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                                              The Use of the 12-Step Programs, Recovery Groups, and Recovery Resources


The 12-step programs provide a suggested structure and support for healing our lives of outmoded and self-destructive patterns.

They incorporate a belief in God or Higher Power—of your understanding. Rigorously applying the 12 Step process brings about a deep healing of a person's relationship with themselves and other people.

A person also learns the invaluable skill of self-evaluation (introspection), self-honesty, problem solving, and solution discovery. I have personally witnessed the incredible transformative power of the 12-step programs. 

They can be a wonderful, life-long support group for the chronic challenge of being overweight and other addictions.


A Prescription for Well-being



Just as we get rid our bodies of physical wastes and toxins—so too—rid yourself of emotional wastes by finishing unfinished business—by not going to bed when consumed by negative emotions (see step 11 description below).

A key skill is learning how to take time to settle disagreements and make any needed amends. Following this process each day produces mental, emotional and physical well-being.

The 12-step groups help a person learn how to do this through the use of program tools. In Overeaters Anonymous the tools are: the fellowship (going to meetings), following a healthy eating plan and not compulsively overeating,

literature, writing, using the telephone to contact members, contacting a sponsor (a person who knows the program and helps you apply it), anonymity, and providing service and support to other members.

The 12-step (or other recovery programs) are like the “hub” of a wheel of change and the “spokes” are the additional information, suggestions, and self-management skills that are mentioned in all of the other sections of this Web site.


Both are needed to have our lives roll-on with health, balance, and self-respect. 12-Step programs can promote wisdom and growth when practiced in an authentic, conscious manner. When used as dogma they can become simplistic,

rigid, and interfere with true healing. You will notice that I have included MANY different kinds of resources to support your healing journey.

I have found that NO ONE approach, book, resource, or process provides the COMPLETE answer to personal transformation. So, take what you like (what works for you) and leave the rest (what doesn't work for you).


Kevin Griffin has the book "One Breath at a Time--Buddhism and the 12 steps." I liked his book and it explores the similar issues that the 12 steps of AA explores, but expanding and discussing them in the framework of the 8-fold path.

He has no centers or on-going groups that use his principles. He has workshops and does various retreats.
Here is his link:

The REFUGE RECOVERY.org is an excellent book. I really like it. Their path feels "more defined" and offers many tools and a "path to recovery" that is based on Buddhist principles and is based on understanding, intention,

communication'community, action/engagement, livelihood/service, efforts/energy, mindfulness/meditations, and concentration/meditations.

It shares specific timeline suggestions for beginning recovery, and how to progress with skillful practices to enhance personal transformation.
He also shares personal stories from a variety of people who have used the REFUGE RECOVERY PROCESS.

What is unique with his approach, is that he as a series of meetings that are set up around the country, a description of how to lead a meeting, and even recovery centers in various parts of the country.

Here is a refuge recovery group at Zen Community of Oregon
https://www.zendust.org/event/refuge-recovery-meeting I have gone to several meetings and a day-long retreat where they expanded the meditations.

Here is the Refuge Recovery website:
http://www.refugerecoverycenters.com/philosophy/ AND http://www.refugerecovery.org/
recovery centers:

It is easy to think that the Buddhist approach should be the complete answer, but after I have worked with 20-60 people every week at Kaiser Permanente, and seen many thousands of people, I know that "there is always a simple answer, to a complex problem--and it is wrong or incomplete."

The excellent approach of REFUGE RECOVERY needs to be supplemented or expanded.

What I see lacking in both Kevin's approach AND Refuge recovery approach (during regular group discussions) is the mention of HOW to develop the specific  lifestyle skills or emotional explorations of how to HEAL deep emotional imbalances,

 anxiety, depression, manage extreme work stress, family dysfunction, limit setting, transforming low self esteem, coping with caregiving, cultivating balance in your life choices, how to access outside counseling support, codependency--family illness,

and many other difficult areas. The program does discuss/explore complex life issues during the 1st and second step self evaluations. You might ask the group leader if you experience challenging life issues.

My site discusses these: http://www.balancedweightmanagement.com/OverwhelmingCircumstances.htm AND


Our Approach to Addiction Recovery... 

