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:

“Being a part of the group is essential to recovery from our disease of isolation. It means supporting and being supported by our fellow OA members.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 205

Years ago, when I was doing one of those diets in which I drank a meal or two a day rather than eat sensibly, I was approached by what I thought was a huge man at work.  In reality, he was only slightly heavier than I would eventually become.  He saw me mixing a meal shake with milk and asked, “Do you think that would work if I mixed it with ice cream?”  As funny as that is, he was dead serious.  There are things wrong with us that don’t seem wrong inside the cocoon of our own understanding.  In fellowship, we see ourselves in others, and we receive feedback about ourselves.  Even the people that I find least tolerable somehow show me what is wrong with me, even if as a caricature of the disease.

Congregation of any group makes the individual members of that group stronger.  Nature proves it when herds, swarms, flocks and colonies, far more powerful than any individual among them, advance and overwhelm their obstacles.  There is scientific evidence that routine social interaction promotes the building of healthy antibodies in the person of each attendant.  More important, we were created for relationship, and to habitually avoid contact with others is to deprive ourselves of our very purpose.

I learn more by helping others understand.  When I speak, it is my pair of ears that is closest to my mouth, and I am the only one who never misinterprets my dialect or figures of speech.  I need to share my hope, if for no other reason than to rehearse it for my own ears.  The flame of hope tends to flicker and dim when it is not fanned and refueled.  Community is just the oil and wind my lamp needs to keep bright and warm.

From Proverbs 9:

Leave your simple ways and you will live;
walk in the way of understanding.”

Folks in program are fond of quoting Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  This proverb suggests a bold new approach, “Hey, you in the sarcophagus, push up and step out!”

(Spoiler alert!)  I was thinking of the movie Wall-E yesterday and its dramatic representation of mankind’s evolution into self-indulgent blobs.  The reality is that humans have, to a certain extent, done just that on a smaller scale.  There is only one way to stop going the wrong way, and that is to stop going the wrong way, turn, and go a different way.

God, please show me in what “simple ways” I have blindly continued that hamper my walk in the way of understanding.  Relieve me of the bondage of selfish indulgence, self-importance, self-reliance, all the evils of self.  Encourage me to connect with people so You can engage me to serve them according to Your will, in Christ’s name and for His glory, never mine, Amen!

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Isaiah 41:

Isaiah says of even the islands and ends of the earth that tremble at the Lord’s presence,

 each helps the other
and says to his brother, ‘Be strong!’
The craftsman encourages the goldsmith,
and he who smooths with the hammer
spurs on him who strikes the anvil.”

Certainly community relationships are strengthening even for the idol upheld by the work of man, but true help, true security is found in the relationship all others merely model, that is relationship with the Lord.

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

13 For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.”

Heavenly Father, thank You for the ability to trust that You can and will save me from myself, my defects, and my enemies.

From Overeaters Anonymous, “Alone No More”:

“I felt three things in an overwhelming rush that night that I’d never felt before: trust, love, and willingness. Though I am an imperfect human being, often stumbling in my life, I have a heartfelt trust in God, a love for my fellows, and a willingness to live a life of principles, which allow me to abstain—no matter what.”