Nearly three years ago my current sponsor twelfth-stepped me. How did it happen and what does it mean? We’d been going to the same meetings in a food fellowship for a few months and I’d always admired her shares – she had something different, which I was attracted to. For example, when she chaired a meeting there was a different atmosphere in the room, a calm, serene, and loving presence.
One evening she asked how I was and, out of nowhere, I asked if she had space to sponsor me. We arranged to meet. She was very accommodating, meeting at lunchtime at my workplace. I texted when I was in reception. Then she appeared a second later saying she doesn’t text. She bought us a drink, herbal tea for herself and I had a decaf flat white. I now drink herbal teas, not coffee, and I generally don’t text - I try to talk to people, wherever possible.
Surrender changed the trajectory of my recovery
My sponsor shared her story; I listened and connected in a way that I hadn’t experienced with anyone else about my relationship and behaviour with food. She left me after about an hour with two questions:
Have I had enough?
Am I willing to go to any length?
At this time, I was obesely overweight, even though I’d been in a food fellowship for about three years and had shed a significant amount of weight. Although I hadn’t reached the weight I was when I first came into the fellowship, it was piling on again. I now realise the weight I had originally lost was due to self-will; I certainly didn’t have a connection with my Higher Power and my life remained completely unmanageable.
I considered the two questions my potential sponsor had posed for several days. Saying yes to these questions and picking up the phone to confirm I’d like her to be my sponsor changed the trajectory of my recovery. I had surrendered and was willing to follow suggestions.
More than just weight loss
My new sponsor asked me to call her at 7 am the next morning. This was the very beginning of where I am today, nearly three years later, maintaining a normal weight. I came into a Twelve-Step fellowship to lose weight, but it is so much more than that now; it is the spiritual growth and peace of mind that I seek today.
My sponsor has taken me through the book Alcoholics Anonymous and through the Twelve Steps and shown me how to live life on a more spiritual basis. This includes helping others and seeking and developing a connection with my Higher Power. She listened with kindness and patience to my Step Five. Once I had shared my inventory, I really felt the presence of God. By identifying my character defects and asking God to remove these (selfishness, self-centredness, dishonesty, fear, resentments and more stemming from these too), I have a channel to my Higher Power. My sponsor has always been patient and kind, but I have not always liked what she has had to say!
I phoned my sponsor at the same time every day for about two and a half years and handed over my food each day. A few months ago, she told me she was still my sponsor, but I didn’t need to call her each day or phone my food in anymore – well that was a shock. How was I going to know how to do life? Since then, I’ve had to work more on relying on my connection with my Higher Power.
Through working the 12 Steps in my life I am learning so much
I have come to believe that there is a spiritual purpose in everything that happens. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says, “We claim spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection” (page 60, Fourth Edition). I am learning a lot, but the more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know! Here are a few things I’m learning:
Food is no longer my solution to living life, I have been shown a spiritual solution through working the Twelve Steps. I am having to learn to take responsibility and to ‘grow up’. I have to deal with the issues I am faced with in relationships, parenting, work, etc. and not to bury my face in food and eat my way into more problems.
My true purpose in life is to help and be of benefit to others. This is my work. I work full-time, but this is not my purpose in life.
To be honest. I need help from a sponsor to help me see my dishonest thinking at times. I am developing a way of life which ‘demands rigorous honesty.’ (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 58, Fourth Edition).
To be patient. Life happens in God’s time, not my time and when I want things to happen.
We are all equal, and I am no better or no less than anyone else. I’d spent years idolising particular people and putting them on a pedestal, making other people my Higher Power. Conversely, I also thought I was better than some people, which came out in my behaviour towards them.
This too shall pass, and I don’t need to eat to get through emotions or difficulties, as it will only make matters worse.
Let go and let God, something usually happens that helps me to sort out an issue when I take action and then let go of the problem; and go and help someone else.
What others think of me is none of my business.
I had to be entirely ready and I was willing to go to any length
Recovery from addictive eating only commenced when I became teachable; when I listened and was prepared to follow suggestions. It started when I was willing to go to any length. This happened when I had had enough of addictive eating and I surrendered.
The treatment for my addictive eating continues to revolve around attending Addictive Eaters Anonymous meetings, working the Twelve Steps, having a sponsor and improving my connection with a Higher Power.
Today, I maintain a healthy weight, have freedom from the obsession of food and have a peace of mind that I’ve never experienced before.