Sponsor + Sponsees
Prayer and meditation
Plan of eating
Step 3 guarantee:
- Step 1 brought honesty in your life, step 2 brought hope, now itís time for faith in your life. Donít forget most of us agreed to "go to any lengths" in our first step. Now itís time to show how we can turn hopelessness into success, by doing as recommended.
- When completed step 3, you now have "the key" (read AA step3) to all problems, the key/solution is willingness. Take an old key or find a special key, any jewellery shaped like- key or something you like, put it in a chain and wear it. When I wear my "willingness" around my neck or in my pocket, I always remember that I choose my own life. If I want to fight and ramble with my ego will I can choose that, or I can choose Gods will. That is always much better! Our slogan "fake it till you make it" means doing what God wants you to do, even if you do not know how to do it, or want to do it. Like calling your sponsor before picking up food to ask for help, or to go to that meeting anyway even if your favourite TV show is on at the same time and youíd "rather" be at home and skip the OA meeting.
- You always have a choice. Stop! And think! Then Act!
- When I vision this step I see myself driving a very broken and unsafe car that soon will get kill me if I do turn it in. It has scratches and bulks and itís windows are broken and it comes smoke out of it.. Who wouldnít stop the car and call for help? Only a compulsive overeater, convinced that "I can do it, I can, I can, if I only try harder..". Well that attitude will never make us better or happier. It is time to park that wreck! And get on the bus. The God-Bus is waiting for you, you are welcomed on board. All your friends in recovery are waiting for you on that bus and waiving welcome, come with us, come in, and you look in and God is behind the steering wheel. He welcomes you also. So what do you do? You must enter the bus with your own feet, and you can get off at any stop you like, this is a ride of faith. Any time you think you are better off without God you can go back to your car and try to continue with the wreck, and each time, you will come back very fast to the God-bus and you will be convinced - you have no other choice. My car = my will, has given me nothing but trouble, and God bus = Gods will, is the only solution to stop killing myself. I can not bring my old wreck with me, into the bus! And I can not push God away and drive that bus myself; it means we will soon start crashing in a traffic jam!
We donít fail this program if we take it seriously, see the Big Book, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves". [I. e. no one here, as Iíve read all what youíve written.]
And we never fall back into abuse because we use the tools "wrongly", but by NOT using them, itís like a motorized walking lane in the airport, that you can stand on and be dragged forward. Vision we are walking against the direction, as our disease is pulling us backwards all the time. If we stop walking we fall back and lose it all. So keep walking small steps, in a steady rhythm every day, and you will be saved the next 24 hours from obsession with food and/or eating.
- You must do the "footwork" yourself. This is a spiritual program, based upon action. We use the program, we do not preach it. We use the tools in action, it means YOU pick up the phone and press the numbers to dial your sponsor or program buddy. YOU walk to the meetings and cook coffee and share your experience, strength and hope, YOU pick up your book and read it, YOU write your thoughts and experiences in your diary, YOU choose to follow your plan of eating, and ask for help when you want to fail, YOU learn how to be in charge of your own life, and be responsible for your own recovery. No one can do it for you, but you do never do it alone. WE walk this path along with you! We hold your hand when you need it, we wipe your tears when you need it, and we listen to your stories when you need it, but you must walk the line yourself. And YOU CAN DO IT!
- When completed with a big YES to do Gods will, because ours doesnít work anyway, we will continue with action and more action next week.
- Keep up the good work!
Life Saving Tools from the Step Leader:
Find a meeting or two close to where you live and go there on a regular basis. How to go to meetings? Put one foot in front of the other. Even if you donít think itís "all that", or doesnít give you "anything". Keep going back, try different meetings. When youíve found a group that you feel at home in, start going as often as you can, and volunteer for service. Take a lot of telephone numbers and use them. Give yours also, and invite people to call. One day a newcomer will enter, go talk to him/her. Offer your help, ask for their number, and if they agree to it, call them. Keep your promises. Try OA, Open AA, any open 12 step.
Make a plan to attend as many as you prefer, and go directly if you are in troubled cravings, or have a hard time coping with lifeís challenges in general. Any strong unpleasant feeling is dangerous to our abstinence! You need to ventilate to find balance.
Sponsor + Sponsees
Use your sponsor, be honest, ask, and do what you are told to do. If you think your sponsor is a real pain in the #§%&, you are probably growing up and getting something out of it! Take on sponsees, when anyone asks for help, your are responsible for reach out, when any compulsive eater asks for help. Give what you have been given, to give is the best thing. You can save others lives as yours were saved. Remember: you can not give what you have not got yourself. Take all 12 steps and never give advice, only suggest what you have done and what worked for you. Be humble and remember you have an employer... you are not God.
