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.
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 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.
Remember that frequently there is given a simple answer to a complex problem, and it's wrong!
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).
The 12-Steps of OA are like a hub of a wheel of change
Other spokes support lasting personal transformation
For deeper understanding explore:
· 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.
· 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.
Footwork of Recovery
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:
· 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
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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/
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
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/
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
Hazelden for addiction treatment: http://www.hazelden.org/web/public/contact.edit?code=misspell&utm_campaign=corporate&gclid=CKj96e7m_rUCFetAMgodI3YAoQ
In Portland 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 (Hardcover) by Anne M. Fletcher
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”.
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
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.
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.
Power: Ten Steps to Pain Management and Spiritual Evolution
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.
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