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

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Clearly, if we are to live free of the bondage of compulsive eating, we must abstain from all foods and eating behaviors which cause us problems.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, pp. 2-3

The contributor summarized the revelation this way:

“Now it begins to make sense: anything that causes problems in my life holds me in bondage. Abstinence opens that prison door and makes all of the miracles of recovery possible.”

The word “clearly” at the beginning of this statement signals a conclusion, but I am certainly glad it was written at the beginning of the book and not the end. I know I am not alone in a group comprised mainly of instant-gratification addicts when I say that if I had to wait until the end of the book to get this, I might never have begun. “Clearly” here could mean “undoubtedly,” “obviously,” or “Oh yea, verily!” My disease would eventually contest this statement, hissing contrary arguments in my ear, “surely not,” “total abstinence is overkill,” “extremism is for zealots.” Because of the mental turbulence this argument causes, I am glad for the “Duh!” anchor on this statement, and for the many other slogans and readings that keep Abstinence at the forefront of OA’s purpose and message of hope. “Clearly” there is no other way to shake off the obsession than to break free and take the Twelve Steps!

From Proverbs 8:

1 Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?”

6 Listen, for I have worthy things to say;
I open my lips to speak what is right.”

Here is the “clearly,” of Wisdom’s invitation. She seems to say, “I am giving you gems here! When will you get it?” On freedom’s side of bondage, I can look back and say, for every instance when I questioned God, “How long, oh Lord?” He was undoubtedly wondering the same thing. When will we put an end to our resistance and just do what we know God’s Wisdom calls for us to do? How long will we continue to go our own way, though we have proved it over and over again to be to our harm? Clearly, the Way of Wisdom works out best for those who travel on it.

“Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will!”

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Isaiah 40:

This chapter contains the promise of hope in redemption.

2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for”

All four Gospels mark this chapter as a prophecy of John the Baptist, when Isaiah describes him in verse 2 as a voice of one calling for preparation for the way of the Lord. In verses 10 and 11, Isaiah introduces a new concept, the idea that men will be able to see their God, among them, loving and caring for them, as a shepherd tends his flock. It is a promise of relationship with One who was thought of as untouchable, far off.

The chapter goes on to relate something of God’s omnipotence as Isaiah describes Creation, and introduces Christ by inviting the question, “Who?” In the many phrases that contain that word, the sentiment is, “Who was God’s companion at the forming of the earth?” It reminds me of a large part of today’s chapter of Proverbs, when the Spirit of Wisdom was described as God’s other attendant at Creation. The resulting picture is one of the complete Trinity, with Father constructing all, Jesus the Son at His right hand, and the Holy Spirit diligently speeding wisdom and understanding to keep all Creation flowing smoothly.

Verse 27 has something special for the “terminally unique” that I found interesting, but the most important part of Chapter 40 is the hope it contains. No matter how deep one’s understanding of God is, or what questions remain, man can rely on the knowledge that He made us, He is powerful enough to sustain us, and He will not abandon those who trust in Him.

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 86:

“For we are now on a different basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust infinite God rather than our finite selves.”