We need them! Call them, meet them, invite them home, go visit them, make a new network, never be alone with your problems. There is always another compulsive eater suffering out there, invite newcomers and never be "better than anyone else", be humble and loving, and others will be that with you too.
Pick it up! Put your finger on the numbers and push! Say "hello". That is all it takes.. No "right" moments, Iíll wait a little bit, probably not now.. Call! This is a life saving exercise, you need to practice it, because one day this telephone may save your life, and just like CPR you need to practice on regular basis and know how to do it!
We are on our way, speedy steps. Very good! No procrastinating, falling behind into claws of rationalization and justification. When finished with the 12. step, continue with the first step again. Continue with step work as long as you live. You will always learn something new about your self. We never stop to heal or grow. (some people recommend only maintenance 10.-12., I do not. I recommend all steps. How easy isnít it to forget we are powerless?)
Use your diary every day, and every time you feel upset or out of balance. What is bothering you, why, and what can you do about it honestly?
Read a little bit every day. There are so much literature to choose from, try to focus on BB and conference approved literature first and foremost. Private businesses sell tons of literature, but we donítí need it "all", we need first and foremost what we have now, BB and 12 & 12.
Prayer and meditation
If you pray without movement, fold your fingers or bow into the carpet, any way will work. Keep on talking to God. He always listen, even if you think maybe not..
- sit in silence and listen. What ever sign you get is your higher power breaking through. It can be a feeling, a light, a vision, an idea, a sound, a symbol, any thing. If you hear nothing and get no "answers" donít worry. God may have a plan that you will now when you are ready for the answer. Keep having your eyes and ears open for signs and help, and guidance. As you practice this exercise the connection will grow stronger and stronger, and you will know for sure.
Plan of eating
I will send you a list of things to consider.
Itís very important that we are all compulsive overeaters in recovery. None are less, none are more. What ever religion or financial status or friends or houses we have, in these rooms we are ALL the same. The newcomer is always the most important member, treat them like that! Love & Tolerance is our code. We also do not speak about eachother or others, we donít brag, we donít rumour, we donít compare and we do not have heroes. Who am I to judge? For what do I know about others anyway? I have enough work keeping my self in the right direction. Any ego centeredness is dangerous to my disease.
Service is the spiritual principle of giving what weíve been given so freely. By sharing your ESH, cooking coffee, taking the key, putting up or down chairs, chairing, doing accountings, calling newcomers, planning a conference, ordering literature, any help you give will benefit more than can imagine. Who though TRG could and would save thousands of lives all over the world when it was first made? Giving the gift of service is beyong understanding important. By taking on service you also sign up a life insurance policy for your self also. That day you HAD to do the service when you absolutely didnít want to, may be the day where you could not have resisted going back to food on selfwill any longer, because you had been lazy with your program work?
I have experienced this myself many times, and I think some of my sponsees actually have saved my life. Only six months ago I could not remember why I could not eat sugar, I honestly though life was so terrible at the time, that sugar would not have made it any work. I might as well just do it.. Then my phone rang.. "I need your help!!" We helped eachother and boy did I remember fast what it was like to be in the foodÖ God works in many ways, donít expect how the wrapping will look, you might not see all the gifts what are wrapped in different papers.
90 TOOLS FOR SOBRIETY (these are written to AA members, but please take what you can use and toss the rest) they have all worked for me.
1 ) Stay away from that first drink, taking the 1ststep daily.
2 ) Attend AA regularly and get involved.
3 ) Progress is made ONE DAY AT A TIME.
4 ) Use the 24 Hour plan.
5 ) Remember, your disease is incurable, progressive and fatal.
6 ) Do first things first.
7 ) Don't become too tired.
8 ) Eat at regular hours.
9 ) Use the telephone. (not just after the fact but during too.).
10) Be active - don't just sit around. Idle time will kill you.
11) Use the Serenity Prayer.
12) Change old routines and patterns.
13) Don't become too hungry.
14) Avoid loneliness.
15) Practice control of your anger.
16) Air your resentments.
17) Be willing to help whenever needed.
18) Be good to yourself, you deserve it.
19) Easy does it.
20) Get out of the "IF ONLY" trap.
21) Remember HOW IT WAS. Your last drunk, the feelings, etc.
22) Be aware of your emotions.
23) Help another in his/her recovery, extend your hand, listen.
24) Try to turn your life and your will over to your High Power.
25) Avoid all mood-altering drugs, read labels on all medicines.
26) Turn loose of old ideas.
27) Avoid drinking situations/occasions.
28) Replace old drinking buddies with new AA buddies.
29) Read the Big Book.
30) Try not to be dependent on another (sick relationships).
31) Be grateful and when not make a GRATITUDE list.
32) Get off the "Pity Pot"...the only thing you'll get is a ring around your bottom if you don't.
