Step 12 – Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
What does Step 12 mean to me? It has three parts. The first part is claiming that I have had a spiritual awakening. Can I indeed make that claim? Well, I’m not the same person I was when I walked into my first OA meeting over 25 years ago; improved, I like to think. More sober, insightful, mature. Kinder, I hope. Gentler with myself as well as others. I no longer tolerate hateful self-talk. I recoil from sugar as from a hot flame. Some people might call this a miracle. As for me, I don’t claim to be an expert on miracles, but let’s just say I am pleased, & plan to keep coming back.
The second part of the first part of this step is ascribing my improvements to the Steps. The Steps certainly gave me a systematic method to go about finding a more meaningful life. So yes, I will credit the Steps—not solely, as I employ other methods of personal growth work and self-care. The Steps help me stick to my daily action plan. The Steps remind me that I am not alone, that this program is not meant to be worked alone, and that there is a source of infinite wisdom and succor that some call God, & I personally have no name for, as I do not see this source as an entity.
The next part of Step 12 is about carrying the message. That could mean a spontaneous one-on-one conversation, or it could mean a year-long project of planning a convention. As many of you know, I was chairperson of the planning committee for the convention that our intergroup sponsored in Austin in Sept. of 2016. Many exclaimed, “What an order!” To me, it felt like a longer version of my daily battle to stay in relationship with people who trigger my character defects. The organizing part was easy. Details are my forte. Working with others who think like me is a pleasure. Every planning meeting was a challenge. I had my agenda, others had theirs. I faced it one day at a time, one planning meeting at a time, and eventually one convention at a time. Am I glad I took it on? Yes. Would I do it again? Not for a while.
The OA 12&12 says we don’t simply carry the message; we are the message. The instructions about how to be a positive example of someone working the OA program are simple but not easy. The last part of this step tells me that I am to practice the principles in all my affairs. I must be present, awake and alert because opportunities to choose the principles (or not) present themselves many times daily, from getting up early, to walking the dogs, to brushing my teeth at night as an important rigor of self-care. A set of rotten teeth can kill a person, and that person would no longer be around to carry the message! (As you can see, my approach to my program is more practical than mystical.)
Originally appeared in the Heart of Texas OA Newsletter, December 2016.