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WHAT IS POWERLESSNESS AND WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO ACCEPT IT?

I have been talking to some of my clients and feeling uncomfortable with what has been going on, so I want to share it with you. Hope you don’t mind listening to my concerns, please leave a comment if you wish.

So, my client has picked up again and her sponsor wonders if she is being helpful to her. She saw me first in 2008, was working a recovery program, then left and came back in 2017 at the same weight. So, I asked her about her history in those nine years. What did you do in that time? “Tried every diet and weight loss plan under the sun” she said, “and they all did not work for me for weight loss.”

Listening to her, I know she has a lot of other problems in her life that need attention – now please – but her focus is weight loss. Why does she need to start at Step One again?

Another client called. She has been around the bush a hundred times, tried a whole lot of rehab experiences, and done a whole lot of things. She says, “I can stay abstinent for a little while, then something happens, I don’t know what, and I lose it again”.

The most powerful thing anyone has said to me in a long time: “I am circling the drain; I need your help.”

Suddenly I had a rude awakening. Now I understand, on a really deep level, what powerlessness is. And I always thought it was a bit sad, when you relapse, to have to go back to Step One, and maybe even with a new sponsor.

But now I see it. That’s where the answer is! Acceptance of my powerlessness over my drug is the place I find the freedom to heal.

If we really want to stop eating long term, we need to be absolutely convinced that there are certain foods that our body just can’t tolerate. There must be no reservation of any kind, no hope that someday things will change.

In Philadelphia, SEPTA is having advertisements that say, the train can’t turn away, it takes nearly a mile to stop it; if you don’t want to be hurt, get off the tracks. Somehow, some of us believe that the train will stop for us. It won’t. Accepting the reality that it won’t is what leads us to safety and freedom. And as soon as my clients put down the food, they come face to face with whatever they have been using the food to hide; sometimes they have no clue what it is; some traumas happened before we had words to describe them; sometimes we just do not want to look at or deal with certain other struggles.  And we are usually powerless over some of those things, too.

But powerless is not helpless. Once I get my body off the tracks, I can begin to deal with the rest of the world and its problems. That is why our wise sponsors and programs take us back to Step One. In the powerlessness is where the power is.

“It is only through utter defeat are we able to take our first steps toward liberation and strength. Our admissions (and acceptance) of our personal powerlessness finally turn out to be firm bedrock on which happy and purposeful lives may be built.” (12&12, pg. 21)

Powerless is not helpless; acceptance is not approval; surrender is not  failure.

I don’t know what you will think of this, so please comment below and tell me your truth.

 

15 Responses to WHAT IS POWERLESSNESS AND WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO ACCEPT IT?

  1. Grace Bucanan September 11, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    Thank you for this gem!

    • H. Theresa Wright September 12, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

      You are so very welcome! I am glad it is helpful to you.

  2. Tish Turbe September 11, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

    Hi Theresa,

    Love the blog.. Powerless .. Right on time with family and friends in the path of hurricane Irma and other personal issues. Thanks for the reminders !

    Surrender to win !

    • H. Theresa Wright September 12, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

      YES! Surrender is not failure, it is the path to freedom!

  3. Sandra Koenig September 11, 2017 at 10:15 pm #

    This blog is so insightful! Thank you. I gave away a 12 year abstinence about 8 years ago and have been on and off the wagon since. I know it is a Step 1 issue. Always seems like something sabotages it all (probably me). Anyway, I am thrilled that you will be starting on-line classes!! Thank you for this too!. I hope to jump on them as soon as they are announced. Love and hugs!

    • H. Theresa Wright September 12, 2017 at 3:48 pm #

      So sorry you have had so much trouble, and for so long! Would be delighted to have you in the classes, but if you need to talk individually, be welcome to call me. I would want to help you sooner.

  4. Anne Osada September 12, 2017 at 2:02 am #

    I’m getting ready to join OA and reading as much as I can in preparation. Any clarification on the Twelve Steps is appreciated. Thank you for sharing this – it was very helpful to me.

    • H. Theresa Wright September 12, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

      Wonderful. If you call the office tomorrow, I will talk with you about some resources that might help.

  5. OA Guy October 12, 2017 at 9:11 pm #

    I look at it this way. My trying to be more powerful than my addiction to certain types of food is like me trying to pick up poison ivy and not have it affect me. I admitted that I had a “problem” with food for a long time before I truly accepted it. Once I accepted it and came to terms with it, my abstinence has not been such a struggle. I’m not saying that it’s always been easy over the past 29 years, but understanding the consequences of returning to the food has helped me to stay abstinent.

    • H. Theresa Wright October 12, 2017 at 9:26 pm #

      Twenty nine years! Congratulations! I suspect you have hit a bunch of poison ivies along the way, and I am glad to know you are still safe, sane, and abstinent! Theresa

  6. Gabriella October 31, 2017 at 12:47 am #

    I have an allergic reaction to certain substances that once I consume I have no control over!!! I am in a relapse now and I know that I have to return to sanity through absence!! I am not able to eat like other people without gaining large amounts of weight! What’s sad is I now have to watch my adult child experience food addiction for the first time with a weight gain of 45 pounds and then to stop eating for 45 days to lose it and gain it right back. Just like I did and my mom would do and my 2 sisters have done in the past . I had 5 years clean and will get back there again through the support of the 12 steps and my kind loving food plan that will nurture my soul to health again. I am powerless over certain substances!

    • H. Theresa Wright November 5, 2017 at 10:43 pm #

      You are so right! But I am sorry you are suffering so much. And it is so harf to watch the ones we love suffer too.

  7. Gabriella October 31, 2017 at 12:49 am #

    Thank you for your article!

  8. Olivia November 17, 2017 at 4:30 am #

    We focus upon losing weight but that is almost always a secondary problem. Step One helps us to deal with the truth of our problems. We are powerless, need a Higher Power, and working the steps to keep us awake to reality. It’s such freedom in admitting that you are powerless, it actually gives me relief and a sense of power to admit that I am powerless. It also helps me to realize that if I’m powerless someone has to be Powerful for me. I’m new to all of this and I’m loving it all!!! Thanks for sharing.

    • H. Theresa Wright November 18, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

      Exactly!

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