33) See knowledgeable help when troubled and or otherwise.
34) Face it! You are powerless over alcohol, people, places and things.
35) Try the 12 and 12, not just 1 and 12 or 1, 12 and 13! (step 13- getting involved in a romantic relationship with someone in the program, i.e. a newcomer. Not good!)
36) Let go and Let God.
37) Use the God bag and the answers: yes, no or wait I have something better in store for you. Don't forget to say thanks.
38) Find courage to change through the example of others who have.
39) Don't try to test your will power - give an alcoholic one shovel and one pail and in one hour he/she will need 100 wheel barrels.
40) Live TODAY, not YESTERDAY, not TOMORROW - projection is planning the results before anything even happens.
41) Avoid emotional involvements the first year - you end up putting the other person first and lose sight of "your" program.
42) Remember alcohol is - cunning, baffling and powerful.
43) Rejoice in the manageability of your new life.
44) Be humble--Humility is not in thinking of your self more, but in thinking more of yourself less often. Watch your ego.
45) Share your experience, strength and hope.
46) Cherish your recovery.
47) Dump your garbage regularly - GIGO = Garbage In Garbage Out.
48) Get plenty of "restful" sleep.
49) Stay sober for you - not someone else - otherwise it won't work.
50) Practice rigorous honesty with yourself and others.
51) Progress is made ONE DAY AT A TIME, not 10 years in one day!
55) Make no major decisions the first year.
56) Get a sponsor and use him/her. (not just selectively share).
57) Know that no matter what your problems, someone's had them before. Don't be afraid to share, as a problem shared is one 1/2 solved.
58) Strive for progress not perfection.
59) When in doubt ask questions. The only stupid question is the one not asked. You weren't afraid to speak before, so why start now.
60) Use prayer and meditation ... not just pillow talk, get on those knees. Put your shoes under the bed just in case someone's looking.
61) Maintain a balance: spiritual, physical, emotional and mental.
62) Don't use other substances as a maintenance program.
63) Learn to take spot check inventories.
64) Watch out for the RED FLAGS ... things that give excuses for poor behavior and inevitable relapse.
65) Know that its okay to be human ... just don't drink over it.
66) Be kind to yourself; it's about time, don't you think.
67) Don't take yourself so seriously- take the disease seriously!
68) Know that whatever it is that's causing pain - it shall pass.
69) Stay as away from the DRY DRUNK SYNDROME as humanly as possible.
70) Don't give away more than you can afford too, your sobriety comes first and must be the number 1 priority. Protect it at all costs.
71) Take down those bricks from the wall around you; you'll be able to see the daylight better. Let people know who you are.
72) Get a home group and attend it regularly.
73) Know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train, but actually a ray of hope. Drop the negativity.
74) Know that you are not alone, that's why the "We" is in the steps.
75) Be willing to go to any lengths to stay and be sober.
76) Know that no matter how bleak and dark your past may be, your future is clean, bright and clear if you don't drink today.
77) Stay out of your own way.
78) Don't be in a hurry--remember "TIME = Things I Must Earn".
79) Watch the EGO. "EGO = Ease God Out".
80) Protect your sobriety at all costs. Keep the light on you.
81) Learn to listen, not just hear. Be open-minded and nonjudgmental.
82) Know that if your insides match your outsides, everyone looks good.
83) If the rest of the world looks bad, check yourself out first.
84) Gratitude is in the attitude.
85) When all else fails ... punt! Up the number of meetings!!!
86) Remember FEAR = FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL!
87) Remember FINE = Fouled up, Insecure/insane, Neurotic and Emotionally Imbalanced...watch the FINE.
88) Handle what you can and leave the rest, don't overtax yourself. You can only accomplish so much in a given 24 hours.
89) Honesty and consistency are key factors in recovery.
90) Let the little kid in you out - learn how to laugh from the gut.
*** Note: this list is not necessarily in order. They are but suggestions and items to put in your little TOOL BAG.
Just a suggestion how to make a balanced plan of eating. These are no rules or no rights. Just what has worked for me and my sponsees. Take what you like and toss the rest J.
Do I cover my basic needs of nutrition?
Do I have any health conditions, illnesses or under/overweight that needs medical attention?
(Diabetes, allergy, bulimia, anorexia, obsessed with too healthy food or calorie counting, depression or mental illnesses)
Do I allow myself realistic amounts of food, in balance with my energy needs/activity level? (Work, training, life situation)
Do I use realistic amount of time and money on this plan of eating? (shopping, preparing, eating and costs)
Do I consider the weather changes, time of year and other outside matters of life?
Do I honestly look at eating patterns? (where and how do I eat?) - see dignity of choice.