* Teaches self-empowerment and self-reliance.
* Works on alcoholism and addiction as a complex maladaptive behaviors with possible physiological factors.
* Teaches tools and techniques for self-directed change.
* Encourages individuals to recover from addiction and live satisfying lives.
* Provides meetings that are educational and include open discussions.
* Advocates the appropriate use of prescribed medications and psychological treatments.
* Evolves as scientific knowledge in addiction recovery evolves.
* Differs from Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other traditional 12-step programs.


The 12-Steps of OA are like a hub of a wheel of change

Other spokes support lasting personal transformation


For deeper understanding explore:

When Society Becomes an Addict: Learn About the Addictive Personality


Sexual Addiction Resource: Sexual Recovery Institute by Rob Weiss http://www.sexualrecovery.com/about/founder.php  Resources: http://www.sexualrecovery.com/resources.php

 The 12 Steps Summarized 



·         In the 1st step of the program, a person admits that (without help) they are powerless over food and that their lives are unmanageable.

·         In the 2nd step, a person comes to believe that a natural, inborn (and outer) power can restore a person to a right response to foods and life.

·         In the 3rd step, it is suggested that there exists a power—within and without—that can help people be relieved of the obsession with food and restore a person to sanity in all areas of life. People then choose to follow this spiritual guidance in making decisions in their lives.

·         The 4th step suggests a thorough personal self-evaluation in which people are encouraged to look at all of the relationships in their life, and see if they have created unwholesome patterns and acknowledge their results upon themselves and other people. It is like a thorough personal house cleaning.

·         In the 5th step of the program we admit to the God of our understanding, to ourselves, and to another person the exact nature of our wrongs.

·         In the 6th and 7th steps people become willing to look at and transform their character defects. They acknowledge old coping mechanisms that no longer work and sculpt new patterns. They are willing to make an investment of time and energy to change their attitudes and actions—“they clean up their act.”

·         In the 8th step of the program, a person makes a list of all persons that they have ever harmed (including themselves).

·         In the 9th step of the program, a person makes direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

·         In the 10th step of program, a person is encouraged to continue to take a daily personal inventory and when wrong to promptly admit it.

·       In the 11th step of the program, it suggests that we take time for daily prayer and meditation. What follows is a summary from the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, Third Edition, pages 84-88.       

1.      On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Our thought-life will be placed on a much higher plane when our thinking is cleared of wrong motives.

2.      In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don’t struggle,

3.      As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day, “Thy will be done.”

4.      When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Were we resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid? Do we owe an apology? Have we kept something to ourselves which should be discussed with another person at once? Were we kind and loving toward all? What could we have done better? Were we thinking of ourselves most of the time? Or were we thinking of what we could do for others, of what we could pack into the stream of life? But, we must be careful not to drift into worry, remorse or morbid reflection, for that would diminish our usefulness to others. After making our review we ask God’s forgiveness and inquire what corrective measures should be taken.

5.      It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol (and food) is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism (and compulsive overeating). What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition. Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all of our activities. “How can I best serve Thee—Thy will (not mine) be done.”

·         In the 12th step, from a place of gratitude, a person carries the message of personal transformation and freedom that the program has empowered them to experience, and shares it with others. The result of experiencing a spiritual transformation and changes in attitudes and behaviors doesn't just benefit the person, but all of the interconnected relationships with whom the person interacts.

To explore a wonderful LIFE self-evaluation resource for applying (exploring how to use each step) the 12 Steps--a BIG BOOK STUDY-- for overeating by Joe McQ & Charlie P. visit the Kelly Foundation at: http://www.kellyfdn.com/welcome.htm 

For two PDF files that were adapted by Tom H. :

Taking these inventories and following the suggestions that are given brings emotional and mental freedom and an experience of inner healing.


For a self-appraisal, take time to review:

Forbidden Fruit--Following a Path Into Death and Self-Destruction

The World Of Craving and Addiction Offers Me Nothing That I Want. Good Bye! A first step.

The World Of Alcohol Offers Me Nothing That I Want!

Sober Truths: The Making of an Honest Woman

Footwork of Recovery


Some Concerns About 12-step Programs

OA is a peer-led group and is not led by professionals. The approach, suggested methods, and members’ philosophy can vary widely between groups. You might find some groups called HOW groups that have a rigid food plan and highly structured suggested daily lifestyle plan that might feel overwhelming and trigger overeating for some people. You might need a less structured approach. Trust your instincts: if one group doesn’t seem to work, try several out. The KEY is if you do want to give OA a try, get a feel for the meeting.

