I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
I almost let a meeting slip by me yesterday, and I am glad I didn’t. It was a good opportunity for me to get outside myself and be among, if not about, others for a spell. It seems contradictory to pray for God to help me be a blessing to others and then stay home alone all day.
On the other hand, I did have an interaction with the exterminator yesterday. He’s the reason I was at home alone, waiting for our appointment. I was given bad news about my house: termites, cracked foundation, plumbing problem, water damage, and much needed exterior repairs, some of which I already knew about, like the badly needed roof and paint. All that would have overwhelmed me not long ago. Halleluiah! I’m just trusting God to provide today. He’ll be a miraculous provider tomorrow too!
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Nothing in us can be changed until we first accept it. Step Five, by helping us to know and accept ourselves, makes it possible for us to change and recover.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 48
In my comings and goings, I have learned of a self-assessment tool called the “Subjective Units of Distress Scale” or “SUDS.” It is a zero to ten scale used for a person to describe for themselves their level of disturbance by whatever symptom they are experiencing, with zero being no disturbance and ten being overwhelming distress. Two great things about this tool are these: because it is subjective only the subject can identify the outcome, and it gives the person a graduated line of progress to work toward. Let’s say I am describing my stress level on a given day, and I mark it at a seven. Acceptance of my stress level as a seven is built right in! I cannot argue with the test results because it was I who administered the test and gave the score. I also realize, because of the graphic nature of a number line, that I cannot jump from a seven to a two just because I want to. I will work toward a six, taking the next right action and the next solid step toward progress. Then from six, I will work toward five, etcetera, until I find myself at a level of contentment. I can’t change what I don’t recognize as fact, but my facts right now don’t have to remain the same. Overall change is possible if I begin to make little changes.
From Proverbs 1:
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
There are very real consequences to living as one pleases, including death and destruction (verse 32). Wisdom calls in a loud voice inviting everyone (verses 20-21) to turn from what comes naturally to the animal and the immoral, and follow instead the way of God’s discipline – with the Spirit of Wisdom as a guide.
I choose to follow God-with-us, Emmanuel. Give me ears to hear Your Spirit, God; and eyes to see Your truth. Empower me to do Your will and turn completely from mine. “I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Romans 11:
17 If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, 18 do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.
Humility is called for even among the elect, the redeemed. In fact, it should go without saying that, purely out of gratitude, those who have been saved from sin and its ultimate consequence, death, should naturally demonstrate a humble posture, realizing there is nothing they have done by which their new fate has been achieved. But Paul’s exhortation surely did not come without necessity, and it falls on ears today on either side of my head that need it. In this case, Paul’s warning was not to get cocky about being included among the faithful, because God can take back what He has given should we dishonor His gift with a haughty attitude.
Dear Father, today, keep me humble, but lift me into Your lap so that I need not worry about my condition or estate. As long as I have relationship with You, I am content.
From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 58:
Another great dividend we may expect from confiding our defects to another human being is humility – a word often misunderstood. To those who have made progress in A.A., it amounts to a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be. Therefore, our first practical move toward humility must consist of recognizing our deficiencies. No defect can be corrected unless we clearly see what it is. But we shall have to do more than see. The objective look at ourselves we ahieved in Step Four was, after all, only a look. All of us saw, for example that we lacked honesty and tolerance, that we were beset at times by attacks of self-pity or delusions of personal grandeur But while this was a humiliating experience, it didn’t necessarily mean that we had yet acquired much actual humility.
*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.’”