I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Yesterday, after I prayed that God would rebuke the devourer off my household, the exterminator drilled through the foundation of my house and struck a water supply line, causing a fountain in my living room. At any other point in my life, I would have panicked and raged, but all I could say was, “The Lord will provide.” I smiled and was pleasant, more concerned about the feelings of the poor technician who had made the mistake than my own property or feelings, and he noticed. What followed was a flurry of professionals into my home, each one concerned about making things right. I got great news from my own plumber, whose bill was a tenth what I expected when he found my preexisting leak in mere moments. The exterminator’s plumber had some difficulty fixing the water line under the house, but he did it at no cost to me. The carpenter who came told me there was not enough termite damage to compromise the structural integrity of the house, and recommended we just kill the bugs and patch the walls. What could have cost thousands will apparently end up costing hundreds instead. My faith could have hiccupped there for a while, but I hung on and, in the end, feel quite blessed, even though my living room is a construction site at the moment.
Oh, yeah! It’s my recovery birthday. My abstinence is three years old today. I’m very excited! I went to my home group meeting and to our intergroup meeting. It was good to celebrate with so many who appreciate the many single days at a time it takes to reach such milestones.
I got one of the most enthusiastic compliments I have ever received today when a young, slightly overweight grocery clerk stopped me in disbelief when she saw my “before” picture pinned to my shirt. (I wore it all day, in celebration of my OA birthday.) Begging to know if that was really me, she blurted out, “But you’re so smoking hot!” That’s not something I’m used to hearing. Anywhere. Ever! It was quite an encouraging boost for my self-esteem. “Attraction rather than promotion,” right? That young lady received an Overeaters Anonymous New Prospect Card! The combination of those two tools has turned passersby into Twelfth Step opportunities on more than one occasion. The picture button I had made draws the most attention when I wear it to the gym. Don’t be misled by the Spandex; there are a lot of suffering people there!
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Looking back at how far we’ve come, many of us have been tempted to think we’ve arrived at the end of the journey.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 100
I do not believe it is any chance coincidence that this statement would appear in the VOR on the anniversary date of my abstinence. It is as if it has my name written right on it! The contributor writes:
“There is only today, and only the actions we take for our program today determine how recovered we really are.”
I am convinced that if I begin to believe I’ve got this licked, it will gobble me up again. I cannot begin to believe the lies in my head that maybe I could back it down a notch, maybe I could do without quite so much recovery work. I figure that would be like walking halfway across a tightrope and once I’d taken a few successful steps, deciding to just carelessly stroll the rest of the way. I would be just as doomed to fall. Knowing that keeps me content to keep on doing what I’ve found works.
From Proverbs 11, NIV:
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
It is interesting to me that this does not say, “When pride gets out of hand” or “if pride is out of balance”; it says “when pride comes.” At the dawn of selfish ego comes the humiliation that cuts us back down to our proper size. Adam and Eve did not begin to doubt that God had their best interest in mind; they doubted whether He had told them the whole truth and began to believe that maybe His way wasn’t best after all, and that maybe something more of what they wanted wouldn’t hurt after all. It was pride that brought the fall of mankind then, and it is pride that does us in now, if I do not keep in fit, humble, spiritual condition.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in 1 Corinthians 5, NIV:
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?
Paul’s trouble is with a case of incest tolerated by the church, but his lesson applies even to the one who dares to think of himself more highly than he ought. A little spiritual illness can rot the whole soul.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “The Doctor’s Nightmare”:
If you think you are an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptic, or have any other form of intellectual pride which keeps you from accepting what is in this book, I feel sorry for you. If you still think you are strong enough to beat the game alone, that is your affair. But if you really and truly want to quit drinking liquor for good and all, and sincerely feel that you must have some help, we know that we have an answer for you. It never fails if you go about it with one half the zeal you have been in the habit of showing when getting another drink.
Your Heavenly Father will never let you down!
*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.’”