I am searching for a new way of sharing the experience, strength and hope of our group. Initially, this group was created to be a workshop with weekly writing assignments. However, over time, we have evolved and become less structured. Our discussions are so rich and deep!
I thought I would share some of what we discussed during our recent meeting on the AA Big Book story, Window of Opportunity. I am really enjoying how the stories personalized how to work the program and recover from addiction. There were certain sections of the story that really resonated with the group.
As a reminder, our group takes place on Sunday mornings at 5:30 AM EST.
The telephone conference numbers for our group are:
Telephone conference number: (712) 775-7031 Access Code: 397-681-282
Playback recording number is: (712) 775-7029 Access Code: 397-681-282#
The playback recording number for this meeting was #53. Here is the link
“… one of the primary differences between alcoholics and nonalcoholics is that nonalcoholics change their behavior to meet their goals and alcoholics change their goals to meet their behavior.”
As food addicts, we really see this when, in the event that we relapse, we tell ourselves: “Why do I need this program? Why do I need to follow a food plan? Why don’t I just live life, on my own, and be happy?”
It sometimes requires a conscious effort to remember how much our lives have improved through program and by working the steps. True joy and happiness comes from striving to live a God-centered life, in constant conscious contact with the God of our understanding.
One of the greatest challenges for addicts is overcoming our character defect of willfulness and our desire for instant gratification. As addicts, “we want what we want how we want it.”
When we work a program of recovery, we surrender our natural desire for instant gratification for something that is deeper, more long-lasting and pure. This process of growth and change is not the quick fix of instant gratification. Connecting to our inner essence is a slow and quiet process of unfolding and gently revealing who we really are.
“When I had finished talking, he told me something simple: “You don’t have to drink over it.” What an idea! I had thought that situations made me drink. If I was angry, I drank. If I was happy, I drank. Bored or excited, elated or depressed, I drank. Here was a man telling me that, independent of my life situation, I did not have to drink. If I stuck with A.A., I could stay sober under any and all conditions. He gave me hope, and in many ways, he symbolized the door through which I finally walked into Alcoholics Anonymous.”
This quote tells me that independent of my life situations, I have a choice whether I pick up the food or not. Anyway, turning to the food will not change my situation. It will really only make me fat, and I am still going to be stuck with my original problem.
This quote also tells me that I do not need to spend the time resisting what it is, because, IT IS WHAT IT IS. I am not in control over what happens to me. But, I am in control over how I respond to what happens to me. Therefore, I am always responsible and accountable for what I do and what I say.
“She spoke about feelings, of insecurity replaced by confidence, fear replaced by faith, resentment replaced by love, and despair replaced by joy. I knew those feelings. I had insecurity, fear, resentment, and despair. I could not believe it. Here was a person who was happy. It seemed like a long time since I had seen one of those.”
This quote shows how people apply the steps and the principles of the program into their lives in order to recover. It is also a great a description of how we seek to transform our self-centered defects of character into God-centered assets. Here too, we see an indirect reference to the 4 Absolutes as well.
“After the meeting, people welcomed me with open arms and gave me their telephone numbers. The discussion meeting was followed by a speaker meeting, where I had my first awakening in A.A. The speaker said, “If you’re an apple, you can be the best apple you can be, but you can never be an orange.” I was an apple all right, and for the first time I understood that I had spent my life trying to be an orange. I looked around at a room filled with apples and, if I was understanding the speaker, most of them were no longer trying to be oranges.”
During our meeting, we discussed the growth and transformation that occurs from self-acceptance.
Shoshana shared with the group a beautiful explanation, which I paraphrased of the above quote.
“Before program, I turned to food to cope with life. I had so many unrealistic expectations of others and also of myself and how I should be.
I always thought that in order for me to be a successful, worthwhile and competent person, I had to be an orange.
Ironically, it only became possible to really change and transform my relationships with myself, other people and ultimately with God when I could accept that that God made me perfect exactly the way I am. God made me a perfectly imperfect apple. Not only am I an apple — I am not supposed to be an orange. And, I can be an apple and be happy as an apple.”
I always say, “If God wanted me to be different, then I would be different.” God does want me to rise above my instincts and to freely choose to act as He would have me be.
Program teaches me that I need to willingly surrender my ego to the God of my understanding. Before I do or say anything, I need to check-in and ask myself: “is this coming from a God-centered place or a self-centered place? How would God have me? What would God have me do?”
When I first did the step work through the BBA it dawned me that everything boils down to trust and faith in God. I always thought it was part of the third step but it’s called the second step proposition “either God is everything or God is nothing what is my choice to be?”
That was an incredibly powerful question for me to consider and write on.
If God is everything, then everything is ultimately good, under all circumstances. I just do not necessarily have the clarity of vision to see just how good everything truly is. I am limited by what I like or dislike.
If God is nothing, then my situation is hopeless. I am stuck. I have already proven to myself that on my own, I cannot change. When I live in the world according to Shira, I am chronically dissatisfied and a size 20. I can have no inner peace. My judgements and desires block me off from feeling connected to God.
Judy shared about the line in the story where the man who wrote that he was so determined to decide for himself how he was going to work this program.
Judy said, “Every day I need to be grounded in the fact that not only am I powerless over the food. I am powerless over everything and self-reliance always fails me.”
The elimination of our compulsive overeating is just the beginning. As we have discussed many times, our food is but a symptom. Working the steps in an ongoing moment to moment way of being. Every moment, no matter what we are doing, is an opportunity to connect to God and do His will.
Judy also shared, “The spiritual malady is what separates me from God. If I want to re-create my life, I must be grounded in a Power greater than myself on a daily, moment by moment basis. If not, I fall prey to self-reliance and self will run riot.”
Please let me know if it is helpful to post some of the notes from our discussions.
Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow morning!
In love and service,