As most of you know I suffer from a sugar addiction, compulsive overeating, and depression - not necessarily in that order. One thing in common among all of these is that these conditions, diseases as you will, all steal my hope. When I'm in the food - I can see no way out, when I'm depressed I can see nothing but despair; my hope disappears. Overeaters Anonymous has given me that hope back.
OA is a way of life and it has changed mine for the better. Not only does this program help me battle my compulsion to eat it also helps me battle my depression. How you may ask? By supporting and emphasizing my relationship with a Power Greater Than Myself, my Higher Power. The program teaches us in steps 2 and 3 that this Higher Power can be anything really even the fellowship of OA itself, I just need to accept that I need that Higher Power. My Higher Power is the infinite love and light of the Universe Herself and She is conspiring to shower me and us all with blessings. This is where my hope originates from.
I have to admit I have a bit of a thing for hope, because you know, my name. Hope is such a wonderful thing. That feeling deep down inside that not only is everything going to be alright, but it is as it should be right now in this moment. That's what hope means to me - the knowledge that I'm right where I need to be on my journey of self-discovery. Right now and I hope for many years to come - that journey follows along the 12 steps.
While in program I've come to a new understanding of my Higher Power and thence strengthened my relationship with Her. I've come to a deeper feeling of hope in my life. This program has taught me and blessed me in so many ways and I've come to rediscover great hope in my life. The tools are a form of hope for me - working with those tools is consciously acknowledging hope in my life. Every time I take time out of my day to pray, meditate, write, read my literature, or call my sponsor, I see hope - hope in action.
Nature is a huge example of hope in my life - it's also the major way I connect with my Higher Power outside of meetings. That connection, whether it be in nature or in a meeting with my OA fellows is in and of itself hope. I see my Higher Power in the sunlight dappling through the trees, the wind blowing gently (or not so gently) through the air, rain falling from the sky, and in the eyes of my OA fellows and my family and friends. I find hope when writing on this blog in my own words - words revealed through my introspection and connection with my Higher Power.
Hope is all around me if only I'm in the right mindset and openness to see it. The program tells me I need to be Honest, Open, and Willing. I find hope in all these actions. I must be honest about my struggles, open to my Higher Power, and willing to accept and see hope in my life. Honesty, Openness, and Willingness are keys to success in program, but I think they bring are necessary in every aspect of my life. That's why this program is a way of living, not just a way of working - I don't just work the steps anymore, I live them.
A lot of this is stuff I realized working with my sponsor. This relationship has given me such hope in my life - hope that I can get through one day at time, hope that I can beat back the depression, hope that I can live the program to the best of my ability and beat this disease of compulsive overeating. Is it easy? No - it's simple, but for me it's not possible without hope.
I see hope in so much around me. I find hope inside myself and my relationship with my Higher Power. I see hope in the actions of my OA fellows, because let's be honest, just showing up is an act of hope.
One of my greatest experiences of hope every day comes to me in the Serenity Prayer. This prayer is such a mainstay of the program that I often just recite it by rote without being mindful of the words, but when I take that time to really listen and hear what I'm saying I see such hope. "God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." - this tells me that there are things out there that I have no control over and that's okay because my Higher Power has it handled. "The courage to change the things I can....." - this tells me that I can change some things and that I need courage from my Higher Power to do that - it also tells me that my Higher Power is willing and able to give me that courage - it exists deep down in my soul in that connection with the Universe - I just need to find it and use it. "And the wisdom to know the difference..." - once again I'm being given permission to fall back on my Higher Power to find wisdom to know the difference between what I can control and what I can't. Talk about an experience of hope - this prayer, for me, is all about hope. I use it as a reminder that I'm not alone - I have the support and love of a Power Greater Than Myself to get me through anything life throws at me - that's hope.
Hope is a blessing in my life and I'm very lucky to have that daily reminder in my very name. It's sort of ironic that I have this name being that I live with depression. Perhaps that is the Universe's way of keeping me around and helping me to as Jared Padalecki's campaign says "Always Keep Fighting".
Part of the fight for me is acceptance - that seems a bit of a oxymoron - fighting and accepting, but accepting that this is not something I can control, accepting that I need a Higher Power to find hope in my day to day life, and then using the tools I am given to keep up the fight - the tools of the program to battle my addictions and the other tools I've developed to battle this depression. I can use both sets of tools to fight for my very life. I have life threatening diseases - compulsive eating, addiction, and depression are all life threatening and let me tell you that was a difficult truth to accept. I need to accept that and use that hope my Higher Power gifts me with to battle on. My story isn't over and I'm so blessed to have a Higher Power that brought me to this program. The twelve steps of OA are changing my life and they are giving me hope.
One Day at a Time is all that is asked of me. Hope supports and helps me through that one day, every day. Hope and the love of a Power Greater Than Myself - the very Universe Herself. Oh how I am truly blessed.