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Life is Great

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I’ve been in program for four years and abstinent three. Every day is a miracle. I use a special email signature: “Life is great, and it’s only going to get better, if I let it.” The signature is all about surrender. I have to get out of my Higher Power’s way so he can work in my life.

I’ve learned that my serenity and peace of mind are based on how much I surrender. Over the last year, I faced tremendous challenges and reached a new level of conscious contact with my Higher Power.

I changed sponsors last December, and my new sponsor immediately started me working on Step Eleven. She gave me questions and told me to read pages 86 through 88 in the Big Book as a set of instructions. In hindsight, I can see that my Higher Power was preparing me for my biggest challenge yet.

On December 31, I shared in a meeting that I was excited about the upcoming year. I didn’t know I would soon learn a lesson about surrender. Obviously, my Higher Power thought I was ready.

Two days later, I took an unexpected loss in my life. It was like getting sucker punched. I was out of my mind, hysterically crying, angry, and fearful.

Before program, my solution would have been to numb and distract myself with food. But my Higher Power had blessed me: the idea of bingeing was repulsive, and I knew if I did, I would end up with two problems, plus unneeded guilt and shame.

Instead of turning to food, I immediately turned to God and my friends for help. I prayed, meditated, and followed directions. My sponsor and OA friends became my mind. The first thing they told me was to get a therapist, so I did. My therapist said it would take superhuman strength for me to keep moving forward. I’m lucky because I have superhuman strength; the source is my HP.

My therapist also said if I believe in God but am fearful, then I have more faith in fear than in God—and that’s not surrender. I don’t always remember this, and sometimes fear rips my soul into pieces. But God is carrying me now, and surrender is the key. When I surrender, I can calmly see that I didn’t cause this, can’t change it, and can’t cure it. It is what it is.

I am a work in progress and not perfect. Sometimes I am not capable of surrender, as much as I try. Someone who had been through the same situation I faced described it as putting your emotions through a meat grinder, and this is a perfect description. One second, I am thinking clearly, and the next, I am crashing in depression, fear, jealousy, or other character defects. One moment, I am surrendering to my Higher Power, and next, I am surrendering to negative thoughts and feelings. The good news is I don’t stay in the insanity long. By the grace of my HP, I can choose to surrender to him again.

Program is not about learning how to weather the storm; rather, it’s learning how to dance in the rain. Surrender doesn’t mean my story is over; it is just beginning. This, too, shall pass, and I will be stronger for it.

I have no idea what life will be like when I get to the other side of this storm. I do know that it’s time to do the things I’ve always been scared about, because “Life is great, and it’s only going to get better, if I let it.”

— Joel I., Boca Raton, Florida USA

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