I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
I saw a pair of counselors yesterday. (Not that I think it takes two to deal with me, but because they work as a pair.) As I described the blue mood that plagued me for about two weeks, the first question they posed stung me because I knew better. He said, “During that period of blue mood, what was your self-talk like?” Now, I have, in the past, resolved to abstain from negative self-talk, but that abstinence, unlike my food abstinence has relapsed more than it has recovered. The mouth is so much easier to control than the mind! I need to let God speak to me the positive, loving words of truth, and filter out all the destroyer’s jibes and my recordings of them, for I have listened to them so long and so well that I can play them back all by myself. I confessed that I had berated myself and cursed myself as anything but a blessed child of God, and was encouraged to see such chatter for what it is: spiritual warfare against my soul and mind. We spoke of family matters and other things, but this is what I will share for today. I was glad I reached out to godly counselors, and pleased to hear the affirming and instructive voice of God through them.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“How do we get through these times without overeating? We don’t panic. Instead we quietly reaffirm our personal guidelines and ask our Higher Power to help us continue living within them. Then we turn away from food and eating to focus our attention on our OA Fellowship and the Twelve Steps.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, pp. 23-24
One of the most stressful days in my week was followed by a slow one, and at the point where boredom turned to thoughts of food, I did just this. I turned to some service work, ironically the very type that had stressed me out the day before. On the occasion when it was a relief to put my hands to a task, rather than a time-constrained burden, I found myself lifted above the thoughts of food, the boredom, and the whatever stress the task might otherwise have held for me. My moment of idleness turned to a fulfillment of purpose all at the call of food and the response of prayer and turning toward service.
From Proverbs 16:
32 Better a patient person than a warrior,
one with self-control than one who takes a city.
The one who keeps his head is greater than one who takes the head of another! I was great at chopping and slaying those around me when I thought I had to defend my position as keeper of my universe and bearer of its burdens. At least in my head, I was Atlas and Ares all in one, both carrying the globe and warring with all who crossed me within it. Today, I have more energy, having turned the globe over to its Maker and called a truce with my fellow men.
I was reminded yesterday in my counseling session, however, that pacifism can be a disguise for sloth. With regard to my immediate family, I have a responsibility to train, teach, guide, lead, and love my children and not just facilitate their irresponsibility. I may be harming them by building a nest of permission and reward for their freeloading, all in the name of making amends for previous abuses. I need to reengage in their lives and do it in a patient, graceful, and loving way. I do not wish to take off their heads, but to make their heads smarter, pointed in the right direction and held high to meet life’s demands.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Acts 24:
14 However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, 15 and I have the same hope in God as these men themselves have, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
Before Felix, the governor of Judea, Paul gave his defense, and in it summarized what it is to be a Jewish Christian or “follower of the Way.” The idea of a clear conscience is one that trips me up a little. I know that, because of the grace of God, the debt for my sins is paid; but I also know that forgiveness is a coin with two heads. That is, I have to forgive others as I want to be forgiven. The grace of God spills into me to be poured out onto others. Why then, do I still relapse into bitterness and anger? Why do resentments still dig footholds in my life and stomp my joy? The answer, I think, is in Paul’s word “strive.” To strive is to stretch for something not in easy reach. I am pulling myself toward a character that is above my natural ability. By the grace of God, I will be transformed into this supernatural construct in God’s design, according to His timing and will.
Dear Father, today, please empower me to be forgiving so that I can receive from You a full pardon, and in my clear conscience, enjoy an unobstructed relationship with You. Thank You for refusing to allow me to sit on Your throne, and for not leaving me at Your feet, but lifting me as a dearly loved son onto Your lap of relationship, affirmation, and love.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 87 and 88:
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day “Thy will be done.” We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient.
*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.