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Foundation for Spiritual Growth

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When I was 16, I left the religion of my family and began a deep search for meaning. I thought I’d found my answer and settled into complacent spirituality until the age of 35, when I came into OA. As I began to understand the Steps and work them, I approached Step Three with confidence. I had already investigated my spiritual needs and found an approach that worked for me. Or so I thought.

I struggled with continuous abstinence for eighteen months with frequent slips and relapses. I kept coming back and kept listening. Suddenly, I understood I had skipped a vital part of Step Three. My ego kept me from being humble and understanding that I really didn’t have my spirituality defined in the way I needed.

So, I reevaluated. I studied. I prayed. I meditated. I listed the qualities I needed from my Higher Power, and my concept of my HP has expanded to meet all my current needs. Now my HP takes many different forms, and I call my HP by many different names, depending on my needs.

I call upon my HP throughout the day to maintain conscious contact. I begin my day by thanking HP for abstinence before I even get out of bed. Then I read the daily entry in Voices of Recovery. I meditate on the entry while I get dressed, and then I fulfill my mom-duties to my 6-year-old.

After I drop him off at school, I pray aloud to my HP while driving. The privacy of the car is very important for me as a full-time working mom and student. I express all my emotions, even screaming as needed. Expressing anger and frustration to my HP is one of the major changes I made that has helped me maintain continuous abstinence for six weeks now. My HP understands and welcomes my anger, for when I tell HP about it, my anger can be lifted so I may be useful to others and maintain my abstinence.

The diversity of spirituality in OA gave me peace when I first entered the rooms. I was afraid I would be ostracized because I am not part of a mainstream religion. I was so happy to discover I can believe whatever I need to believe to be abstinent. I understand now that my spiritual growth is truly the foundation of the program. Without my spiritual growth, continuous abstinence would still be eluding me. Without spiritual growth, I would not be about 100 pounds (45 kg) lighter than when I first entered the rooms. Without spiritual growth, I would still be the lost, depressed, angry woman who cried through her first three meetings. Without spiritual growth, I would not have peace or serenity; I would be hopelessly handicapped, unable to even see my self-imposed limitations. Thank you, OA, for giving me the Steps to grow spiritually and be present in my life.

— Alayna

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