I want to share today a few wonderful things that have come about for me through this program of 12 steps. I feel like I have not shared in a while and so I will do some "service" and share my "experience, strength and hope."
My life has completely changed since I started working the 12 steps and going to OA meetings. The Big Book has "the promises" and the list is very lengthy and unbelievable [see chizuk e-mail #493 on this page for some of the "promises"]. I never thought that I could have peace and serenity. I never thought I could have ANY of the promises in the Big Book. But since I started, a little over 19 months ago, I have to say that some of these promises are truly starting to come true.
I have to say that I work very hard for my abstinence. I started the 12 step program for my food addiction (19 months and 11 days of back to back abstinence from sugar, sugar substitutes, wheat, flour products and volume) and now I am counting my abstinence from lust (39 days current back to back abstinence) [after a streak of 70 days before that!]. I no longer read dirty material, watch anything that may suggest lust on the computer and other related things. BARUCH HASHEM.
I have such peace of mind and my self esteem is so much better now because I no longer beat myself up for being a two faced person/Jew. The obsession has been lifted and I can now be the real ME.
Anyway, I really wanted to share how the fourth step (which is the step I am working on now - and plowing through...) has affected my life, and the way I think and view things.
I work the steps using the "big Book Awakening" workbook in conjunction with the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The fourth step ["We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves"] is grueling to say the least. Unfortunately, I have been sitting on this step for a few month now because it was SO painful to do, I was only able to do a tiny bit at a time, once or twice a week, UNTIL I started to daven. I want to share with you the davening I say before and after I work the fourth step (which I now I have been doing Monday through Friday): This is what I say before I start:
"Hashem, I am here to write an inventory. Please help me face and be rid of the things that are blocking me from You, myself and others. Please help me to see the truth, and please, when it is time to stop writing, help me to stop, and to be able to live my life today."
When I finish working on the fourth step for that day (I do about 10 to 15 minutes daily) I say:
"Hashem, I have to go back to my life now. Please, help me to leave this inventory with you for now. Keep it in your hands. Give me Your grace to go back to my day and to not hurt those around me because of the struggles I am facing. I am supposed to be getting rid of self-centeredness, but I can't do that without You. This has really got me, I am feeling it. Please, HELP!"
Once I daven this, it is SO much easier - it is a miracle how it works for me.