Second Step Prayer:
I know in my heart that only You can restore me to sanity. I humbly ask that You remove all twisted thought and addictive behavior from me this day. Heal my spirit and restore in me a clear mind.
Principle of Step Two:
In Step Two, we learned the principle of hope as we came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. This same hope will now need to underlie all our actions. Even in our loneliest hours, we can remind ourselves of the great truth that we are not alone; even in our weakest moments we will find the strength we need if we believe it is available to us and ask for it.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeater's Anonymous: Page 104
My Step Two:
Hi, I am Cindi, a compulsive overeater.
As with Step One, Step Two is a two-parter. “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves” is the first part. When I came to the Twelve Step program in 2002, God and I were not on speaking terms. I had grown up in a religious household – attended Sunday School and church every single Sunday, went through a two-year course in catechism to formally join the church when I was thirteen and take communion. Somewhere in my late twenties, I stopped going to church. I was married and far too busy to spend my early morning Sundays attending services. When I turned forty, I decided to stop praying altogether. Why?
I had asked God repeatedly to help me with my weight. What I really wanted was God to make me thin and allow me to eat whatever I wanted to eat in whatever amounts I wanted. Oh, and I wanted it done overnight. Right now, with no action taken by me. “Just make me thin, God.” And when that did not happen, again and again, I gave up. On God. I simply stopped praying because I no longer believed.
So, I come to the Twelve Step program and the first thing that my sponsor asked of me was to pray for abstinence before each meal and in between each meal and right before bedtime. Yea, right, like that is going to make any difference! I could not figure out what God had to do with my compulsive overeating. But, hey, I was desperate at the time, so I went ahead and prayed just to humor the sponsor. And it worked! Well, at least, it worked for three weeks. Then I binged again and again and again.
So, what does God aka a Higher Power have to do with addiction. EVERYTHING! If you have the Alcoholics Anonymous book, please read the Appendices II, page 567 on “Spiritual Experience.” The earlier chapter, “We Agnostics” says that the answer to addiction is spiritual. Addiction is so powerful that I, myself, have no ability to conquer it on my own. I must have something else to help me overcome the obsession with food.
“Came to believe” was put there for a very good reason. Because it took me a long time to come to believe that God would help me overcome my addiction. I kept working the steps whether I believed or not. I kept going to meetings and sharing whether I believed or not. I just kept working the program no matter what. Then what happened?
On June 1, 2004, I woke up that morning feeling different. I had my plan of eating for the day and proceeded to follow it without fail. Where were my obsessive food thoughts? They were GONE! In their place was a total acceptance of what is. “I am an addict. If I want to be abstinent and if I want to have good recovery, I cannot compulsively overeat.” The moment, the exact moment that I became willing to do whatever it took to have good recovery was the moment God stepped in and relieved me of my thirty-five-year obsession with food. I was finally free!
Although I certainly attribute my recovery to God, I must admit that my God is not a religious god. Over the years of recovery, I had to find a god that worked for me. What I came up with was a god that is a spiritual strength that resides deep within me and is always there for me 24/7. This spiritual strength is a loving, caring, and kind God that offers me unconditional acceptance no matter what.
"The symptom is physical. The cause is emotional. The solution is spiritual.”
First came my emotional healing, then my spiritual healing and lastly came my physical recovery. That is how it happened to me. And I will forever be grateful that I had finally gotten my miracle!
What about the second part of Step Two? “Could restore us to sanity.” Me, insane? Well, sometimes I do wonder. I suffer from depression at times. I have had two major depression periods each lasting two years plus lots of periodic depression episodes that last a few weeks or months. At one time, I suffered from severe anxiety and panic attacks with hives covering 90% of my body 90% of the time. I went into mental health therapy for a two-year period and came out probably as healthy as I ever was emotionally. I do return to therapy off and on whenever life gets to be a little much for me, but those sessions lasts maybe eight to ten weeks then I start to feel better and stop.
But how does this relate to my recovery program? Am I truly insane? Program defines insanity as doing the same things over and over again then expecting different results. Isn’t that what I did when I began every single diet? I always expected THIS diet to take off the weight and KEEP it off. Did it? NO! Of course, that did not stop me from dieting from the age of eighteen until the age of thirty-three when I was unable to diet anymore.
Since being in recovery, I no longer have anxiety or panic attacks and I have not had one single hive on my body as well. I no longer have to take medications for depression and anxiety as well. Why? Because the Twelve Step program really does work for me. I have the steps and the tools to help me through whatever is going on with me at this time. Recovery has made me emotionally stable and spiritually active.
"God could and would if he were sought." I set aside my own will and allowed God to step in and do for me what I could not do for myself. This program has given me my life back. I will forever be grateful.
Suggestions on how to develop a closer relationship with a god of your understanding:
I can only share with you how my own relationship with God came about. As I related in my Step Two, I did begin to pray before each meal and in between whether I believed or not. Yes, I felt silly but if the Twelve Step program said it would work, then I was willing to do so. I developed prayer in the morning and in the evening before bedtime. But what really helped me a great deal was a “God journal.” I went to a program workshop and was given a journal to develop the relationship. Each day, I would write in my journal anything that was on my mind. I started the daily journal with “Dear God” and ended it with Cindi. After about a year, I caught myself signing off each day, “Love, Cindi.” As with any relationship, I must put the time, effort and energy into it or the relationship will die. After I had been abstinent six months, I returned to the church of my childhood. I still had trouble with a religious God but the service itself, the hymn singing, and the sense of community “spiritually nourished my soul.” Still does.
Read the chapter on Step Two in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous.
You may also want to read in the Alcoholics Anonymous book, the chapters: Bill’s Story, We Agnostics and Spiritual Experience.
1. Do you have a god of your understanding? If so, please define your Higher Power. How does the relationship with your HP work?
2. If you do not have a god of your understanding, what do you want and/or need from a Higher Power? Define what your Higher Power would be.
3. What can you do to develop a personal relationship with a/your Higher Power?
4. The solution to addiction is spiritual as defined by the Alcoholics Anonymous book. Are you willing to do whatever you need to do to find a Higher Power that works for you? Is your mind open enough to being taught? What is the difference, in your mind, between spirituality and religion? What is holding you back from developing your spirituality?
5. Share with us how the phrase, “could restore us to sanity,” relates to you and your food addiction? Behaviors? Family/social life? Work?
Send your shares to this email address: WTS@LISTS.THERECOVERYGROUP.ORG
If you have any questions, please email me at: CindiLou62@hotmail.com. Put WTS in the subject line. Thanks!
Love in recovery,
The Twelve Steps