 Everyone has life challenges, but you want to see that members are using the tools and 12 steps to provide guidance for increasing levels of success and self mastery. Are they focusing on the solution rather than the problem? Does the meeting inspire you and help provide insights to you about how to live your life more successfully? If it does, then that might be the meeting for you.

 Most areas that have OA have yearly retreats where a whole weekend is spent exploring the OA program and the 12 steps. The leader frequently will share experience, strength, and hope of how they used the program to bring about positive changes in their lives. Some people may become overly reliant on the program and its people and meetings. This type of rigid participation enables people to avoid addressing the pain and issues that lie beneath the addiction. Consider exploring:

   "Successful life changes involve the understanding that our behaviors result from an interaction of emotions, genetics, time pressures, financial pressures, family, work and social stresses, and access to family, work, and social support systems. Viewing damaging behaviors as learned responses to life stress is helpful in offering someone the insight and permission to successfully alter health-related behaviors, such as eating and exercise. For sustained success in the management of disordered eating, behaviors and stressors need to be altered, healed, and resolved--but not controlled.” Taken from Jannette Travali, MS, MPH, RD, Achieving a Broader Abstinence: Incorporating a Non-Diet Approach into a Twelve-Step Program.

Some people may become overly reliant on the program and its people and meetings. This type of rigid participation enables people to avoid addressing the pain and issues that lie beneath the addiction. Consider exploring:

Benefits of Attending Overeaters Anonymous (and other 12-step programs)


 ·     Exposure to other people’s experiences, wisdom, strength and hope.

·         It costs no money but is priceless

·         An opportunity to develop the skills and habits of emotional awareness, integrity, and honest self-introspection through group sharing and reading the literature…to help people see the truth about their lives and their relationships with others

·         Gives tools that can facilitate the process of change: a plan of eating, sponsorship (a caring member who knows the program and who helps another member along the path), meetings, the telephone, writing things down, literature, anonymity and service

·         It breaks down emotional walls within an individual and between oneself and family members and between oneself and one’s personal interpretation of a Higher Power or God

·         Guides people towards more selfless, joyous lives—ones that share their gifts to the benefit of others

·         Allows all members to take what they like and leave the rest

·         Offers a practical program for release from compulsion and for the opportunity to practice a new life

·         Gives hope: asks that we strive for progress, not perfection.

·         Through the ongoing application of the program, members receive a daily reprieve from compulsive overeating that is contingent on the maintenance of their spiritual condition

Jill Kelly, PhD


How I gave up sugar and created a sweeter life between meals



Jill helps you understand your way into food and life balance, providing bite-size chunks of support, as well as practical and probing life tools.  

This exploration will ignite your inner wisdom as you discover your own unique path to transforming your relationship with yourself and food.

Jill is a skilled tour guide who knows the territory. Happy exploring!


Jill Kelly wasn’t able to get off the sugar addiction/overeating merry-go-round until she realized that food wasn’t the problem.

How she was living her life between meals was the issue. Part-memoir, part-how-to book,

Candy Girl offers hope and support for all those who struggle with sugar and overeating. www.lifebetweenmealscoaching.com.


Diabetes and Drug Use:

Here is a centralized resource that explores the dangerous relationship between diabetes, alcohol and other drugs. 
Because of this, we engaged with researcher Dr. Karen Vieira, PhD MSM to create a comprehensive resource on the implications, contraindications and
the latest research regarding substance abuse and diabetes.

The result is this page, which can be navigated by mousing over the “Skip to Section” button: 

Thoughts On Recovery from Compulsive Overeating

Venerable Robina Courtin- Addiction VS Freedom! MP3

(File takes 5 minutes to upload, or "right click" and "save target as")

The Twelve Mays of the Holidays

The Twelve Steps for the Holidays


*Celebrities are often seen as God-like entities, immune for the shackles
that we mere mortals face on a daily basis. Law, illness and even death are
often seen to escape the famous. However, once in a while, we're struck
with a blow when one of the people we believe to be untouchable in struck
down in the prime of life. Some deaths are part of the natural course of
life. Old age will get the better of all of us at some point, no matter how
many lotions and potions we slather onto ourselves. However, this doesn't
make the loss any less tragic. On Feb 10th 2014, iconic childhood actress
Shirley Temple died of natural causes.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-26135627 at the age of 85.
Her appearance in films such as Heidi and The Little Princess will go down
in history However, when deaths are unexpected, this seems to pack more of
a punch.

