Came to believe that a Power greater
than ourselves could restore us to sanity.


The minute you came to OA or TRG, you admitted that there was something greater than yourself. It might be the Twelve Steps themselves; it might be the group. A group always has a spirit of its own, and a group of recovering people seem to have a very good spirit.

Some of us will have a fairly clear definition of a Higher Power. Many will call our HP God.

The first thing that comes to my mind is light or energy. I believe that energy or light are components of the universe that have some kind of direction. There is a flow of energy. When the American astronauts planted the little metal flag on the moon, it was facing one way. It now faces another, as the minuscule but inexorable pressure of solar radiation has caused it to move. This, to me is a good analogy for what I mean.

I also think of a flowing stream of water, which is a similar analogy. For most of my life I was trying to swim upstream, and not being a salmon, wasn't getting anywhere very much. When I came to recovery, in effect, I learned to quit struggling so, to relax and float, and to let the current carry me. It was really very easy, once I let it happen.

The first time I was aware of HP as God I was in a food court at noon, and like so many of us, in the past I would have eaten well there, and then gone on to lunch. The aromas were tantalizing, and I had been abstinent only for a couple of months. I felt myself being overcome with compulsive hunger. Now, having been something of an agnostic preciously, it was not natural for me to pray, but I had been told to by my sponsor, and I remembered the advice. My prayer went something like this: "God [insert mental reservation about whoever, whatever, or wherever] if you can help me get through this food court without eating, I sure would appreciate it." Then a miracle happened the compulsion to eat left me. Something simillar happened again not long after. It made a believer out of me, of whatever kind I am. The spiritual awakening had begin, because the miracles had started.

Today, I often say, "Miracle are the natural order of things."

The other thing I note is that addicts are egomaniacs. And our egos are where our disease sits. We have to dethrone our diseased egos, and put something there that is more powerful in its place. My sponsor had told me about "Ziff" Ziff is "as if," said quickly. He told me to act "as if" until I saw it work outright. How right he was. Someone once said to me, "Isn't acting 'as if' hypocritical?" I don't think so. I was being asked to trust a process that plenty of people around me had testified had worked for them. It was not something just invented out of thin air. If it worked for others, why not see if it would work for me.

Now, a spiritual awakening, which is the goal of the first three steps is not necessarily a religious event. It is for some, it is not for others. But it is a fact that everyone I have ever known who had recovery had an HP who was real them. Belief is not certainty. There is a saying that religion is for people who want to avoid hell, spirituality is for those who've already been there. I do not disparage religion, or any religion. I have one, myself. In fact, in the days of my active disease, I was very religious, until near the end of that time, when I had grown cynical about the existence of God, or if God existed, whether God cared, or was off somewhere doing something else, and it really didn't matter.

The God I found is within me, and beyond me. I have a little poem which is from a Taoist meditation, with sincere apologies that I have lost the book and can't remember the title or author:

You can't see it with the ordinary eye.
You can't hear it with the ordinary ear.
You can't feel it with the ordinary touch.
You can't separate it from light or dark.
You can't approach it from ahead or behind.

It's like a pyramid of mirrors.
Everywhere you look
You see yourself.

Open the pyramid to see what's inside:
The reflection of You.
To define your life is futile;

Don't get ahead of yourself
Don't get behind yourself
Don't compare yourself.
Just be you and enjoy what's inside.

Consider it:
In this present moment God chooses to be you.

I came to believe that a Power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.



1. Where are you in coming to believe that there is a Higher Power who can restore you to sanity, that is, who is concerned directly with helping you stay abstinent?

2. In the essay, I suggested several analogies or descriptions that I had found helpful in coming to understand my Higher Power. What analogies or descriptions do you have to try to understand your Higher Power? (Note: Just saying that your Higher Power is God really doesn't, by itself, tell us anything. I'm hoping we get some good sharing on this one.)

3. If we have good recovery, we may be somewhat through the shame of the way our compulsive eating has controlled our lives and affected out health and relationships. In the beginning, however, we still have most of that still with us. What kind of faith would you need to believe that there is a Higher Power who/that is directly involved with your recovery?

4. Another Step, eleven, mentions seeking to stay in contact with the God of your understanding through prayer and meditation. What steps can you see taking at this time to begin or to continue to foster that relationship?

5. Many people report that coming to believe in a Higher Power is also a process of raising their consciousness to a new level. The Steps themselves speak of a "spiritual awakening" that happens as a result of working the Steps conscientiously. Do you have some ideas or glimmerings about this sort of thing that you would share with the rest of us?

6. What do you get from the "poem" I attached at the end of the essay?

I have read all the answers you have posted this past week. They were really good, and I think they were truly honest. Please keep up this good work. The Program works when we work it, and that means willingly completing the Twelve Steps with the same honesty and openness that you have begun with.

-- Love, John

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