I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
Freedom from my intergroup service position doesn’t feel as liberating as I thought it would. On the drive home, I rode past those tempting poison-vendors some people call “fast-food” and the notion that I could now indulge twinkled in the back of my brain. I knew it was self-pity combined with the loneliness of this week’s marital isolation, so I disregarded it and drove home to my abstinent meal and buried myself in chores and homework while those who would ignore me did just that.
Part of my yard had become barren, eaten by bugs or burned by drought, I don’t know which. A few days ago I treated the whole yard with pest control product and fertilized it well. Yesterday, I laid sod down to cover the bare patch. Eighty square feet was not quite enough to do the job, but it will have to suffice. I waited too long to do something about it, and was forced to rake up the dead grass and replace it. It made me think about how the vitality can just be sapped right out of a living, vibrant organism when the conditions of the environment become overwhelming. I have felt like that beaten-down, gnawed-on, burned-up grass lately. I hope there is something that can be done besides dig me up and replace me! I dare not wait too long. My edges are already beginning to yellow.
I had a conversation with my father the other day, in which a family curse was revealed to me. Since I was a boy, I have heard how my paternal grandmother, the child of an alcoholic in the era of the Great Depression, was harsh and abusive out of an apparent fear of being perceived as weak. As my father spoke to me and argued against several life-giving points of recovery I was trying to articulate, it became painfully obvious that he, too, suffers from a crippling fear of being perceived as weak. He even called my version of sacrificing my selfish will, wish and way in preference for God’s will and of those around me a “milk-toast manhood,” one, he said, even Christ would not have modeled. I have been prayed over and have prayed myself for the breaking of generational curses, and I recognized at once that this was not my primary fear or defect. Mine is a fear of failure, not of perception. Still, as a blood-redeemed child of God, I have no business living according to fear of any kind, but should be living in the promise of grace. Rather than let the turbulent waves of fear overwhelm me, I will allow them to lift me up into God’s care and view, and I will walk upon those tides that once threatened me, out of my boat and into the arms of Jesus, who catches me and restores me to faith, even when the wind and waves beg to distract me.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Just for today, I have not found it necessary to break my abstinence. OA took away all my excuses, and for that alone I am grateful.” — Overeaters Anonymous, First Edition, p. 35
Gratitude is always a great preventative for self-pity. Instead of focusing on what I feel I do not have, I will focus on what I have.
I attempted to do this yesterday in a practical way. I was very early for my home group OA meeting, so I went to a nearby body of water and watched the sun sparkle on the surface. This is my favorite thing. (Say it dreamily) “Sparkles on the water!” Anyway, it occurred to me that I was so blessed to be able to witness such a thing that nothing else should matter. In fact, the light was so blinding that I could not tolerate it for long. It reminded me that God has blessings for me that I am too limited to receive right now. He will give me each gift in its proper timing, as I become prepared for it. Today, I am grateful for God’s provision in His prescribed dose. I celebrate my freedom from overindulgence and selfish accumulation and hoarding.
“Give me this day my daily bread.”
From Proverbs 9, NIV:
11 For through wisdom your days will be many,
and years will be added to your life.
Putting aside aimless, urge-driven folly lengthens and enriches life on earth and opens the door to eternal life.
God, grant me wisdom to recognize and to do Your will.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Galatians 3, NIV:
11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[Hab. 2:4] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[Lev. 18:5] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[Deut. 21:23]
24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
This was apparently a difficult teaching even when Paul wrote it to the church in Galatia, where folks had been confused by preachers. It gives me some comfort to know that I am not the only one to be confused by those who profess to be experts in Bible but have no apparent relationship with its Author. What I do know is the Creator of the universe, in the form of Jesus Christ, found me so worth saving that He died for me, and I am so grateful for that sacrifice that anything I would give up is garbage in comparison. I will live for Him though any come against me!
Thank You, Father, for faith in Your Son. I know it did not come by my understanding but by Your Spirit.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 66:
…this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit.
*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.