Step 1, Part 1: “…we were powerless…”

By virtue of the fact that you are “doing” Step 1, I think it is first important to give credit where credit is due: Congratulations!  You have obviously made three very important decisions: to be open-minded about the 12-Step process, to at least try this new approach, and to change from a mindset of perfectionism to a mindset of progress!  This is a BIG DEAL!  Take a moment to pat yourself on the back and recognize a job well-done!

The concept behind this first step is definitely not difficult to grasp.  When we decide to do the steps, it is usually only out of a feeling of desperation.  Most “newbies” already feel powerless over their addictions when they walk through the doors, otherwise they wouldn’t be there.  The hard part is the action associated with this step.  That action in AA is to give-up drinking.  In OA, that action is creating and sticking-to a food plan.  Either way, the way we express our willingness to continue with the rest of the steps is by abstaining from our drug of choice.  This is why finding a “food sponsor” quickly is so important.  Food sponsors are an invaluable resource at this time of fighting-off cravings, experimenting with portion sizes and binge foods, and being accountable for our new commitment to a healthier relationship with food.  This is also the perfect time to start developing a support system.  Most people in program, whether they are your sponsor or not, are more than happy to take calls and emails if you are having trouble sticking to your plan between meetings.  Most OA meetings pass around contact lists – if a person’s information is there, you are free to take it and add that person to your support network.

What about a Higher Power?  Well, at this point, most people in program will tell you to “fake it ’til you make it.”  You do this by simply getting on your knees in the morning and asking the God of your understanding for the ability to stick to your new guidelines, and then getting on your knees again at night and thanking Him for the help He gave you.  Whether or not you even have a Higher Power in mind when you do this has no effect on the process.  The point is to just take this suggestion and “pretend” that you believe.  I know, it sounds crazy, but it works.  When I came into program I didn’t believe in any type of God, but several people said, “Do you believe that I believe it works for me?  Then just try it.  It will work for you, too.”

There are those in program who will argue that it is doing the steps that leads you to the ability to give-up your drug of choice.  They would probably site the fact that The Promises of the program are located half-way through Step 9, meaning that you would have to have completed at least steps 1-8 before you see any real recovery.  However, myself and many others don’t hold to this view. One of the most important and rewarding things you will ever do for yourself is going to be writing-out your 4th step.  Nothing in my life has been as important to me as this.  Had I tried to do this life-changing step while bingeing, I feel certain that the results would not have been nearly as profound.  I think you are doing a huge disservice to yourself by NOT getting “clean” at the outset.  Even if your first version of abstinence is merely a list of foods you are giving-up because they cause you to binge, or just the elimination of a few triggers (such as eating in the middle of the night, eating in the car, and eating in-secret), at least it is a beginning – – and a beginning is all that is needed.  The point is to get some feeling of control and confidence under your belt.  After that, you will see the true “magic” of the program in action: the longer you go to meetings and the closer you get to your Higher Power, the more you will want the type of recovery you see in those who are working a more sophisticated program, which in turn will motivate you to work the program harder.  It will come naturally – you won’t even have to force it, as long as you keep coming and keep trying.

So take some time to make some food guidelines for yourself (or ask a fellow member with some good recovery to help you create a food plan), tell someone what you want to do, and start doing it.

P.S. – – I have personally found that doing the steps with a “step sponsor” was much more productive than doing them either alone or with a food sponsor.  If you can get involved with a Big Book Step Study meeting and find a sponsor there to guide you through the steps INDEPENDENT from the work you are doing with your food sponsor, I highly recommend doing so.


March 10, 2012 This post was written by Categories: On The 12 Steps Tagged with:
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