Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr At our writing meeting, we often read articles about spiritual awakening from books such as Lifeline Sampler. Reading articles written by fellow Overeaters Anonymous members, people like me, seems to give me the deepest insights, and this particular meeting opened up a new perspective about gratitude. Once again, I became able to identify behavior patterns I’d created a long time ago, before program, in order to cope with life—self-destructive behaviors that resulted in suppressed anger, absentmindedness, fear, and intense sadness. Spiritual fitness, I heard, does not mean freedom from stress. I’d gotten into bed the night before with a list of frustrations that made my blood pressure rise. But the OA program has taught me to pay attention. Now I can admit I’m frustrated, angry, afraid, or sad. I can feel these feelings and then let them pass through me, physically and mentally. My past strategy had been to deny and bury. Food was very effective for that purpose. But the cost was ripping me apart, mentally and physically. The strategy of surrender in this program is what helps me let these feelings pass through me, rather than plugging up my heart and blocking my serenity. Is this something I do on my own? No. I’m very familiar with how I deal with stress on my own. A Higher Power really does work in me now, helping me pause and ask what’s bothering me or making me frustrated, angry, or sad. It seems that all I have to do is notice. I take a deep breath, acknowledge the feeling, and let my Higher Power pull it through me, replacing the feeling with serenity. Sometimes it happens quickly. Sometimes I realize much later that the negative energy has disappeared. This Higher Power connection did not happen suddenly for me with a bolt of lightning or stunning realization. I was greatly relieved to hear that my Higher Power did not have to be the God I grew up with! My Higher Power connection came in quiet, whispered thoughts, gradually. I am grateful today for the calmer and happier person I am now. Today, I accept that I’m not going to wake up on any day and have my life be perfect or go my way. The guilt that used to freeze me can now be replaced with surrender to get me moving again. As a reading said in that meeting, surrender is a good example of the power of the program versus the power of the illness. — Annette C Taste of Lifeline follows in the footsteps of Lifeline Sampler, offering 115 stories of real recovery from Lifeline magazine. Find it (#970) at bookstore.oa.org.