Abstinent Today:

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

I got to sleep in yesterday for the first time in a while, and it was very refreshing.  I was able to stay alert for the whole shift last night and still make it to church this morning without too much grogginess.

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Abstinence is a new life, not in theory but in practice. It means following suggestions, listening to someone who knows more than I do about living abstinently.” — For Today, p. 203

I am likely not alone in this, but I do not take advice well, having been a habitual self-will addict most of my life.  Even my sponsor usually gets excuses from me when he makes suggestions the first time.  It isn’t until later, after his words have a chance to resonate in my cranium for a while along with the awareness that I dismissed them upon receipt, that I find the wisdom to apply his suggestions.  The irony is that I am not very patient with anyone else who does that.  My sponsors have always been patient with me, but I am still learning.  I have a friend who is fond of saying that we are all in “Relationships 101” class all the time, and that none of us has graduated.  I think the practice of abstinence and recovery are similar, always getting better, never content to stagnate, they are growing, maturing processes at which God will help us to become better over time.

 

 

From Proverbs 26, NIV:

17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears

is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.

Here’s a word picture that speaks volumes!  My wife has a few very tiny puncture scars hidden in the contours of her beautiful face, the result of a German Shepherd who apparently saw her as a threat to his food supply when she was only a toddler.  She loves dogs but she cannot tolerate anything obscuring her face, reminded of the day when her view was eclipsed by the mouth of that snarling beast.  I have met a few less than happy fur-bearing critters, and I cannot imagine being fool enough to grab one by the ears, but I have been the fool this verse describes many times over.  Never content just to win my own arguments, I had a sick need to intervene in everyone else’s argument in a vain attempt to prove myself more knowledgeable than all other parties involved.  I hinted at this the other day when I confessed that “Actually…” was one of my catchwords I used to berate anyone who posed a statement that conflicted with any trivia I may have picked up, and sometimes even lies I told just to sound superior.  (I, myself, have a hard time believing I did that!)  Incidentally, my precious bride is the one who brought “Actually…” to my attention.  She said when I used to say that, she knew a bomb was about to drop, and she usually disengaged in the conversation just to preserve herself.

Thank You, God, for delivering me from the slavery of self-service!  Liberate me again today, and keep me walking in Your grace, so that I can experience Your good pleasure and providence, and share it with those with whom You have me in contact.  Keep me from being condescending in any manner, but help me to consider myself with sober judgment, prioritizing the needs of others above my wishes.

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Corinthians 3, NIV:

17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[Or reflect] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

This is my joy for today and my hope for tomorrow, an ever-increasing likeness of His image.  I know there was a coming to Jesus that was for my good but that did not result in this life of the Spirit.  The transformation came when the Spirit did, and freedom came with it.  Thanks be to God!

It occurs to me that many of us remain in the prisons in which we have incarcerated ourselves, be they those of self-pity, addiction, abuse, hopelessness, or the like, because we genuinely believe we are not worth more.  I remember in my days of bondage, there were ministers of hope who tried to get me to believe that freedom was possible, but I refused to hear them, convinced I was not worth any freedom there was to be gained.  This verse goes against that thought.  We are made in God’s image (Genesis 1) and, by aligning ourselves to reflect His glory, are being transformed with an ever-increasing likeness to that image.  With God the template for our own creation, how can we believe anything but His best for us?

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, “The Backslider”:

The doctor submitted to me the idea of God as a father who would not willingly let any of his children perish and suggested that most, if not all of our troubles, come from being completely out of touch with the idea of God, with God Himself. All my life, he said, I had been doing things of’ my own human will as opposed to God’s will and that the only certain way for me to stop drinking was to submit my will to God and let Him handle my difficulties.

I had never looked on my situation in that way, had always felt myself very remote indeed from a Supreme Being. “Doc,” as I shall call him hereinafter, was pretty positive that God’s law was the Law of Love and that all my resentful feelings which I had fed and cultivated with liquor were the result of either conscious or unconscious, it didn’t matter which, disobedience to that law. Was I willing to submit my will? I said I would try to do so.

 

 

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.

‡ 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.’

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