The loss of young life seems unjust and unfair. The deaths of Heath Ledger at the age of 28
http://edition.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/01/22/heath.ledger.dead/ and
27 year old Amy Winehouse
took the world by surprise and they were mourned all around the globe.
Ledger and Winehouse's deaths were both attributed to substances and were
both seen as premature; the talent of both only truly being appreciated
upon their passing away. Most recently, American comedic actor, Philip
Seymour Hoffman died of a drug overdose
in his New York apartment at the age of 46. The anguish felt by the
millions he brought laughter to all the more poignant.

Taken from:  www.drugabuse.com




For encouragement, self-exploration, and support for the journey of change from Overeaters Anonymous:

To order materials contact their Web site:  www.overeatersanonymous.org  or an online literature catalog or contact their mailing address: PO Box 44020 * Rio Rancho, NM 871740-4020 USA

Tel: 1-505-891-2664  Fax: 1-505-891-4320

Portland, Oregon-area meeting information: 503-254-5658

Oregon Intergroup of Overeaters Anonymous: http://www.oregon-oa.org/

Find OA Members speak--Hearing is believing. OA members speak--Podcasts

Los Angeles Podcast meetings: Virtual speakers bureau Find hundreds of meetings easily!

Some really helpful literature titles are:

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous-An excellent description of the program and how to apply the steps to achieve personal transformation.

The Twelve-Step Workbook of Overeaters Anonymous (a really excellent book that expands on the principles of the program!)

Lifeline Journal of Recovery

Lifeline Sampler

For Today—Daily meditation book

Contact OA to find out about location of groups in your area and for other available titles.

See Ann Fletcher's  Website for a description of her other WONDERFUL BOOKS  http://annemfletcher.com/

Additional Resources



Addiction Recovery Resources


Drug-Free.org--The HOPE Share: http://thehopeshare.drugfree.org/ See Bob's story there: http://thehopeshare.drugfree.org/stories/detail/lighter-free-from-the-inside-out

Partnership for a drug-free America: http://www.drugfree.org/ and http://thehopeshare.drugfree.org/page/infographic

Hazelden for addiction treatment:        http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/contact.edit?code=misspell&utm_campaign=corporate&gclid=CKj96e7m_rUCFetAMgodI3YAoQ

In Seattle area: http://www.schickshadel.com/?url_campaign_id=7e55c8e0f83503b2748289088eeb6568&keyword=hazelden&utm_source=WMS&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=ADG&utm_term=hazelden&utm_content=ADGcontent&source=SE_ADWORDS-CAMPAIGN-OR-Alcohol-Treatment-Search_ADGROUP-Alcohol-Rehab-Detox-Treatment_AdID-ROTATING

Sober for Good

Sober for Good (Hardcover) by Anne M. Fletcher Product Details


The Alcoholism and Addictions Resource Directory

Daily Strength Website: Discover many Popular Support Groups. Also find health blogs, expert treatments, and other ways to be empowered. http://www.dailystrength.org/

REHABINFO.NET: http://www.rehabinfo.net/ Our mission is to educate our visitors through research-based, expert written content. We are dedicated to providing comprehensive information about addiction, treatment options and the path to full recovery. Our site recently launched and now I'm putting in a lot of hard work on a larger campaign to help 
promote independent, responsible information on addiction recovery. Our website is an excellent supplement to include with the SAMHSA Treatment Facility Locator (http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/). The Facility Locator is the most comprehensive database of treatment providers available but does not provide answers for many of the practical questions that individuals and families 
have. We created RehabInfo.net to fill in this information gap - and strive to be the best resource to address these common issues in the journey to treatment. Please have a look at the SAMHSA site, as I feel you may find it to be an important addition alongside RehabInfo.net.
The Center for Addiction Management http://www.addictionmanagement.org/  Provides research-based solutions for an age old problem. Explore: Understanding Addiction, Long-term Solutions, Evaluation & Assessment, and much more. 

MyAddiction.com  http://www.myaddiction.com  MyAddiction.com is an online educational and informational website on Addiction and Recovery which includes information on addiction categories such as nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, prescription drugs, sex, gambling and eating disorders.

