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An Idea Whose Time Has Come

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My thinking can get me into a ditch on the side of the road. For example, if I read Step Two questions such as “What do I need from a Higher Power? What would I like such a Power to be and do in my life?” (The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, p. 13), I can veer off into thoughts about what I want a Power to do for me. I can begin testing the existence of that Power by deciding whether what I want has actually happened. I’m likely to conclude that such a Power does not exist—and I am probably right—because what I am looking for is something like a genie in a bottle, something to do my will.

Oops! One of the characteristics of my Higher Power is that it must be greater than me; I have to recognize that I am less powerful than it is. Another characteristic is that my HP must have real power—power over me, in fact.

When I was trying to find a Higher Power to believe in, an old saying helped me: “Nothing has power like an idea whose time has come.” It turns out that the ideas I accepted in working Step One began wielding power over my actions, such as the idea that I am stuck with being someone who will overeat unless a greater Power influences me otherwise or that I need to eat a nutritionally balanced diet that doesn’t contain as much food as I want to eat. If I practice honesty, the Principle of Step One, then I cannot wiggle out of these truths. If I accept those ideas, their time has come. If I remember their truth, they will influence me to eating wisely and restore me to sanity. Thus even if nothing else is a Power greater than me, the truth is a Higher Power. The truth is greater than me.

Another ditch I can get into is confusion about loving behavior. I came into OA assuming that anyone who said no to something I wanted was not a loving person, and I had to learn the difference between kindness and indulgence. I can even start to believe that Higher Power is like a tyrannical parent who never wants me to have what I want and is seeking to take things away from me. But, a mother is very loving when she doesn’t let her child play in the street or with a sharp knife. My father wasn’t unloving when he insisted that I feed the dog before sitting down to supper. If he beat me with his belt about it, that would be unloving, but it is loving and appropriate to insist that I care for the dog’s needs; it teaches me to be a caring person. So, if I fail to make distinctions between reasonable and unreasonable expectations, that’s me veering off into a ditch.

The real Higher Power is not unreasonable and destructive. The Reality that has made human life is going to be consistent about what is good for human life. The real Higher Power is a reasonable, creative Power.

— Anonymous, Washington, D.C. USA

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