Abstinent Today:

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

Yesterday I alarmed people by misquoting my health statistics.  I apologize for the mistake.  My blood pressure was not in the 170’s as I wrote, but was 104/72.  (“…When we were wrong, promptly admitted it.”  From Step Ten)

Since I had half the day for a wellness checkup, I decided to take the rest of the day off and spent it with my precious bride, who accompanied me to see a local showing of Bill W, a documentary about the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous.  It was very good, and we both left inspired.

It was ironic to see the amount of caffeine, nicotine, and sugar gobbling that went on in those early AA meetings.  Since OA didn’t come about until 1960, I guess precious few had made the connection between the various pleasure stimuli and the obsession/allergy phenomenon back then.   It reminds me of OAs slow to recognize at first how one toxin is keeping them attached to another.  It makes me wonder what I think I know, about which I am totally wrong.

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Every character defect we have today has been useful to us at some point in our lives, and we need to recognize that fact.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 57

It’s hard to imagine that shouting vulgarity might ever be useful, but that goes to show just how much ugly hurt and pain I was in at the time that defect ruled.  Manipulation is as twisted as the father of lies who strung me along by its power, but I could not have been duped into wielding its blade had I not had some perception that I was inferior and overpowered without it.  Every push I ever perpetrated was a disguise for a pulling inside me that I was not enough or would not get enough.  Self-centered fear!

This is the kind of fear that only comes when the wrong “power” is on the throne.  It is a symptom of idolatry.  When King Self is elevated to highest position and priority, nothing is ever enough, nor can it be since King Self is not only unworthy of the position and knows it, but he is impotent to command the attention, respect, or compliance of any of those he perceives as his subjects.  This makes for an angry, vengeful, frightened little tyrant indeed!  Defects of character useful?  His very crown is as defective as his credential for sitting on his stolen throne.  Defective character is all he possesses!

 

 

From Proverbs 7:

25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths.”

This continuation of Wisdom’s warning against following the adulteress reminds me that the heart is to be guarded, not followed.  The competent caretaker doesn’t allow a toddler to wander where it wants, but confines the rascal to its safe playing area.  “Your heart” in this verse is identified as the one in need of watchful supervision.  It gravitates toward harmful things.

When I was a teenager DeBarge sang a song called The Heart is Not So Smart.  I loved that song!  It was one of the rare occasions when popular entertainment actually brought us a morsel of godly wisdom.

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Jeremiah 33:

The following excerpts do not do justice to the message God brings through Jeremiah in this chapter, but they represent the highpoints of my meditation on it today.  Verse 2 establishes and reminds me of God’s authority and credibility as Creator of all that is.  He swore by the very laws of nature, which He Himself prescribed, that He is faithful to His promise to “make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line” (verse 15) and to keep Him, “The Lord Our Righteousness” (verse 16) on the throne for eternity.  Along with His credential, God commits a promise that He will answer and reveal mysteries to those who call upon Him.  This is why I have no objection to the phrase, “God as we understood Him” in Twelve-Step Program material.  If God is sought, He is faithful to reveal Himself.  It is not to the seeker’s discredit to be unacquainted with His true Name before he is introduced.  Verse 5 indicates that God actually hides Himself from those who relish their wickedness.  Why fault the veiled for their canopy of ignorance when it is the Lord who baffles them with it?   As it was pointed out in the Bill Wilson documentary, we are supposed to thirst; the problem is what we use to satisfy that thirst.

The promise contained in verse 6 (and following) seems to have one purpose: the glory of God.  He promises restoration, peace, health, security, healing, provision, good things, all so that, according to verse 9, He might be praised and honored, loved and respected.  How much of God’s glory have I stolen by taking credit for the good things in this life I enjoy?  If my purpose, by design, was to reflect His majesty by displaying His grace and love, and by returning to Him all credit and praise, how much do I dishonor Him when I cheer louder for a sports team struggling with a pigskin than I do the Creator of the universe and orchestrator of my soul?  What about when I glow with pride at the compliments of others for my healthy appearance rather than to reflect that glory and credit to my re-Creator?

This is what the Lord says, he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the Lord is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’”

5b I will hide my face from this city because of all its wickedness.

‘Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security.”

Then this city will bring me renown, joy, praise and honor before all nations on earth that hear of all the good things I do for it; and they will be in awe and will tremble at the abundant prosperity and peace I provide for it.’”

11b ‘Give thanks to the Lord Almighty,
for the Lord is good;
his love endures forever.’”

These lines that once brought down armies (reference 2 Chronicles 20:21-22) will be the cry of my heart today, “Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; His love endures forever!

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 62:

“Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate.     Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt. So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us! God makes that possible. And there often seems no way of entirely getting rid of self without His aid.”

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

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