Online Recovery Discussion Groups for compulsive overeaters & support meetings on the Internet. Go to http://recovery.hiwaay.net/  for information and list of “specialty loops”.

Alcoholism and Addictions
Help and Information

People do recover, every single day. From alcoholism and drug addiction, mental illness, abuse and trauma, dual diagnosis, gambling, codependency and more, people do get better. They rarely do it alone. If help is what you seek, we hope you'll find it here...

The Sober-Recovery directory lists hundreds of drug rehab and treatment centers, alcohol rehabilitation centers, sober living houses and recovery related web sites. They offer help, referrals and information for heroin, cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, and treatment program options including detox, teen boot camps, wilderness programs and outpatient programs for adults or adolescents




12 Step Alternatives
Adolescent Treatment Camps and Schools
Alcoholics Anonymous
Dual Diagnosis
Eating Disorder Treatment Centers
Gambling Addiction
Narcotics Anonymous
Drug Rehabs
Treatment Centers
Twelve Step programs can be a powerful tool for those struggling with substance abuse.

There are hundreds of listings for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and Narcotics Anonymous meetings as well as Al-Anon, Nar-anon, Alateen and other 12 Step fellowships.

The Alcoholism, Addictions and Mental Health resource directory contains links to over 2500 recovery-related websites and services in 75 unique categories, including Abuse and Trauma, Sober Living Homes, Social Work, Teen Alcoholism and Addiction, Treatment Facilities, Twelve Step Alternatives, Dual Diagnosis, Alcoholics Anonymous, Eating Disorders, Women In Recovery and much more. Use the category links below to find help for you, a family member, a friend or a loved one. Search boxes are located on every page to help you find help fast. And an entire recovery community is waiting to help you on our moderated message boards. Alcoholism, addiction and mental health help is right here.
http://www.soberrecovery.com/links/resources.html You will also find an extensive EATING DISORDERS resource section: http://www.soberrecovery.com/links/eatingdisordersresources.html

The Addiction Recovery Guide: http://beat-addiction.com/ Assists individuals struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism find help that best suits their needs. They have evaluation and treatment suggestions. They also have selected a range of outstanding programs and resources. To seek online help from others in recovery and to share your success story, visit our message board.

Addiction Treatment and Drug Rehab Recovery Connection (RCx) offers addiction treatment and drug rehab referrals nationwide. Learn about symptoms of alcoholism, drug addiction, substance abuse and treatment centers.

Healing Power: Ten Steps to Pain Management and Spiritual Evolution
by Philip Shapiro M. D.
Publisher Comments:
We seek unlimited peace, love and joy in an uncertain world where suffering is inevitable. Because we manage our pain poorly, we get into trouble. The wisdom of the ages, taught by the world's diverse religious traditions, offers a solution to this dilemma by pointing out the connection between pain management and the cultivation of spiritual qualities. When we develop a spiritual practice, we learn how to transform our suffering into spiritual power. Dr. Shapiro describes a self-help method of ten steps that propel spiritual evolution. The ten steps teach us how to expand our healing power, improve our pain management skills, and cultivate spiritual qualities. The central premise is that life, through a series of painful lessons, teaches us that the peace, love, and joy we seek in the outer world can and must ultimately be found within. Dr. Shapiro elaborates twelve spiritual methods derived from the world's great religions. These methods help us unlock healing and spiritual powers inherent in the body. Detailed instructions explain how these methods help us cultivate peace, love, joy, strength, and courage in response to any pain of the body, mind, or soul. These qualities are the jewels of this life. They are healers. They help us eliminate or endure any painful condition of body, mind, or soul. They are more powerful than any barrier or challenge we may face. We encounter trouble no matter which route we take, but the way offered here is the path of least resistance, the way through our pain to peace, power, and strength. As we move forward through the steps, we find ourselves living the richest possible life, a journey where our spirit is in charge and we are ready for anything!
Visit Dr. Shapiro at: http://www.philipshapiro.com/philbook.html

Explore too pearls of wisdom: http://www.philipshapiro.com/pearls.html "Pearls" is a resource page containing affirmations, quotes, articles by Dr. Shapiro, as well as links to other sites.

             Copyright © 2001-2018 Bob Wilson BS, DTR  All Right Reserved. Articles are for personal use only. Please request permission for other uses. Thanks!