From Atheism to Spirituality: 4 Ways to Find Unconditional Support

2017-01-04

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I was raised atheist. My parents never mentioned God or a higher power and even my grandparents hadn’t been raised with a religion. Growing up, I learned about spirituality through my friends and their families. Without ever realizing it, I was always searching to define my own version of a higher power. I have come to discover that I’m a deeply spiritual person and that spirituality and organized religion are not the same thing. Many people find God after extreme hardship and trauma, I found mine through my battle with and recovery from anorexia.

After a long, painful experience with the disease in my early 20s, I finally surrendered and checked myself into an eating disorder recovery clinic. The place was filled with people from all walks of life, many of whom I would never have met or grown close to otherwise. My roommate was a devout muslim and one of my closest friends there was a born again christian. Although the clinic was non denominational, there was a lot of talk about God. The patients were encouraged to pray and make room for their own version of a higher power to support them. All the God talk was new to me but I was so desperate for healing that I was open to it for the first time in my life. I began attending the patient-organized daily prayer circles and speaking to my own higher power to ask for help through my recovery.

The six weeks in rehab were hard, but that was only the beginning. Reintegrating into the outside world again after I was discharged was even harder. I went back to school and work immediately and I had to rely on a lot of discipline to maintain my recovery. It had become first priority for me and I was so determined to get my life on track that I was willing to do whatever was necessary to stay healthy. Without the support of my community in the clinic, I had to seek it elsewhere through phone calls with other patients I had met there and by attending 12 step meetings in my city.

At one of my first twelve step meetings I found the woman who would later become my sponsor for the next 8 years. The very first, and most valuable thing she taught me was how important a role prayer would play in my continued recovery. Of all the useful tools I developed during that time, I continue to find that prayer has been the most valuable. Here’s how my higher power works for me:

1. Faith

There is no doubt in my mind that there is a higher power out there who is a far better decision maker than I’ve ever been. I may never truly understand why things have happened in my life the way that they have but what I’ve come to realize is that I don’t have to understand everything. Developing my faith and trust in a higher power has given me a healthy dose of humility in my human-ness and as a result, I know that most things are not in my control. I don’t need to have all the answers, I just need an unwavering faith that I’m living this life and on this path for a divine reason.

Developing my faith and trust in a higher power has given me a healthy dose of humility in my human-ness

2. Surrender

In many situations, there isn’t always an immediate clear course of action. But for all situations, prayer is always available, sometimes it is the only thing I can do. Turning my disease over to my higher power lightens my daily load. Believing that I don’t have to take on all the burden alone helps me sleep better at night and eases my fears on a daily basis.

3. Stillness

No matter what is going on or how frustrated, hopeless or exhausted I feel, I can always take a moment to ask for help. The flip side of this is that I also need to make time to listen for the answers. Sometimes I practice seated meditation, sometimes I use long walks or do yoga as my meditation and ask my higher power for answers during these times of quiet and stillness. Another thing I often do is ask a question before going to sleep and I often wake up with a newfound sense of clarity.

No matter what is going on or how frustrated, hopeless or exhausted I feel, I can always take a moment to ask for help.

4. Gratitude

Thanking my higher power and offering love feels amazing. I do this every day. I say thank you for my food, for my health, family, and everything in between. It reminds me of how blessed I am and it feels good to offer thanks to a power greater than myself who has done so much for me.

Do I wish I could have skipped anorexia and gained self awareness and success in music at an early age? Hell yes, of course I do! But for some reason, in this lifetime, I was given this disease to overcome, and the gifts I’ve developed from overcoming it have been hard earned and priceless.

1 Comment

  • Lisa Miller says:

    Corina- thank you for such a great article. I am also Buddhist and in recovery from anorexia. I will definitely be sharing this article. Well done. You are a great writer.

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