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:

“Here we experience the great truth that when we let go of our need to control people and simply allow our Higher Power to serve others through us, we receive an abundance of joy and strength.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 106

Service doesn’t start and stop with the meeting rooms.  Anyone can stay abstinent in an OA meeting, although folks who bring coffee cups branded with popular binge-food franchises, filled with sugar and cream enough to build a birthday cake can be a little distracting.  Still, “practicing these principles in all our affairs” means we begin small within the safe, secure, loving fellowship but, as we become able, take our recovery with us out those doors and into our lives.  I give a great big “Amen” to the VOR contributor’s statement, “The hardest place to practice these principles has been at home, with my family.”  No one knows the smell of my dirty laundry like those who live in my house.  I don’t know that I will ever fully master the principles of spiritual recovery in everything at all times, but I am progressing, and that is the idea.  My insatiable need for control is really the main problem, and service does seem to be an effective antidote.

God, hone me to be a useful tool, and employ me to Your purposes, not just when I can fit You in between my plans, but always!

From Proverbs 14:

Stay away from a foolish man,
for you will not find knowledge on his lips.

The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.”

One of several recurring themes in this chapter is the responsibility of the faithful to filter out evil influences.  This has been on my mind a lot lately.  I have had occasion to study on various behavioral modification techniques, one of which is hypnotism.  One of the things I learned about it is that the human mind is always in some state of reception, as if we are constantly “hypnotized” on some level whether we realize it or not.  Recognizing this has made me far more alert to the influences I tolerate.  Marketing institutions are keenly aware this, and they make a science out of programming you and me with their messages.  It is for this reason that I listen to positive, encouraging, God-affirming music, I refrain from allowing myself to engage in negative self-talk, and I try very hard to keep from speaking ill of others.  The reality of neuropathology is that what we perceive most often we associate into our attitude, and what behaviors we repeat most regularly become part of our programming.  I have heard our brains compared to a dirt pile.  When it was new, and rain first fell on it, the water could travel down its sides in any pattern the forces of nature might choose for it, but the second time, the water would move along the path of least resistance in the channels dug by the first rain.  So it is with our behavior.  What we do most, we do best.  That will continue until those channels are acted on by a more powerful force.  We, in Twelve-Step recovery, call this force our “Higher Power.”  That One is God.  May you find Him now!

When my channels seem like roaring rivers, and moving them seems impossible, I recall that mine is a Higher Power who moves mountains.  He built them, and can shake them with His very presence.  I heard a new song that reflects on Jesus’ promise to His followers in Matthew 17:20, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. ”


Only a Mountain

by Jason Castro

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Jeremiah 10:

This is what the Lord says:

‘Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.’”

No one is like you, O Lord;
you are great,
and your name is mighty in power.”

I took this as further affirmation of the previous meditation points. The reference to terror seemed a digression but, in actuality, extends the point.  Our fears and anxieties are what drive our addictive behaviors, and even those are often projections based on the resentments in our past, the ways we “learned” from the development of our pain rather than our faith.

The mid-section of this chapter speaks of God’s affliction as an incurable injury, a grieved loss of His tent, an allegory for His Body, and for the loss of those who attended it, the shepherds and priests of His Tabernacle.  I was moved to consider my paralyzed friend.  How the ropes of his body have been incurably broken, and how he depends on those who are willing to carry him and his belongs wherever he goes.  So it is with God, Who relies on His faithful to carry Him and His message of grace wherever it will be taken.

The last part of the chapter contains a reflection of Jeremiah, that I will adopt as my prayer for today:

23 I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own;
it is not for man to direct his steps.
24 Correct me, Lord, but only with justice—
not in your anger,
lest you reduce me to nothing.”

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 37:

“But there was always the curious mental phenomenon that parallel with our sound reasoning there inevitably ran some insanely trivial excuse for taking the first drink. Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check. The insane idea won out. Next day we would ask ourselves, in all earnestness and sincerity, how it could have happened.”

(For accountability’s sake, the details of my eating are posted in my online food log.)