reality that is not clouded by our illness. We also ask for the power to walk through the fear and act according to God's will. The asset that is conjugate to fear is faith and trust in God, which results in courage.

Let me now look at what we usually fear, and then see some ESH suggestions for asset practice. Fear about some future event, which is a manifestation of fear of the unknown. Examples: Expecting something that I have (money, family, job, freedom, love etc.) to be taken from me. Expecting not to get something that I want (money family, job, freedom, love, etc.). Fear of being found out, which is a fear of possible future results of something I did that I shouldn't have done, or something that I didn't do and should have done.

Why do we fear or worry about these future events?

1. We fear because we lack information.

2. We fear because we assume responsibility for solving future events now. We invent imagined information, project it into the future situations, build a frightening scene in our mind and go over it repeatedly as if it were real and thus frighten ourselves. This assuming and projecting is a manifestation of NOT living in the here and now.

3. We fear because our self-trust is very low, which results in fear of taking necessary action. We deal with this sort of fear by the practice of the personal expanding asset list as explained in the previous posts. So I will not discuss it any further here.

DEALING WITH FEAR:

1. Dealing with lack of information is quite simple. We get the information from a suitable person. It can be a professional, in case of an illness for example, or it can be someone who had the problem I have and solved it, or it can be asking God for the answer and doing some prayer and meditation. Let us see some examples. A). I have a pain in my hip and I think I am going to die of bone cancer. I think a lot of men are like that. This is an assumption I use to scare myself instead of gathering relevant information. So the treatment is to go to an expect doctor, be examined and get the information. And what is more difficult sometimes, to be ready to accept what the expert doctor says. Even if the information is grave it can be dealt with since it is not a fantasy. Usually the fear is gone or diminished in such cases, since we know what can really be done, and whatever comes, we can leave the consequences to H.P.

B). I have a new job and part of it is making phone calls to people I don't know. It turns out that I have a fear of using the phone, so I procrastinate and may loose the job. Trying to get advice from a coworker who never had such a problem is no help, since all he can say is "what is the matter, why are you dramatizing things? It is very easy. Just make the calls, you don't have to do more than that, and the person on the other end will not bite you

Great advice, but of no use to me. I know all that and I am still afraid of making the calls. Asking someone who has the same problem for help is no good either. He can just say that he identifies with me and we can cry on each other's shoulders together. I have to find someone who had this problem and solved it. Then I can try to use his experience in overcoming this kind of fear. Does this remind you of something? How about our compulsive eating? We cannot be helped by someone who is not a compulsive eater and we cannot be helped by someone who is a compulsive eater deep in the problem. We can be helped by a compulsive eater in recovery who works the solution. We can begin our recovery by using his ESH.

C). I get a letter from the IRS and they invite me to see them in two weeks about my previous year's taxes. I get scared imagining that they are after my hide. They will confiscate all my property and put me in jail since I probably did something wrong. This is an example of assumption and projection. Usually I used to worry and do nothing, and come unprepared. Then I get some large fines just to make some of my fears come true. Now, working the program, I begin by praying to H.P. To remove my fears. Then I begin some positive actions. First I ask God for help and I determine not to deal with the whole problem now. Committing to live in the here and now, take responsibility only for my immediate small step, and leave the rest to God.

Remembering that my next step is evolved by my present step, and the present step is the only thing I can deal with, I ask myself what small step can I do now towards solving the problem. Maybe it is just finding and organizing some of the papers I will need, receipts, reports and such. Maybe it will take a few days, so I determine What I can comfortably do today and turn the rest over to God. This way I can do a small step every day. Maybe I can get advice from an accountant, too. But I don't worry, since worrying is a paralyzing defect that gets me nowhere. I just pray to H.P. And do my footwork and you now what, on the day I have to visit the IRS, I come prepared. It even turns out that they owe me some money and I get a nice check for my troubles.

D). Sometimes the answer is to ask myself how I should approach the fear problem. I ask H.P. for help, usually by prayer and I listen to H.P.'s answer by meditation.

This is a good practice for any problem since the answers I get may also tell me if I need to seek advice from another person and which kind of person to approach.

4. Another type of fear is addiction to fear. This is really an adrenaline addiction similar to gambling addiction. Fear makes the body secrete adrenaline and gets me kind of excited. It is a feeling in the gut like there are butterflies flying around there. Usually this kind of excitement ends up by my feeling bad about myself, like the feeling after eating too much.