Do I watch tv, read books, walk, is standing up, laying down, talking, isolation, hiding, avoiding social gatherings around food - when I have my meals? Nothing is wrong or right, but am I aware of my patterns?
Do I look honestly at both fluids and other food, and do I consider my "snack" (all what I drink, between meals, fruits, chewing gum, sugarfree candy etc)
Am I happy for the food I get, and does it taste good to me?
Do I include my tradition and style (or religion), if this is important to me?
Do I allow myself any treats?
What about parties and birthdays?
Is my plan of eating simple and flexible?
What do I do when I travel?
Does my food have various ingredients, or do I eat the same things over and over?
Do I participate in life with this plan of eating, or do I only live my life in the "program"?
How do I let myself react to "cravings"? How do I manage H.A.L.T.? Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired?
Am I caring, compassionate and loving to myself?
Do I ask God for guidance?
Do I listen?
Do I honestly want to admit my doubts, resentments and self-will?
Do I listen to other abstinent compulsive overeaters experiences?
Am I really willing to do whatever it takes to recover from compulsive overeating and abuse of food?
"Trigger foods and trigger situations"
Some known "triggers" can be sugar, salt, fat and/or wheat, and "amount" (too much or too little). By trying and being honest with yourself, God and your sponsor, time will show what best suits your plan of eating.
Not all of us have the same "triggers", but we often recognize them as real triggers, when we experience an insanely urge for continuing, and it can give us fatal consequences in our recovery from compulsive over/undereating. Please remember, to re-evaluate your plan of eating from time to time, nothing is "wrong", we seek growth and no perfection. There is no perfect abstinence, and no perfect plan of eating. Remember that food do give us a chemical high when abused, and these processes give us the feelings we miss or need in our lives. Thus can something be "right" and "wrong" at the same time. Success is about willingness to try something new that has worked for so many thousands of people before us, and have faith in God (your loving higher power) to know what is right for you - because we do not know ourselves.
Sugar: white and brown, fake sugar in all forms, sugar from fruits, milk, honey and other natural plants
Salt: table salt, candy, chips, salty food, olives or spices
Fat/butter/grease: butter, oils, sauces, fried food, cheeses, some meat with different fats like sausages/hot dogs etc
Fast carbohydrates: light bread, baguette, white bread, bakery, pasta, white rice, potatoes (very individual)
The little extras: The often hard to identify, the little extra, like olives or extra toppings
Processes: If our plan is out of control, we just let it continue, uncritical, hot food, spicy food, time at the table, time between meals (I am so hungry that I "deserve" a little extra thoughts), I am so clever that I "deserve" thoughts, I am so bad that "I do not deserve" thoughts. Food is not about deserving. We are human beings that need nutrition and we need a plan to make it balanced. No award or punishment with our food.
Places: Shows ("everybody" buy this food or candy here), travelling ("everybody" buy taxfree og chocolate), Christmas with family ("everybody" eat special season food or candy), the bus stop by my work (I have eaten a hot dog in 7elven "a thousand times before"), place that remind you of earlier abuse and takes away our serenity, and starts old addictive thoughs (here "everybody" eats big meal sizes, this restaurant is very well known) or itís "normal" to diet before bikini season.
Stop and think! Before you ACT! Donít fool yourself.
Rationalizing that "every one" can, now Iím probably well again, honestly Iím not that sick, is our own self will that is self-pity, stubborn and the denial is back on - unwilling to do what it takes, to act on our recovery. It often starts off with two voices in our heads having a conversations "yes, itís ok, just do it, fast, no one needs to know", while the other voice says "no, I am not so sure if that is so smart..." - Call you sponsor or someone else in the program at once!!!
When I crave, am I HALT? Hungry, angry, lonely or tired? If I make sure to fill those emotional, physical or spiritual needs first, often my craving goes away.
Some daily affirmations
Affirmations are small mantras (repeated sayings) we tell ourselves, to start believing in something we do not acknowledge as truths in our bodies or minds today. They will heal us by their magic repeated and totally harmless input, and they support and soften our inner pain and secrets.
On a daily basis say: "I am God's precious child".
When problems with food or abstinence:
"I do not have to overeat right now. I manage to wait just a little bit"
"I am willing to abstain from compulsive overeating just for today. Tomorrow, I do not know anything about".
"I am safe. A feeling of hunger is not always hunger. I will not die."
"My higher power takes care of me".
"I will have the food I need".
"I am perfect, just as I am".
"I have stopped "dealing". I do what I have committed to do, and I will not change it without talking to my sponsor or someone else in the program".
"Craving is only missing. What do I really miss in my life right now?"
"I am weak, sometimes I get angry and scared, that is why I ask for help. When I ask for help, I show my strength".
"With the help from my higher power I manage, what I can not do alone".
The Twelve Steps
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