Leader's Introduction

Good Morning Everyone!
My name is Cindy. I am a compulsive overeater.

I am
honored to have been asked to lead this Step Study for Work the Steps. Like all of us, Iím no expert in any of this, and so all I can and will do is share my experience, and I hope that youíll find something for yourself in that, and in the experience of others. I know I will find something in your shares.

My disease
manifests itself with compulsive eating binges and weight gain, and it is from this perspective that I can write. I know there are many other ways our compulsive eating can make us sick: anorexia, bulimia, and so on. Please accept my apologies that I canít write from that experience, but if your disease comes to you in these forms, please share that as we go through the steps.

I will
mostly use the 4th edition Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (BB)* as well as the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (AA 12&12)** and the OA 12&12.*** The BB is the source document on which the Overeaters Anonymous program is based. Here is the very first paragraph of the book -- the bold print for emphasis is mine:

of Alcoholics Anonymous, are more than one hundred men and women who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics
how we have recovered
is the main purpose of this book ... We think this account of our experiences will help everyone to better understand the alcoholic. Many do not comprehend that the alcoholic is a very sick person. And besides, we are sure that our way of living has its advantages for all.

We can just change the words here -- reread this, substituting the words compulsive overeater for alcoholic. This is a message of hope and promise. It promises
us recovery, and a set of directions to get there. That's what the steps are-- a set of directions for recovery. I invite you to study them along with me.

We'll start the actual step study tomorrow, January 2nd, on Monday, and do one step a week. I know many of you have previously experienced step work as long and drawn out, but I'd encourage you to stay on this weekly time table, even though it will be intense work for some. From Page 24 of the BB (again, read it by substituting the words -- compulsive overeaters for alcoholics, compulsive eating for drink) :

fact is that most alcoholics, for reason yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in
drink. Our so-called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.

This tells us our disease does not give have the luxury of time.
One step a week is probably about the most time we can afford, so I encourage you to manage that pace.

What we can do right now is introduce ourselves a bit. That will help us as we begin-- please respond by sharing your story if you wish:

I am an older woman-- in my 60s -- and I sought recovery from overeaters anonymous, and then this group, only a few years ago when I found myself too unhealthy -- from the weight! -- to carry my infant grandson up and down stairs. Even though I had known for a long time that I would die from compulsive eating, it was this sweet baby who meant enough for me to find a way to recovery. I wanted to know him at least for a few years before I died. I certainly had other issues -- my marriage was circling the drain and I could count my friends on one finger -- but it was my little grandson who made me turn the corner. For some there's a distinct event like this one was for me; for others it is not so clear. Please try to share what brought you to this program.

I am a scientist by training and profession and I thought science had all the answers. It doesn't. Science hasn't found a way to cure me, for sure. Some day perhaps, but not yet. I went to every kind of doctor, nutritionist, health professional, and got no answers. The review of the literature showed me that the program of AA could work. Many programs for addiction, including overeaters anonymous, are based on this source document. It is what we have and it will work for us.

There are many promises realized by following the steps in the BB. Here's one we are told early, on page xxix (again, change the words as you read):

Once a psychic change
has occurred, the very same person who seemed doomed, who had so many problems he despaired of ever solving them, suddenly
finds himself easily able to control her desire for alcohol
, the only effort necessary being that required to follow a few simple rules.

One of the things that is NOT mentioned in the BB, however, is sponsorship. Yet all of these programs advise it. You will get an email soon that gives you a sponsor list, with brief biographies. Pick someone that sounds like they have what you want, and contact them as soon as you can. It will make all the difference in the world to your recovery. I promise that!

only requirement to be part of this study is a desire to stop eating compulsively. The recovery group has some guidelines to help us share. You can find them here.

look forward to the next 12 weeks. It will be intensive and time consuming, but well worth it for the realization of the promises of the program. We can and do get well.

You can buy the BB on-line. One source is the Alcholics Anonymous Web site. It has low cost Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and print versions. You can also read or listen to web based versions on the same web site at no cost.

** You can also buy the AA 12&12 from the same source or read it on line here.

***You can purchase the OA 12 and 12 here. If anyone knows of a free source for this, please share that!



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