I am abstinent by the grace of God, one more day at a time.


I got wrapped around my own axle while driving to my meeting place this morning.  Motorists and spilled coffee burned my butt, each figuratively and one literally.  As I sat down in the room in my dampened jeans and like spirit, I found in front of me the pamphlet “Members in Relapse.”  My mind kept looking at that word “relapse” like it was a poisonous snake curled and hissing at me.  I had experienced a lapse in the spiritual fitness on which my serenity is contingent, and a lapse in mental stability that helps keep me from self-indulgence.  I was living, at least in that very moment, in those lapses.  Then a thought dawned: repeated lapses will lead to relapse; get out of the lapse!


In one of the two meetings that followed, I heard struggling fellows refer to themselves by the noun form of their character defects.  For instance, instead of describing their behavior as “witchy” some described themselves as “a witch.”  (A substitution has been made in the lettering.)  I was reminded of my Step Four lessons that taught me, “When we face the guilt that truthfully tells us, ‘You made a mistake,’ we’re freed of shame that falsely tells us, ‘You are a mistake.’”  (12&12 of OA, p. 43)  I was reminded that, although I have failed at some things, I am not a “failure.”  Although I have acted extremely, I am not extreme; though abusive, I am not abuser; though I wore fat, I was not fat.  If I become my defects, I am doomed to repeat them.  My defects do not become me, and as I release myself from their labels, I am freed to become that which I was intended to be.



From Today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

I keep an open mind to having an open mind; the possibilities are endless.”  – For Today, p. 237


In one of the meetings I attended today I heard it said, “I didn’t have to believe in God; I just had to believe that I wasn’t Him.”  I, like the contributor to today’s VOR entry, came into the rooms of OA absolutely convinced of the superiority of my own understanding.  Admitting I had no monopoly on God took time and work through the Steps, but it has paid off by reshaping my understanding, evolving my willingness, and developing my character.  Relationships went similarly.  I got along splendidly with anyone willing to comply with my will, wish and way.  Who wouldn’t get along with bobbing heads?  The realization that my way was toxic and self-service was detrimental served as a prying tool that jimmied open my mind long enough for some sanity to seep in.  My relationships then began improving as I lifted my fist from off the necks of those around me.  Oh, Lord, please wedge open my mind so that You can keep administering me peace and possibility!



From Proverbs Chapter 28:

3 A ruler[a] who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.


The meaning of this proverb seems obvious enough to me: oppressive rulers beat down and drown out those they are responsible to nurture.  What I found interesting today was in the footnote I have apparently overlooked in the past.  The Bible translators indicate some doubt concerning the term for “a ruler,” which might also have been translated “a poor man.”  I don’t know how the word for one could be confused for the other, but I can say that I have been the “poor man” acting the part of the “ruler” in my life, as I mentioned in response to the VOR entry today.  The Napoleonic stormy little fat man ranting about his will, wish and way does very little competent overseeing whether he is appointed to rule or just entrusted to serve as sort of a peer-supervisor.  It occurs to me that the peer is a more oppressive ruler than one established by order or nature, because of his familiar state with those around him.  He (and I mean “I”) is threatened by his warped valuing system and only able to assert his superiority by stepping on the humanity he perceives is beneath him.  It is a spiritual poverty that makes a man behave in this way, and every time I return to this defect like a dog to its vomit or a washed sow to the mud*, I can be assured that it is because I have turned away from the flow of God’s provision for my spirit that I have deteriorated to such a state.  I need to live the life of the Prodigal, marking my empty spirit as the call for turnabout, and return to Father to be counted among His servants.  Every time I do, He runs to me, puts His ring on my finger, robes me in His finest, and provides for my every need according to His riches.  With a providing Father this gracious, it seems insanity to sneak away.



From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Chronicles 10:


1 Kings 12 first told the story recounted here in 2 Chronicles 10.  (See entry for 12-03-2011.)  Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was just such an insecure little man as has been described in the previous parts of my devotion today.  Not knowing what to do, he consulted his peers rather than the trusted servants of his father or the God they served.  He reacted to his country’s pleas for an easier way with severity and abuse.  “14 …he followed the advice of the young men and said, ‘My father made your yoke heavy; I will make it even heavier. My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.’”  The result was rebellion, and Israel was divided.  What a surprise that insecure ranting and raving only serves to isolate and alienate the tyrannical from his victims, and splinters the lives and homes of those who were subjected to him!


Enter Step Eight: “Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.



From The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, page 12:

In all of life, as well as with the food, we were irrational, unbalanced, insane. If our willpower and determination couldn’t change our unsuccessful way of living, what could? Clearly a Power greater than ourselves had to be found if we were to be restored to sanity.




Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” – 3 John 2





*2 Peter 2:22, “Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’[Prov. 26:11] and, ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.’