Abstinent Today:

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

My blue mood started a week ago last night over a failure of mine.  What I can’t figure out is why I am still waiting for someone else to come to me, when I was the one to start this wheel spinning.  A warped part of me expects those I wronged to forgive and comfort me, and I get aggravated because that unrealistic expectation is repeatedly disappointed.  …And the wheel spins faster and faster!  Holy Week, the week beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter, is typically my favorite week of the year, but I feel robbed of my joy right now.  I’m hoping that God will ladle me out of this moody stew I have been soaking in and cradle me in His comfort.  His is the only comfort that really matters anyway!  …And I know that He forgives me even when others (including myself) don’t.

 

 

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“At the very first meeting we attended, we learned that we were in the clutches of a dangerous illness, and that willpower, emotional health, and self-confidence which some of us had once possessed, were no defense against it.” — Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, p. 1

I resisted calling my problem an “eating disorder” even after I had admitted I was powerless over food and my life had become unmanageable in Step One.  I even recognized that the clinical definition of “disorder” is a life (job, health, or relationships) that has become unmanageable (impaired function).  I knew I had a “problem” and that problem, if left unresolved, was progressive, chronic, and fatal; and that it was primarily characterized by my eating behavior, but I resisted calling it what it was: an eating disorder.  I hesitate to write it even now, both for my sake and for the sake of those reading who are still balancing between resistance and admission.  I don’t want to teeter anyone off their fencepost onto the side of denial!  But I (just I, mind you) have a life disrupted by my eating history, marked by my chronic behavior patterns that have historically followed my feelings rather than prudent, rational self-care.  Regularly living the Twelve Steps (especially Step Three) has enabled me to live according to what I know rather than what I feel, to shut off the connection between stressful stimuli and abnormal reaction by interrupting that cycle with pre-planned action and submission to a Higher Power.  I have “a new way of thinking, of acting on life rather than reacting to it – in essence a new way of living.(From Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, “Our Invitation To You”)

Perhaps it is important for me to renew this admission so that I can better understand the nature of my current dysthymia.  It is reasonable that I might suffer from disorder of a nature deeper than my eating.  Obsession and compulsion, both of which are elements of a compulsive overeater, are often associated with other anxiety disorders and at least a couple depressive ones as well.  I don’t want to spend a life being “moody” just because I am afraid to characterize myself with a mood disorder.  I spent too long denying my eating disorder!  If I had a chest cold for a week, I would consult a health professional; I guess it is time to go see one for this emotional illness.

 

 

 

From Proverbs 24 (NRSV):

for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

What are the chances I would stumble on this while battling my brain over going to a counselor?  All right, I’m going!

 

 

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in John 21 (NRSV):

Peter swims to Jesus17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

Peter’s feelings were hurt by the Christ, Who had just demonstrated His love for all in the pouring out of His own life.  Jesus questioned three times Peter’s love for Him, and Peter affirmed his love as repeatedly as he had once denied Jesus.  Jesus gave His forgiveness, provided an opportunity for Peter to amend his prior wrongs, opened a window into Peter’s future (v. 18), and charged him with a responsibility to pastor the flock of Christ’s Church.

Saint Peter, the rock on which Christ built His Church, had hurt feelings.  They were undoubtedly tied to his feelings of shame and guilt, having betrayed Jesus just prior to His crucifixion, but they were emotions of pain.  There is nothing wrong with having emotions.  The trouble comes when the emotions have me!  Imagine if Peter had avoided the breakfast on the beach, and missed out on this opportunity with Jesus.  What if, when he declared he was going fishing (v. 3) and people started piling into his boat to tag along, he had abandoned the idea and gone off to pout on a hill instead?  He would have missed the day with his friends sunning himself on the water, the miraculous catch, the third appearance of Jesus, the breakfast with the Lord, and all that happened on this amazing morning, maybe even his commission to shepherd the Church.  I wonder what opportunities I have missed, nursing my own moodiness.

 

 

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 133:

But this does not mean that we disregard human health measures. God has abundantly supplied this world with fine doctors, psychologists, and practitioners of various kinds. Do not hesitate to take your health problems to such persons.

 

 

 

 

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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