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Tackle with Dignity

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Some OA members suggested I bear witness to my experience of living with chronic renal failure and how the program is helping me cope.

I’ve been regularly attending meetings for several years, and through service, I have grown in self-esteem and feeling like a useful and active member of our Fellowship. It’s incredible how being among fellow sufferers relieves my suffering, clears my emotions, and helps me learn to identify and manage my feelings.

OA has a very complete program. With the use of the Tools, I can work on the compulsion to overeat, while learning to understand and accept myself completely. The affection of the group, the training, and the slogans feed me spiritually and give me the strength to carry my illness.

I start each day by giving thanks and keep that attitude throughout the day. Before I eat, I recite a mantra to bless the food I have selected and then take five deep breaths so I approach every meal with peace and tranquility. When my mind haunts me with obsessive ideas or negative thoughts, I tell myself, “That’s not true,” and redirect my thinking toward pleasant situations I have experienced, or I just smile, making the physical gesture. These actions miraculously change my discomfort to appreciation. When I go to sleep, I say, “Thank you for this bed and these sheets caressing my skin—what a pleasure!” Other mantras I use daily are: “I am a divine being, unique, beautiful, and marvelous;” “The universe conspires in my favor;” and “I am here to be happy.”

Small details and daily conquests make me grateful. I feel fortunate to have been chosen to live on this planet; it is a great opportunity given to me, so I will accept the challenge. When obstacles arise, the problems they cause do not have to be bitter but instead exist as part of life— there won’t be problems when we’re dead. So obstacles are to be tackled with utmost dignity. They are not errors to torture us, but teachings for personal growth that lead us to evolve.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with a song, a hymn to life. It says, “Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto,” which means “Thanks to life that has given me so much.” To this I would like to add, “Thanks to love that keeps me alive.” I love you very much, fellows. Much encouragement.

— Anonymous, translated from Spanish

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