by Christina Fisanick Greer, Ph.D.

For so many people in contemporary western culture, step two work can be incredibly challenging. Many of us believe that perhaps SOMETHING is out there greater than us, but we don’t really know what. More troubling, we have limited access to a Higher Power of our own understanding in part because we do not make room and time in our lives for contemplation.

In fact, those of us who suffer from food addiction would rather avoid the quiet altogether because of the demons that begin to materialize in the mist.

Unfortunately, these efforts to build a wall between our mortal beings and our spiritual selves hinder our recovery.

Step Two is all about coming to a better understanding of that relationship and making the first movements towards integrating spirituality into your recovery plan.

For this step, I will be using the questions from the OA site.

How do you feel about this Higher Power you’re going to be depending on with Steps 3 and beyond? What is your experience with God or with a Higher Power of some kind? (If you struggle, see the additional resources at the end of this lesson, below.)

I stopped believing in a Christian God a very long time ago. In fact, I am not sure I ever believed, but that recognition came as I was standing in front of a congregation with a lit candle pledging my allegiance to God. I felt so awful looking out at that sea of hopeful faces. I felt like I was betraying them. Not long after, I left the church and went in search of the G(g)od of my understanding.

That moment at the alter was decades in coming. I was raised in a home that believed in a Christian God, but we did not ever go to church. Both of my parents had gone to Sunday school as children, but no regular religious practice ever stuck with them. But they did and still do believe that there is a God who punishes and a God who saves.

As a child I wondered what the whole thing was all about it. I read the bible for the first time at age nine, which you might expect that even for an advanced reader like me was no mean feat. Of course, I understand very little of it. To remedy my confusion and desire to learn more, I started going to church with everyone. I went to every single Christina church in my town. In fact, I was even baptized at 17. But none of it ever stuck. I could never latch on. I couldn’t feel what they felt.

In my small town, though, there weren’t any other real option beyond Christianity. We did have a Hare Krishna community about a half an hour away, but they were looked down on and shunned so much that exploring their religious practices never seemed like an option.

And then one day I was introduced to meditation, and it changed my life. I learned through that contemplative practice that my Higher Power was Mother Earth and that we were all stardust. For years I had struggled mightily with a fear of death (starting at age eight) and accepting that we are all stardust and therefore we never really die was such an amazing breakthrough for me. I no longer felt afraid, and I was able to table into what many religions call Source. The Source of all that we are. I am closest to Source while meditating but also at the beach. The ocean is so much bigger than me that I feel humble in its presence.

I believe that Source (the Universe) is judgement free. Things do not happen for a reason. Things just happen. It is what we make of what happens to us that decides our fate and how we feel about living.

My beliefs edge quite a bit towards Budhism, and I am a big fan of Ganesha, the Hindu elephant deity. He likes to break down barriers and is considered a master of success. I do not pray to him, but I do value his energy and what he represents. I have built a meditation room in my basement with Ganesha on the wall, along with a Tibetan singing bowl and other useful tools to get me in the zone.

My eclectic spirituality is essential to my recovery. When I go days without meditating, I lose my connection with my Source and my Higher Self. Being disconnected from both (which are one in the same) leads to lapses. The closer I stay to both, the stronger my recovery.

Can you believe that your concept of a Higher Power is ABLE (and willing) to restore you to sanity?

Yes, I believe that. I believe that staying in close contact with Source and my Higher Self is a key part of remaining sane.

Did you know you weren’t sane?

Not for a long, long time. It took a massive awakening over three years ago to help me understand that. You can read about my transformation here.

If you can’t believe it yet, what will it take for you to “come to believe?”

I am there.

I hope that my thoughtful responses to these questions are useful to you as you continue on your 12-step journey. Please share. I’ll listen.

If you want to read more writing like this, please see my other books on the subject of food addiction: The Optimistic Food Addict’s Recovery Journal and Activity Workbook and The Optimistic Food Addict: Recovering from Binge Eating Disorder.

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