I am a recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
I had a trying night. My wife took my parrot Morgan on a walk outside, unaware that her flight feathers had grown in. We lost her! All night, my wife beat herself up with guilt though I tried to be reassuring. I did a fairly decent job reigning in what criticisms rolled around in my head, and was as encouraging as I could be, even announcing my acceptance of God’s will in whatever happens, whether Morgan returns or not. I strongly encouraged (dragged really) her to drink some chamomile tea and go to bed. Meanwhile I put a cage outside with a heat lamp near it so there would be a warm, inviting place for Morgan if she should choose. When I arrived home at 1am, the cage was still empty, and at 7am there was a very fat cat prowling around across the street. I spent the night wondering how a beautifully colored bird would dodge the various manner of owl and hawk that patrol this neighborhood. I found myself trying to speed up the grieving process by moving past denial, not even allowing a chance for the hope of recovery. I misapplied acceptance in much the same way I did when I had decided to accept my obesity. I was fat, would always be fat, and I better just accept myself as fat and eat and do whatever I wanted. Allowing that lie in my life proved to be what rocketed me into a downward spiral that eventually brought me to the rocky substrate of “bottom,” where I finally decided enough was enough, and bouncing back or dying were my only two options.
This morning, as Sun Conures are apt to do, Morgan cried out to the sunrise, and we located her four houses down, in a tall shrub surrounded by vines and branches that were a great refuge from larger birds and out of reach of lower life forms like felines. 🙂
God’s ways are not man’s ways, and His thoughts are not man’s thoughts. I am so glad of that! Otherwise He would have given up on me long ago.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“By using the Steps to guide my behavior, the Traditions to guide our groups, and the Concepts of Service to guide our service bodies, I can weave a beautiful recovery tapestry and increase my chances of staying in recovery.”
Recovery is not guaranteed. It works if you work it. My Higher Power has convinced me that I am worth the work. He has done so much for my restoration, I am certainly not going to throw all that away just for the taste of cake! …or cookies or sweets or ice-cream or nachos, or eating between meals or from multi-serving packages, or indulging in that “forget everything – I’m eating!” emotional tirade. (These are the elements of MY PERSONAL abstinence. I encourage OAs to get their own by doing a thorough Step One inventory, and deciding for themselves what they are willing to live without today, one day at a time.)
The format has been laid out and the tools defined, all I have to do is apply myself to the program, turn my life and the results over to God, and enjoy the results!
From Proverbs 8:
“19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.”
Wisdom, speaking here, reminds me that She is of supreme value and to be sought out, prized, and prioritized over whatever material folly that might glimmer and shine in my eyes of flesh. All creation, and the delicate balance of life is set out and balanced by the design of God’s Holy Spirit of Wisdom. She is pure, and a delight, and I am happy to be the dwelling place of Holy Spirit, Wisdom, my sister. (Isaiah 11:2, Proverbs 7:4, Ephesians 1:17)
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Matthew 16:
The references I noted at the end of the previous paragraph lead up to an explanation of Jesus’ words in this chapter as He speaks to Peter. It is the Spirit of God that reveals to man the reality of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It was the Spirit of God who introduced Simon Peter to the knowledge that Jesus was the anointed One, God with us.
“16 Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ,[b] the Son of the living God.’
17 Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.’”
Jesus told off the Pharisees again, saying again that the “sign of Jonah” would be the only miraculous sign they would get from Him (v. 4). I am intrigued by all the mysterious parallels there are between Jonah in the belly of the sea, Jesus in the belly of the earth, and me in the dark shadowy dungeon of despair from which I have emerged and continue to awaken with God’s fresh mercies each morning. When I add Jonah’s story to that of Lazarus in John 11, I get a spiritual history of me, culminating in the passionate plea from Jesus to a dead man buried in his foul rags, “Come!”
One part of this chapter I simply cannot pass up is Christ’s call to abstinence, only He calls it self-denial, a preference for the spiritual things of God over the various lusts of mankind.
“24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save his life[h] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.’”
The reward in letting go of the pitiful lives to which we once clung is the abundant life God has both now and for eternity! What an amazing thing we were once missing and will miss again if we take back the corpses of our flesh-nature we once laid at the feet of Jesus!
God, I offer myself to You, to build with me and to do with me as You will. Relieve me of the bondage of self. It is temporary in nature where You are permanent. It is low and animalistic where You are high and divine. It is meat and dank rottenness where You are holy and eternal, light and life! Help me live in Your Light and Life, doing Your will and not my own. I have no self to serve, because I truly lay all I am, have and will be at Your feet.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 63:
“The wording was, of course, quite optional so long as we expressed the idea, voicing it without reservation. This was only a beginning, though if honestly and humbly made, an effect, sometimes a very great one, was felt at once.”
*Abstinence began for me on May 11th, 2010.
† For the sake of accountability, the details of my eating are posted in my online food log.