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


I spent some valuable time with visiting family yesterday and, as stressful as a chattering houseful can be (especially when they break out the binge-foods), I enjoyed most of it quite a lot.  I swam shirtless in a community pool for the first time in decades, and was not overly conscious about my appearance.  That was liberating!  Today, some of my family will visit our church, and we will lunch together afterwards.  I am looking forward to it.


From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Many of us thought about suicide. Some of us tried it.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 11


In addition to eating recklessly, I smoked cigarettes for many years.  When people pointed out the Surgeon General’s warning, I would dismiss them with a snide quip about dying of either this or that, or how nobody wants to live forever, or some such remark that had its roots in my own self-loathing.  The truth is that we, who eat like there is no tomorrow, usually hope there won’t be.  I did not demonstrate the care for my body it required because I did not care for myself.  One of my binge foods used to have horrible consequences, but I would eat it by the two-pound bagful, declaring that I didn’t care if it killed me, I would have it because I wanted it, deserved it, didn’t deserve health, or some combination of those.  The truth is compulsive overeating is a slow suicide with food bullets, a matter of life or death, although there is, as yet, no Surgeon General’s warning on snack cakes or corn chips.


Largely because of how it has affected my life and some of those around me, I am an advocate for suicide prevention.  One of the most fruitful points made in suicide intervention is that almost no one wants to die; a suicidal person just doesn’t want to go on living as things are, and sees no hope for change.  That was exactly how I felt about food and eating before I came into the rooms of recovery!  I was hopelessly obese, with high blood pressure, gastro esophageal reflux disease, all sorts of munchy-related malady.   The prospect of working to change any of that was too overwhelming, so I medicated it and waited for it to kill me, and had another bite.


This idea that “many of us thought about suicide,” seems ironic.  More appropriate might be, “many of us realized we were committing suicide, although some refused to admit it.”  The hope offered by the recovery represented in the rooms, and the shortened prospect of “one day at a time” combined to make possible what once seemed impossible.  If they could do it, so could I, and if I could do it, so could YOU!


From Proverbs 15:

The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life,
but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”


After writing my response to the VOR, I considered the possibility that a reader might take offense at being grouped with the suicidal, not having made the same observation or objecting to it totally.  I considered amending it, but then I came across this verse.  I remembered how a family member said to me after I lost 140 pounds, “I’m glad you did something.  I was getting worried about you.  But if you’ll remember I never said anything about it!”  I remember thinking, “Great!  You were content to watch me die, and never attempt to intervene?”  I know calling my disease a “disease” is distasteful to some who have it, and painting death with a broad black brush even more unsavory.  But, as one recovering from food-enabled soul-pollution, I have a duty to “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” (Proverbs 24:11)


Further confirmation came from a couple other verses in today’s reading:


24 The path of life leads upward for the wise
to keep him from going down to the grave.[b]


32 He who ignores discipline despises himself,
but whoever heeds correction gains understanding.”


From my reading through the Bible, currently in Isaiah 46:

God apparently understands that mankind has a limited attention span.  He is constantly reminding His people, through His prophets, that He will keep His promises, both of deliverance for the faithful and destruction for the idolater.  In this chapter, He even hints at the fact that it is He who will facilitate righteousness and bring it to His children.  His salvation is sure!  There is no better way to conclude an emphasis on “I can’t” than with a great big “God can!”


Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”


“What I have said, that will I bring about;
what I have planned, that will I do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
you who are far from righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
it is not far away;
and my salvation will not be delayed.”


Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the security of knowing You keep Your promises.  While the love of mankind may fail us, and the love of ourselves is hopeless, Your love endures forever!  You are not far away from those who seek You, and Your salvation and righteousness are gifts, not constructs of our own power or will.


From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 50 and 51:

“In the face of collapse and despair, in the face of the total failure of their human resources, they found that a new power, peace, happiness, and sense of direction flowed into them. This happened soon after they wholeheartedly met a few simple requirements. Once confused and baffled by the seeming futility of existence, they show the underlying reasons why they were making heavy going of life. Leaving aside the drink question, they tell why living was so unsatisfactory. They show how the change came over them. When many hundreds of people are able to say that the consciousness of the Presence of God is today the most important fact of their lives, they present a powerful reason why one should have faith.”