Today:

I am a recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more day at a time.  For details, check out my food journal.

I took my wife shopping yesterday.  We spent so much time at one shopping center, we ate two meals there.  Fortunately for me, the two places we ate were those at which I am familiar enough with the menu to have made previously acceptable selections according to my plan of eating.  I spent most of the time on fitting room lounge chairs, but helping Momma feel special was warming for me as well.

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.” — For Today, p. 154

Yesterday I got an email from an OA member who is just developing his abstinence.  He mentioned that he thought abstinence was somehow related to adding good things to his plan of eating, and not just denying himself his indulgences.  At first, I was turned off by what I considered a gross misunderstanding of the word “abstinence,” which any dictionary would prove means self-denial, sacrifice, self-restraint, or forbearance from harmful practice or substance.  As I mulled it over, however, I began to think of our behavior as more of a see-saw than a sliding scale, either up or down, healthful or harmful, moving toward or arriving at either one or the other.   I am either under the flow of God’s blessing or I am not.  With the actions I take and the food I eat, I am either doing myself harm or good.  The same can be said for interactions with others.  If I think I will avoid doing either harm or good by disassociation, then I am isolating, neglecting the needs of others and my own need for social contact and thereby doing harm.  There is no clutch-engaged life.  Coasting is just the slow death of forward progress.  So when I cease my habits of self-indulgence, I have to turn instead to something else.  Normally in OA we call this “something else” a “plan of eating,” which we develop and use along with the other tools of recovery to build our “recovery,” of which “abstinence” is definitely a part.  For instance, when I am not eating pastries, I am eating Kale and cranberries.  The see-saw is up, not down!  It is apparently not wrong to say that while you elim-i-nate the negative you’ve got to “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” just like Johnny Mercer sang in 1945!

The point of the VOR entry is that in weighing my cravings against what God has intended for me, there is just no comparison.  God wants for me more than I want for myself!  He wants to keep me totally uplifted into the see-saw up position, that I “may have life, and may have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 ASV)  Living life His way is far superior in every way to living it according to my insatiable lusts for filthy poisons.  Why not be totally convinced of this, so when temptation comes, the answer is already decided?  God’s value of me proves I am worth whatever it takes!  My abstinence comes with His abundance attached.

Note: The official Statement on Abstinence and Recovery of Overeaters Anonymous (OA) can be found  on their website at www.OA.org.

 

From Proverbs 14:

22 Do not those who plot evil go astray?
But those who plan what is good find[Or show] love and faithfulness.”

Would I say that I had ever really plotted evil?  Sure I have!  I planned my trips to the grocery store, convenience mart, or vending machine.  I raided my kids’ coin banks for snack money when I was out.  I orchestrated time alone to eat the entire package of crunchies or sweeties without having to share.  There is no way to describe it but to admit I had plotted my evil.  This is a demonstration of the importance of pre-planning my actions and menu to reflect “what is good.”  The course for a compulsive overeater is pre-programmed by repetition.  The “plan” added to abstinence from the pre-programming plus a total dependence on God’s power to keep me on that plan far from the stray path is what it takes.

The notation of the alternate word “show” for “find” in the second half of the verse indicates that Bible scholars debate whether the original wording meant to convey a discovery or a demonstration, but I assert that it is both, as though one totally committed to a plan of what is good coincidentally falls into a pattern of love and faithfulness.  If God is Love, and He is, then it stands to reason that going His way would prove to be the way of Love.

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Psalm 86 through 88:

On the wall where I do my morning devotional readings, I have a sign that quotes Psalm 86, verse11:

“Teach me your way, O Lord,
and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.”

That petition for enlightened integrity takes on even greater meaning when read in the context of David’s prayer that begins with:

Hear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you.
You are my God; save your servant
who trusts in you.
Have mercy on me, O Lord,
for I call to you all day long.”

This is a confession of depletion, dependence and devotion.  David’s example reminds me that a once-and-done morning devotional will not do.  “All day long” I need to call on the Lord, to remain, to abide, to maintain the connection I establish upon waking.  It is when my heart becomes divided against what I declare in those moments of connection that threaten to separate me from the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God and the power to love others that always accompanies such a relationship.  The disguises of my destroyer are “want to,” “feel like,” and “deserve.”  I have marked them with warning flags and I am on alert against them, in an effort to keep myself from following their way to dividing my heart, compromising my integrity, and leading me astray.

Psalm 88 contains another indication that prayerful connection is to go from awakening to awakening, all through each day, and not just in a moment designated for prayer.

O Lord, the God who saves me,
day and night I cry out before you.”

 …I call to you, O Lord, every day;
I spread out my hands to you.”
13 But I cry to you for help, O Lord;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.”

Dear Father, today, may I celebrate my emptiness so You can fill me completely.  I make myself nothing so You can be my everything!  Only in letting go of all of me can I fully experience all of You.  Make Your home in me and keep me ever diligent to share Your loving-kindness with others, especially those who are struggling in pitfalls through which You have brought me.

 

From The “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 87-88:

“As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day ‘Thy will be done.’ We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves.”

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