There is a simple way to eventually get rid of such obsession. Find some other obsession to replace it. Well, I will not go as far as that, but here is a simple method that helps a lot, since it is positive and is an act of self love.

Write a list of all the pleasant/exciting activities that you like. It can be as simple as going to a movie or spending an hour with yourself, or reading a nice book or dancing, or listening to music, or watching the sunset, etc. Choose activities that are not dependent on the participation of others, though they can be activities in which others participate.

Choose a different activity from your list each week and decide to do it. Determine a date place and time and just do it. Don't find last minute excuses to postpone it. After a while you may choose two different activities a week, we don't want to indulge ourselves too much. What happens is that you get excited planning the activity, you are exited doing it and you get excited remembering it. Quite a nice bundle of excitements that replaces the fear excitement, with one big difference: it leaves you feeling good about yourself, since it was an act of self-care and self-love. Now let us deal with some more recovery practices.

POSTPONED FULFILLMENTS PROCESS: This process makes me realize how I neglected my needs and helps me to give them the right priority in my life

1. Write down two or three things you have wanted to do but have not taken the time for.

REMARK: We have a tendency to look for very big things that I missed doing in my life, like being a multimillionaire or a famous movie star. What we are looking for here are simple things like time for myself, hiking, having my own little garden, writing, studying makeup or interior decorating, or taking night courses, or some career courses, etc. Choose some things you keep running up against.

2. How often do you think of them? EXAMPLE: Let us say that I plan to turn one of my weekends into a special vacation, and it never gets done. I think of it quite often but still it never gets done.

3. Attempt to identify which emotions are triggered by your thinking of these activities.

REMARK: It may be enthusiasm, excitement, relaxation, a sense of adventure, etc.

4. Make a list of the projects that currently require your time and energy. Include situations which you spend time on by thinking or worrying about them.

REMARK: This is a good opportunity to see what happens in my life now. I list projects that take up my time and energy including family, job, etc. There are decisions that may take a few minutes to decide but take hours of worrying about them till I decide. So include those too, since when I worry I can't do anything else.

It is interesting to note that worrying draws into my life problems that justify my worry. This is a spiritual principle. When I focus on the negative I draw negative into my life, and when I focus on the positive I draw positive. The story "acceptance is the answer" in the Big Book talks about it. See for example pages 418-419 in the fourth edition.

5. Ask yourself if any of the items that currently require your time and energy are more important than your well being.

REMARK: My answer may be no! But the evidence of my life shows otherwise, since I dealt with these things first and neglected the things I wanted to do.

6. Which of the activities in No. 4 can you comfortably release immediately or phase yourself out of over the next few months?

REMARK: Some things I cannot get out of doing, but maybe there are some things I can reduce, like cleaning the house for the fifth time this week, maybe twice is enough. Or pay someone to do some of the things for me; then I can use the freed time more productively for myself.

7. What can you COMFORTABLY do this week in terms of exploring or pursuing that activity/activities you've always wanted to do?

REMARK: The key word is "comfortably." We don't want to get stressed over it but to enjoy ourselves. Choose one or more of the things you mentioned in 1

8. Reassure yourself that you are worth it; that you deserve to spend your time enjoyably for you.

REMARK: I actively reassure myself that it is ok.

SITUATION ANALYSIS: The purpose of this process is to bring me more in touch with what I do about the important situations in my life.

1. Select a situation (job, relationship, etc.).

2. List the things you want from that situation.

(Examples: Fulfillment, companionship, sensitivity, etc.)

REMARK: Since a lot of times we don't know what exactly we want from a particular situation, we waste a lot of time in the attempt of holding on to it, instead of benefiting from it. Therefore this is an opportunity to find out what I really want from this situation.

3. What problems currently stand in the way of your having the things you want from the situation?

4. Ask yourself what qualities you need in order for this situation to come into your life.

REMARK: Maybe I will need more ability to talk about myself or to promote myself, or more patience or study, etc.

5. What is the first step or steps towards creating the situation you want?

REMARK: Instead of being a victim of the situation, what can I do to direct things towards my benefit?

6. What can you comfortably begin with today?

PROBLEM IDENTIFICATION: A lot of times we know we have a problem, but get stuck there. In this process we unfold the problem so that we can do something about it.

1. Identify a problem or issue. How long has it been in your life?

2. What prevents you from solving this problem?

3. Of the following choices, identify your fears and resistances regarding the solution:

a) The fear of acknowledging the problem. b) The fear of losing something you have. c) The fear of not getting what you want. d) The fear of becoming something you don't want to be. e) The fear of becoming like someone you don't like or respect.

