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Relief from Selfishness

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My name is Robin, and I am a compulsive overeater. I have been in food recovery for over twenty years, having returned to program after two relapses. The first relapse lasted four months, and the second lasted four years. I have been abstinent almost nine years now by the Grace of God.

The Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., p. 63) is one that I say every time I pull my car out of the driveway to go anywhere. It has become a habit, and I am grateful. In doing my Fourth Step, I had no idea I was so selfish. When I say the Third Step Prayer, I pause after saying “relieve me of the bondage of self” and name the different forms of selfishness that have been emerging or have the potential to emerge in the course of my day. I am not perfect. Some forms of selfishness revealed to me have been self-importance, self-righteousness, self-absorption, self-indulgence, and self-seeking. These don’t emerge every day, but every day, I am reminded.

After naming these various forms of selfishness, I then have a discussion with God about how these can keep me in bondage and what that really means. The bottom line is that whenever I try to take over, be the center of attention, be right, or focus all on me, I am actually fearful. I am saying I don’t trust God: I don’t trust he has “it” all figured out already and has my best interests at the heart of every situation and every relationship, because I want things my way.

I am then directed to the Big Book and some promises. “In thinking about our day we may . . . not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration. . . . We are often surprised. . . . What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind” (pp. 86–87). This is all to say that for every single situation in my life, every single day, I need to keep turning to God instead of myself. When I do my review at night, I can see what I did well and what still needs work, and I need to remember “Thy will (not mine) be done” (p. 85).

— Robin I., New Jersey USA

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