rock polisherAbstinent Today:

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:

“As we complete Step Five, we may feel many emotions, among them humility, elation, and relief.”   — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 51

I felt no elation or relief after Step Five.  After sharing with God, myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs, what I felt was more like I had walked out of open-heart surgery before the wound was closed.  I was raw, tender, and bleeding.  Every interaction whistled through my gaping heart stinging me with the remembrance of all those recently discovered wrongs, and I gingerly skipped around my defects, cradling my wound and seeking desperately to keep from wounding more, convinced I should never need to undergo such a procedure again.  The admission of our powerlessness of Step One was quickly followed by the soothing balm of assurance in Step Two, that a Power greater than ourselves would restore us, and so it would be with Steps Six and Seven after Five.  Perhaps it was the pain of recognition in Step Five that made me so “entirely willing” in Step Six, and thrust me to the feet of my Creator for Step Seven, and continues to do so every morning:

“My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad.  I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows.  Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do Your bidding.  Amen.” (from AA, p.76)

 

 

 

From Proverbs 20 (NRSV):

It is honorable to refrain from strife,
but every fool is quick to quarrel.”

Honorable?  It is downright self-protective too!  As I carefully trod in the days after my Step Five inventory, so I hope to keep going, never content to harm again.  I still find myself leaping into a quarrel, and I wonder how someone who has done all the damage I have done can still fence so quickly with his white-hot firebrand?  It make so much more sense to just let an argument pass!  As I read this proverb, I thought this was surely me, and especially after the devotional thoughts of the VOR today, but then I came across verse 30, which seemed to go right along with it:

30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
beatings make clean the innermost parts.”

As I mentioned before, the gut-punch of my moral inventory scourged away much of the evil that permeated my attitudes and behavior.  I found that, while I had become quite good and whitewashing my exterior and putting on a fair (albeit brief) showing of compliance with religious expectations, on the inside I was a dank and putrid dungeon of despair, and it took something extreme to exhume the death that lay at my core. (Matthew 23:27)

 

 

 

Interruption:

I just had the rare opportunity to sit with my daughter and listen to her talk about her current decision making process.  Actually, she interrupted my devotional reading.  One of her possible choices alarmed me because of my experience with such, and I voiced my concern.  She apologized for sharing her thoughts with me and withdrew to her room!  When will the insanity end?  What monsters have I created with my harm, that their shadows still haunt, though no sign of them actually appears?  How can I interact with the wounded without tearing open their old wounds?  What have I done?  What parts of it do I continue to do?  This has been a harmful week, though I swear I am tiptoeing.  Perhaps criticism of any kind is not for someone like me to share.  Perhaps it is for me to smile, nod, and pick up the broken pieces when those I’ve smiled at fall.  I am afraid that cynicism will cause me to retreat from helping for fear of causing harm, so this is where I will go: to lovingly serve all I can reach while striving to harm not one single one.  Though others despise me, I will encourage them; though they ignore me, I will bless them.  I will turn the other cheek to enemy and friend, and offer it for punching practice if that is what is needed.  With God as my foundation, holding me firm and tending my wounds, I can withstand these assaults.  The Lord did the same for me!

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in John 17 (NRSV):

15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.[e] 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”

Even as His own suffering drew near, Jesus prayed for me (v. 20).  He would be torn and pierced for my transgressions (Isaiah 53:5), but He prayed for my protection.  He would be stained with blood, the dirt of the road to which He would fall, and the spittle of His accusers, yet He prayed for my cleansing, my purifying by the word of truth.  Those He trusted and called to His side would scatter and betray Him, but He prayed for my integrity and our unity one with another (vs. 21-23).  The self-sacrificing passion of my Savior and Lord modeled the nature I am to follow: accepting undeserved hardship without cursing those by whose hands it comes; serving in love all He could reach, and harming not one single one!

 

 

 

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 69:

“Whatever our ideal turns out to be, we must be willing to grow toward it. We must be willing to make amends where we have done harm, provided that we do not bring about still more harm in so doing.   …In meditation, we ask God what we should do about each specific matter. The right answer will come, if we want it.”

 

 

 

 

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.

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