Twelfth Step Timidity
Carrying the message has been very hard for me. It was difficult enough to admit to myself and my group that I am a compulsive overeater and powerless over food, and admitting it to my family was even harder. But telling other people? That was impossible.
When others asked how I lost the weight, I muttered something about diet and exercise, all the while knowing it was the first Eleven Steps and God that got me through each day.
I knew this was unfair to OA and all the compulsive overeaters my sharing might have reached, and I knew I needed to practice the complete program for my own recovery.
One day while walking home, my overweight neighbor called me over. “Wow! You have really lost weight,” she said. “You look great. How did you do it?”
In a split second, I prayed, “God, if you want me to do this, you’d better put the words in my mouth.” My heart was pounding.
Then suddenly I was telling her about OA—the meetings, the Steps, my Higher Power—and it surprised me how beautifully it all came out. I offered to help if my neighbor ever decided to try OA, and she was smiling when I left.
When I got home, an even more amazing thing happened: My food obsession was gone. I realized what life can be like if I work the whole program.
Later, I came to see that I had been only a tool. I merely had to be willing to open my mouth, and God filled it with words. And as a thank you, I was given a taste of what freedom from compulsion can be.
- Lifeline, February 1986