life in the vineAbstinent Today:

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

In case you missed it, I threw a pity party last night and was the only one in attendance.  Please don’t feel left out.  You didn’t miss anything.

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“The amazing secret to the success of this program is just that: weakness.  It is weakness, not strength, that binds us to each other and to a Higher Power and somehow gives us the ability to do what we cannot do alone.  We have discovered that if people in this program love us, it is not for our strength, but our weakness and our willingness to share that with others.”   – Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, p. 5

How ironic this would appear this morning, after such a day as I had yesterday!  Is it possible that one of my self-centered fears is the fear of being perceived as weak?  That kind of insecurity is sure to explain my tendency to stomp around like a dinosaur.  The problem is that once such posturing does its job and forces everyone to flee, there is nothing left for ol’ Rex but loneliness.  No wonder the poor idiot is extinct!  That’s no way to thrive.

There is something I’ve learned about spiritual attacks: when one steps forward from the ranks, one makes a target of himself.  I must have done something right in the last few days to be pelted by the enemy as I have been.  My response to this recent attack, however, was too little too late.

 

 

From Proverbs 18 (NRSV):

1 The one who lives alone is self-indulgent,
showing contempt for all who have sound judgment.”

Retreating into isolation is a coward’s way, and I am ashamed to have gone so long in hiding.  Certainly to recognize that I am harming others is a positive step, but to give up trying to love is backward, foolish, and according to this proverb, self-indulgent.  Self-indulgence is never in one’s self-interest, as was pointed out Friday.  So, retreat is harmful to them, me, and the Spirit for whom I am called to stand firm. (Daniel 11:32, 1 Corinthians 16:13, Galatians 5:1, Ephesians 6:13)

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in John 15 (NRSV):

I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”

10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”

Abiding in a vine gives a branch life-sustaining sap that empowers and enriches the branch to grow, to thrive, and to bear fruit.  When a branch breaks itself off from the vine, and retreats into isolation, it becomes a dead stick, useless for anything but fire kindling.  This word “abide” seems to have a life-giving connotation, like “remain” wouldn’t quite cover it.  It is not enough just to stay in close proximity to, or refrain from departure from, the One who gives life.  Abide suggests an intimate connection, like the veins and arteries abide in the heart, and so, by the nature of their life-giving conduit, bear sustenance to all the extremities, clearing away evil deposits and breathing vitality back into the rosy flesh that so desperately needs its drink of life.

Root of Jesse, True Vine, Body and Blood of God, relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Your will.  Feed me, sustain me, and breathe Life back into me, that Your light might shine through the windows of my eyes, and that I may bear the fruits of Your Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Engage me with Your children, so Your light and the Spirit’s fruits may entice the hungry, darkened spirits around me, and the Father, the Vinegrower, might cultivate them into His garden for His glory and their everlasting joy.

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 99:

“After they have seen tangible results, the family will perhaps want to go along.  These things will come to pass naturally and in good time provided, however, the alcoholic continues to demonstrate that he can be sober, considerate, and helpful, regardless of what anyone says or does.  Of course, we all fall much below this standard many times.  But we must try to repair the damage immediately lest we pay the penalty by a spree.”

 

 

Footnotes:

*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.

From “Our Invitation to You” out of Overeater’s Anonymous:  “The OA recovery program is patterned after that of Alcoholics Anonymous. We use AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, changing only the words ‘alcohol’ and ‘alcoholic’ to ‘food’ and ‘compulsive overeater.’

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