EXAMPLE: A lot of times we live in fear that we will be like our parents, for example, and therefore we run away from every characteristic we have that is similar to theirs. We run away without understanding that we can possibly use this characteristic in a much better and useful way then they did.

4. What effect is the problem having on your life? What things do you have to cope with because of the problem? What resentments do you have because of it? How does it affect your behaviors in ways you do not like?

REMARK: Consider seriously not only the immediate effects but also secondary effects. This gives a wide view into areas this problem creates that generally are not considered.

5. What external factors contribute to the problem? And what did these factors contribute?

REMARK: External factors like other people's opinions, involvement of family members, parents, children, places, health factors, or other subjects that are connected to the problem and have to be considered.

6. Identify the YOU factor in the problem:

On a daily basis:

On a longer term basis:

REMARK: What do I bring into the problem in terms of rationalization, self-justification, outbreaks of anger, resentments, people-pleasing. People-pleasing is a very devastating affair of not being who we really are. Never being right, but always being right for someone else. When we get into it, to some extent our resentments turn into "justified" anger points by which we "get" some of our self-esteem back. We do this by "working and reworking" our resentments in our heads, to balance our people-pleasing. This is a good place to identify these things if they exist in us.

7. What resistances, rationalizations/excuses, arise when the solution to the problem surfaces?

REMARKS: The problem may prey on my mind, and sometimes quite normally insights arise that this or that will solve the problem. And then the resistance begins by saying to myself, it is not that, or it is not possible that this is the right answer. So we write down the excuses, and resistances we use in order to push an arising solution back inside and ignore it.

8. How would you feel if the problem were solved now? Elaborate on this feeling.

REMARK: Your answer may surprise you.

9. What first steps can you COMFORTABLY do today to start resolving the issues listed in this process?

REMARK: The key word is COMFORTABLY, since we always look towards a giant crushing step that we should take and we never take it. We only want to know what we can do this moment, comfortably and harmoniously, from where we are standing now, in order to solve some of the issues.

10. Indicate whether or not you can commit to that first step NOW!!!!

REMARK: Here I begin to move towards the solution. But suppose something came up and I have to wait a few days till I can do it? Then I can begin to do something NOW that will enable me to take the necessary step in a few days.

Example: If I have to go and talk with someone like my boss in a few days, I can today begin to arrange to have free time then, and not arrive that day to work and see that I cannot meet him because of other commitments.

ADDITIONAL ASSIGNMENTS 1. Deal with your existing fears by the processes explained in this post.

a) Getting needed information from suitable persons (professionals, people who had my problem and solved it, etc.). Include inner contemplation, prayer and meditation.

b) Committing to living in the here and now and acting accordingly in the now with simple immediate steps, surrendering the rest to H.P.

c) Doing some fun "I" activities for me on a weekly basis.

2. Begin dealing with your neglected needs by the "Postponed Fulfillment" process.

3. Begin to bring yourself more in touch with what to do about the important situations in your life, by doing the "Situation Analysis" process.

4. Unfold problems you have in your life, so that you can do something about them. Use the "Problem Analysis" process.

5. Share about using these processes and how it influences your feelings and your life.

6. Share How you use the steps in all your affairs

7. The steps alone are not all there is to the recovery program. The traditions are also very important to our recovery Read the TRG guidelines in: www.therecoverygroup.org/support/guidelines.html

Reflect and share with us how you apply the traditions in the fellowship Reflect and share with us how you apply the traditions or your understanding of how one should apply the traditions in all one's affairs.

8. SHARE WITH US WHAT YOU GAINED FROM THIS WORKSHOP AND HOW IT AFFECTED YOU. IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS SHARE THEM TOO. This is an invitation to all WTS members to share, whether you participated actively or not.

I want to thank all of you for being here. I enjoyed your shares immensely and I learned a lot from your shares and Thanks are due to all the trusted servants that keep WTS a functioning living entity. And thanks are due to all the trusted servants in TRG. This is a marvelous place for recovery from compulsive eating.

I thank my H.P. For giving me the inspiration and the ability to write and just let the words flow. If there are any mistakes, wrong interpretations or unclear explanations they are my doing not His. If some of you want to keep In touch after the workshop or ask questions you are welcome.

And last but not least. Those of you who have worked all 12 steps at least once, and are willing to give service as WTS sponsors in the coming quarter which begins on 1 October Please write to me at: 10.shaft@gmail.com



Shlomo






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