Today:

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

I am altering my action plan somewhat today.  I have preempted my gym workout for a special opportunity to help my friend get to a special appointment.  His rehab is more important than mine.  Besides, I am off today, and may be able to make up my workout this afternoon.  I return to work tomorrow, so I have a lot to do.

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“I have to be careful about my attitude toward anger.” — For Today, p. 90

 

I like the way that sentence is phrased.  My attitude toward anger has historically been like that of a soldier to his rifle: care for it, keep it close, sleep with it in cold temperatures to keep it from freezing.  Never was I without it.  It kept me a safe distance from those who might harm me, and unfortunately everyone else who might not.  It, like the barrier of fat within which I had encased myself, served to insulate me from pain.  In exercising it in outbursts, I was given an illusion of power, the thrill of which served the purpose of momentarily masking my feelings of low self-worth, only to make them worse in the wake of such outrage.

 

Now that I have learned a new way of living through the Twelve Steps, my companionship with rage has outlived its usefulness.  Today, my attitude is one of avoidance if possible, and I am learning to recognize anger and address it before it turns to rage.  Up until very recently, I forced myself to only address this emotion by its monster name “Rage” so that I would be sure to be repulsed by it.  Now that I understand that most rage is just fear with an angry face on, it is much easier to avoid, as my Higher Power is helping me daily address my fears, and slowly eliminating my need to get my way.  If my way is harmful, then why would I want to impose it on anyone else?  If I am following God’s will and sacrificing mine, then how can I get angry when things don’t go according to my way?  I no longer have a will, wish or way if I have truly sacrificed it in preference for God’s.  These thoughts help me accept whatever comes as God’s will, and choose my response accordingly.

 

As the Big Book says, “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us.” (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 66)

 

 

From Proverbs 11:

17 A kind man benefits himself,
but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.”

 

There is a glowing warmth that comes from doing for others that cannot be generated by any amount of rubbing together my own will and whims.  It is a paradox, but helping others helps me.  The Bible says that kindness to one’s enemies heaps burning coals on their head, which used to be the only motivation for me to go out of my way for some.  But as I continue to develop the habit of self-sacrifice, not just for the sake of laying me down, but in preference of lifting another up, I am gaining more satisfaction of fulfilling a purpose, like an odd-shaped piece has finally found its place in the puzzle.

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Ecclesiastes 7 through 12:

In Ecclesiastes 7, Solomon has something to say about anger, one directly and one indirectly, but both are useful to me.

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit,
for anger resides in the lap of fools.”

18b The man who fears God will avoid all extremes.”

 

While that bit about avoiding extremes was a pretty pointy jab at my life prior to recovery, the close of the chapter also rang my bell.  It reminded me of a realization I had to make in order to let go of my hold on directorship of my world: that is I wasn’t made wrong, I have just chosen wrong since creation, and selected a path that veered from the “very good” God made.

7:29 This only have I found: God made mankind upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes.”

 

Solomon compared various lifestyles and decision paradigms, and found in them the same futility he lamented in yesterday’s reading.  However, he repeatedly noted that God’s judgment awaits all humankind, and that the wise would avoid the ways of the foolish.  The book closes with this passage:

13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil.”

 

From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 91:

“Our first objective will be the development of self-restraint.  This carries a top priority rating.  When we speak or act hastily or rashly, the ability to be fair-minded and tolerant evaporates on the spot.  One unkind tirade or one willful snap judgment can ruin our relation with another person for a whole day, or maybe a whole year.  Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen.  We must avoid quick-tempered criticism and furious, power-driven argument.  The same goes for sulking or silent scorn.  These are emotional booby traps baited with pride and vengefulness.  Our first job is to sidestep the traps.  When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. For we can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic.”

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