Voices of Recovery today quotes Overeaters Anonymous, 2nd ed., p. 230, “With the compulsive overeater, not only do you get back to a normal weight, but, more important, your life is changed and in a sense you’re ahead of where you were before you became a compulsive overeater.”  Last night, while describing the events of my day to my darling wife, I confessed in astonishment that I am gradually becoming someone I could respect.  It is breakthroughs like this that make me grateful for my disease.  Without the disease, I would not have sought solution; without the search, I would not have found the 12 Steps; without the 12 Steps, my so-called spirituality would still be confined to my head and heart, with no tread for its rubber to meet my road.  God, thank You for using all my life, its good parts and bad, to keep me reaching out for You!

Proverbs 12:15 warns, “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.”  This seems to tell me that when I am in my folly, I won’t know it.  This is a grave statement considering all the warnings in Proverbs about folly leading to death, and wisdom being the way to light and life.  As self-absorbed as I can be when in my disease, I have to rely on my Higher Power, renewing my submission to Him, and subjecting myself to the honest, loving accountability of fellowship among others who do the same.  The following verse (v. 16) contains a practical how-to statement, “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”  God, be for me my fulfilling perfector and my redeemer, so I do not have to find my worth in the acceptance of my fellows.  With Your grace as my measure of worth, help me to overlook the insult I used to find in the criticism of others, and let it instead shape me and hone me into a more useful tool for Your purposes.  “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”  (Proverbs 27:17)

1 Samuel Chapter 8 is a lesson in integrity of lordship and an example of peer-comparison leading to discontentment.  As Samuel grew old, his sons proved to be a disappointment, and Israel begged him to anoint a king, so they could be like other nations.  Even though Samuel warned them that this request was a rejection of God as their king and would bring a new brand of slavery to their lives, they insisted. “No!’ they said, ‘We want a king over us.  Then we will be like all the other nations…”  God, keep me focused on pleasing You rather than trying to measure up to the people around me or my understanding of their expectations.  May I never do, say, or buy a thing just to be noticed, accepted, or liked, but may I always serve You only, by lifting my hands to serve those You would have me help.  My King, may my strength and resource serve to honor You and not me!

The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew from society, from life itself.  As we became subjects of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm, the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down.  It thickened, ever becoming blacker.  Some of us sought out sordid places, hoping to find understanding companionship and approval.  Momentarily we did – then would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face the hideous four horsemen – Terror, Bewilderment, Frustration, Despair.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 151)

Post Script:

Yesterday, I had one of those spiritual experiences we read about in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous.  I was dealing with the events of the past week, the deflation of my plans for the next few years, the hollowing-out of an office where I found so much of my purpose and mission over the past couple years, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead.  All of a sudden, my new programming chugged in, like a smoking clutch on a worn transmission – and I was reminded that God allows me to live one moment in time, one day at a time; and that all my past and future belong to Him.  They are not mine to mourn or to fear; they are His!  He brought me, by strange paths to this point in my life, and He will guide me through stranger paths in my unaccounted tomorrows, but my job is to live the most effective today that I can live.
This Food for Thought meditation reminded me of that.  I thought I would share it.

October 12 – Moving Forward

Time past is gone forever, and we can never go back to it. Even our disease progresses forward. We cannot expect to control it by a return to measures which may have worked for a time in the past. Those methods eventually failed, and trying them again will only bring us to the same point of failure.
The only way to avoid repetitious failure is to move forward creatively as our Higher Power leads us. Each day is a new creation, and each day brings new lessons and opportunities. We build on what is past, but we do not need to repeat it.
Moving forward involves risking what is unknown. The old, familiar rut, depressing as it is, is a known quantity. Moving out of it requires that we have courage and that we trust in One who knows and cares. To move on, we must act. Insights do not produce growth until they are accompanied by specific actions.

May I risk new actions
as You lead me forward.

Quoted from the book Food for Thought.

Find recovery resources at Hazelden.