Doing the 12 Steps for Sugar Addiction


Are you familiar with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous?  If you are here on my blog on or on my email list, maybe you know the 12 steps through Overeaters Anonymous, Food Addicts Anonymous or another fellowship like Alanon, Alateen, Co-Dependents Anonymous or Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA).

    It seems like there is a 12 step fellowship for just about everything!  There is Narcotics Anonymous, Pills Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and so many more.

    What is it about the 12 steps? Well, like most spiritual practices and life endeavors, they “work if you work it.”

    Let’s start by listing the 12 steps in their original form.

    1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

    2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

    3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

    4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

    5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

    6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

    7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

    8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

    9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

    11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

    12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

    There is nothing particularly unique about doing the 12 steps on food or even on sugar and flour.  There is lots of inspiration to be heard in 12 step meetings of any fellowship and I recommend them.

    I participate actively in AA: I have done the steps, I go to meetings, I have a sponsor, I sponsor, I have a meeting commitment.  I have attended meetings of Alanon, ACA, Overeaters Anonymous and Co-Dependents Anonymous.

    That said, my experience has been that outside of AA, it is very difficult to find a sponsor and there are not enough meetings available to get me through the steps that way I like to do them: LIKE MY HAIR IS ON FIRE!  In OA, I felt like I was spending even more time obsessing over food. So I started to think…

    I am thinking of forming a small group to do the steps around sugar and flour.  In 12 step groups you often hear “take what you like and leave the rest.”  That is giving me permission to consider this possibility.

    The 12 steps can be broken down into roughly these categories

    • Understanding the physical, mental and emotional illness
    • Connecting with your Higher Power
    • Connecting with yourself
    • Connecting with others.

    As I love to say, “Connection is the Opposite of Addiction.”

    If you would be interested in learning more about doing a 4-week step study around sugar and flour, please register for a 30 minute webinar I will be doing on Monday, February 21, 2022 at 10 a.m. Pacific Time. I will be sending out the recording if you cannot make it live. 

    The four meetings will be Friday, March 4, 11, 18 and 25 at 2 p.m. PT. I will be asking for a $32 donation for the 4-weeks to cover the cost of technology (Zoom, the website hosting, email service provider fees), but no one will be turned away for inability to pay and no money will be collected at registration.  Much like the official 12 step programs, I would like to honor the tradition of “no dues or fees for membership, but we support ourselves through our own contributions.”  Contributions will be collected as the course progresses.

    I hope to see you at the information session!


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