I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
I found purpose in my yesterday by being helpful where I have not been in too long: the home of my parents. 1 Timothy 5:4 says in part, “these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.” It pleases God when I help my own family, and it did me good to get out and be about somebody else. Since I have started school and stopped driving my friend to his rehabilitation gym, I have started to feel more self-centered. Spending myself on behalf of others is good for my soul. (Isaiah 58:10)
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“When working this Step we do more than just recite events from the past which we consider to be our wrongs…. We need to look at what those actions cost us.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 49
In working Steps Four and Five, I learned that fear is the dread of past pains becoming real again. When I awoke to the reality that my habit of medicating pain had led to my physical, emotional and spiritual deterioration, I had to admit that the same habits aimed at numbing fear were doing the same damage. In order to make the decision I made in Step Three actually count for something, I had to let go of both the pain of the past and the fear of the future. Together, they were the clasp and bolt that held me hostage. Springing them would take complete faith in God, who is rich enough to pay my ransom, strong enough to carry me through anything, and loving enough to do it!
From Proverbs 30, NIV:
11 “There are those who curse their fathers
and do not bless their mothers
This verse groups such people with the unclean self-righteous (v.12), the haughty (v.13), and those who abuse (or devour) others with their words (or jaws and teeth) (v.14). That sounds like pretty rotten company, but at one point or another I have belonged to all of these categories (unless you take verse 14 literally to mean cannibals). The common thread among these four is a false elevation of self, a perspective that the great and powerful “I” is bothered by the mere humans around me. Honestly, looking back, I don’t know that some of the damage I have done by my words wasn’t worse than if I had taken a literal bite out of someone, and some of the things I have said to my parents, or not said or done for them, over the years have certainly marred my soul just as much. One of the greatest rewards of recovery is that I am freed from such a monstrous attitude, and I am linked with the fellow humans around me to give generously and accept freely the life and love that gets shared among us. Of the humans on Earth, my parents are the ones who have tolerated me the longest, and who have provided the most for me without appreciation. They have taken the most abuse and loved me most unconditionally. It is a blessing to finally bless them!
From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Corinthians 6, NIV:
11 We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and opened wide our hearts to you. 12 We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. 13 As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.
God is apparently trying to drive something home here, because even in this text, Paul (by God’s Spirit) speaks as a neglected parent. What does it mean to open wide our heart? I think it makes reference to the fact that embittered hearts are clamped shut regarding ones we perceive have disappointed us. Certainly we came into this world believing that our parents were infallible, and that all things came from them, as for a while they likely did. Relationships that start out with such high expectations, the child assuming the parent is godlike and the parent with their fairytale hopes for the child, are undoubtedly headed for disappointment along the way. Paul expected some support for his ministry and wasn’t getting it. The Corinthians were apparently upset by one of his previous letters, maybe even the one we know as 1 Corinthians, and were apparently withholding their physical and emotional support. I know there have been times when I pull that same passive-aggressive routine on people who have wronged me, especially my parents. Who is the perfect parent except for the Heavenly Father? Why should I be unforgiving and even spiteful to a pair of people who are just as in need of a Savior as I am? Am I perfect, that I should expect someone else to be? Certainly not! Perhaps my clamped shut heart needs to tenderly reopen to that relationship that was once cherished so dearly. Maybe I could even open it wide, clearing away all reservation, all fear, all unrealistic expectation, so that I can be blessed by blessing those precious lives who, multiplied together, gave me mine.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 74:
The rule is we must be hard on our self, but always considerate of others.
*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.