Knock, Knock

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I went to my first OA meeting many years ago. I already knew someone, so it wasn’t too scary. I liked the meeting, having long ago figured out that food, for me, was an addiction just like alcohol or drugs. (That’s pretty common knowledge now but wasn’t in the 1980s.) How many times had I tried dieting in various forms—paid programs, magazine gimmicks, or my own plans? Fifty times? One hundred? Not until I treated my overeating as an addiction did it all make sense. And what program deals with food addiction? OA.

After the meeting, I spoke with a long timer about being agnostic. She was very patient at first. I told her was a non-believer in God, yet not an atheist. I said I didn’t think I could work a program that insisted on belief in God. She said I needed to listen closely in meetings and pay attention to the actual words in the Big Book and other literature: a Higher Power is a very open concept.

I was still negative. She looked at me and said, emphatically, that a Higher Power could be anything. She knocked on the table sitting between us and said, “A Higher Power can be this table!” I replied, “No, it’s not.”

The lightbulb went on! How could I be certain of what it was not without leaving space for what it might be? And with that thought, it seems, the door was left open to what a Higher Power might be for me. That was the beginning of the reexamination of my faith. Since I did not believe the entire universe was about me, then there was some force out there larger than me. Who? What? That was the fun part to explore. Was it God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, gravity, nature, or the Universe?

Over the following thirty years, my thoughts and beliefs about a Higher Power have changed, yet they’ve always existed in some form. I’ve had to make that fluidity okay. I will forever be grateful to that woman knocking on the table.

— Valerie G., Los Osos, California USA

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