I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
I failed to adhere to my action plan this morning. Exhausted by the previous day, I slept in rather than making it to my gym workout. It’s probably a good thing, because I was starting to feel a little under the weather yesterday, and it was likely weakness due to lack of sleep.
When I did awake, I was alarmed by a phone call cancelling my upcoming Algebra class about which I was so excited. It took some doing, and the purchase of an entirely different text book, but I got scheduled for another class. It will require an indefinite change in my action plan, because it conflicts with my gym workouts on Monday and Wednesday. I’m considering beginning a Tue/Thu/Sat routine instead of Mon/Wed/Fri. We’ll see. Class starts is one week. God’s will be done!
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Abstinence means freedom from the bondage of compulsive overeating.” — Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, p. 3
This is the difference between OA and diet programs. Abstinence frees us to live according to God’s design for living abundantly, while diets just enslave us to another set of dos and don’ts that make us feel deprived and pitiful. It is those same feelings of self-pity that we used to justify gratifying our cravings, which is why every diet we ever “tried” failed.
Compulsive eating is eating what one feels like – literally, eating what one is compelled by emotion or other outside influence to eat. Abstinence is refraining from eating what one feels like – of making a plan and sticking with it, instead of satisfying every whim and fancy. That doesn’t mean that decisions and choices aren’t part of seeking and following God’s will for my eating. It does mean that the greatest deciding factor in selecting my next meal is to consider whether the Manufacturer and Designer of my body would recommend my food selection as proper fuel.
From Proverbs 6:
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
These verses have been echoing in my head ever since the exterminator told me last week that my house has a plumbing leak, likely in the foundation slab, roofing, siding and paint issues, and a termite infestation that is likely to have caused structural damage that will require extensive carpentry. I think of all the money and time I spent sitting on the couch watching a big television and so many movies, eating so much take-out, just slothfully entertaining myself, while those tiny house-eaters were munching the wall right behind me. The roof, siding and paint were not so much a subtle mystery, but remained untouched and now scarcity has me at gunpoint. I know the Lord will provide, but I am certain He needs me to be attentive to my stewardship responsibilities. The sloth is off the couch!
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Romans 16:
17 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18 For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.
There are those influences that are positive and those that are negative; voices that encourage and voices that steal our value; workers of the devourer and ministers of the One who is Light and Life. I was convicted recently about how often I allow my own mind to work against me as an agent of the evil one, berating me and cursing me even inside my own head. Then I was reminded that I spend far too much time similarly criticizing others because their actions do not match my will. Who cares what my will is? I sacrificed it every morning! Why do I continually pick it back up and begin beating people with it? Which appetite am I serving? The hunger for God and His will for me or my own corrupt flesh? If I am truly a minister and disciple of God, then I need to not be caught so often doing the work of His enemy!
Dear Father, today, keep me in Your will and keep me positive or silent. Allow no harmful thought to come into my head or our of my mouth, so that I may be a refreshing spring and not a bitter well.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “His Conscience”:
I now realize that an alcoholic cannot get along alone, any more than anyone else can. I, like all men, was a social being who desperately needed fellowship and acceptance. These I found in A.A. where hands were reached out to me. I was not condemned. On the contrary, I was greatly encouraged by these people who spoke my language and, what was so important, offered me hope.
*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.’”