I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
I have been thinking a lot about the affirmation with which we in recovery fellowships introduce ourselves. I have heard some criticism about our introduction being counter to principles of faith. It usually goes, “I’m ____ and I am a compulsive overeater (or alcoholic or ___ addict). In my daily recovery journal, I have phrased it to emphasize the gratitude and recovery rather than the disease. My fellowship among my recovery community comes from a common weakness, but my identity is not in that weakness. Faith tells me that I should not rehearse the weakness, but to live in God’s strength to overcome it. I am not living in the past failures, frailties or fault, but I am living every moment of every day in the celebration of my liberty from what I once was: a compulsive overeater. Now, by God’s grace alone, I am a blood-bought child of God, a co-heir with Jesus Christ, the husband of one, and the future bride of the Only One, a father of two, and a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater. I am not stuck in the disease, but I am happy to be stuck with the solution!
Another thought crossed my mind while I was meditating on this. When I disconnect from the memory of the wilderness through which God has brought me, I risk losing the gratitude for that deliverance, and risk dishonoring Him. Israel proved the human nature of this in the Exodus. Relapse is merely losing count of the things God has done for me. I hope I never lose count, but I know that if I do, I can start counting again. Even if I forget Him, He will never forget me.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“We give up fear and indecision, knowing that if we are sincere, our Higher Power will give us the knowledge of our best course in life…” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 24
Throughout my day I often recall the prayer of my morning, when I offered myself to God to do with me as He wills. I think of it often because when my plans are interrupted or things don’t go my way, I have to recall that I already gave up my will, wish and way, so there is no reason to be disappointed. I think to myself, “Even if my worst case scenario plays out, which is never likely, won’t the same God who has demonstrated that He is trustworthy and Who holds the universe in His hands still be there holding me, loving me, and taking care of me?” With that in mind, my fear and indecision don’t just vanish and never recur, I simply hand them over to the One Who can do something about them.
From Proverbs 21, NIV:
28 A false witness will perish,
but a careful listener will testify successfully.
Here again is Scripture that prioritizes listening over speaking. I have often heard the observation that we have two ears and one mouth to help us understand the priority ratio. I am making a concerted effort to button up my lips and open up my ears. The end result of this proverb, ironically, is a successful testimony, a fruitful speech. It is not a matter of nailing the trap shut, but slowing it down so that listening and reasoning can occur before the gums begin to rattle.
Lord, please make me an effective listener. I believe it is part of selfless love, and I know You want this for me even more than I want it for myself. I receive Your instruction gratefully. Help me discipline my mouth.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Philippians 2, NIV:
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
My prayer is to learn the discipline of selfless love, in keeping with Jesus’ command, “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34) This verse makes is clear that we are not only supposed to care for others, but prioritize them, even above ourselves. This is revolutionary for a chronic self-server, my-way addict, and compulsive overeater like me. Where I work and go about I see a lot of animal kingdom type logic ruling at large, things like “survival of the fittest,” “protect me and mine,” and “get all I can before someone else does.” This mentality is the kind I believe the Bible is clear about when it cautions that the wisdom of man ends in death. Prioritizing others is a life-giving way to live. If everyone did it, everyone would go about with needs met and fears allayed. When one person does it, the most dramatic effect is inside that one person. Sure, those who benefit from his careful concern are served, but none more than the soul from whom the help comes, for he finds himself the vessel of God, overflowing what he has received onto others. I love the thought of it! I only wish it could be done behind a screen or a mask of anonymity, so that God would truly be the only one glorified. There is pleasure in being the tool of use in the hand of God!
Use me, Heavenly Father! I am at Your service.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 84:
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
*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.