I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
I had an amazing opportunity yesterday in a Sunday School class. The topic was self-sacrifice in preference for God’s will, and I was able to share that I was recovering from a food addiction and that, having used the process of submitting every craving to God as a sacrifice and receiving His providence for my meals, I was at an advantage because that process applied to every mouthful of food made it easier, almost like cheating, to follow God’s will in the bigger things. Using those terms seemed to make sense to everyone in the room, and I believe the Holy Spirit used that to inspire many in that room toward a renewed level of commitment to submitting to God’s will in their lives. The moment even prompted a twelfth step discussion afterward.
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Many of us thought about suicide. Some of us tried it.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 11
Rarely does a person want to die; they just don’t want to go on living the way things are. When I was caught in the mire of hopeless despair, I didn’t care if life went on or not. Quite frankly, as a believer in Heaven since childhood, I thought dying would be preferable to life the way I was living it. That may be why I chose such coffin nails as rich foods, harmful chemicals, and processed products (as well as a few choice others like nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol). I figured I might as well speed up the process, even while some part of me had pronounced sentence on me that I did not deserve life, let alone a healthy one.
What is even more shocking than this statement about many of us considering suicide is the fact that so many have been slowly committing suicide without even recognizing it. Anyone who hasn’t considered suicide might do well to consider how they have unconsciously contributed to their demise. The rest of us could always apply that question too, just to make sure we aren’t slipping back into self-harming behaviors or omissions.
From Proverbs 15, NIV:
15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched,
but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Continuing with my thoughts on the suicidal mind of a compulsive overeater, could this proverb be the inverse of what was wrong with us? When the heart is oppressed, there is an inner famine, and we gorge ourselves on physical food in an attempt to sate the spiritual emptiness. Here, we see the one who is content having a feast within the heart. That describes the new life I’m living in recovery.
Verse 32 also applies the trouble to the same predicament:
32 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves,
but the one who heeds correction gains understanding.
I see this as one of two possibilities: either we ignored discipline as a response to our own self-hatred, or we harmed ourselves by our disregard of discipline. Either way, the result is the same – we suffered because we either thought we deserved it or we didn’t believe we deserved better. Conversely it is the one who listens to and applies correction who wins.
From my reading through the Bible, currently in 2 Timothy 3, NIV:
5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
I referenced this passage on the 4th of July, and am concerned that most Christians today profess a diluted Gospel which is no gospel at all, one of regulation and outward appearances but marked by no spiritual power or transforming grace, and certainly no miraculous healings. The religion of the masses even lacks compassion for one another. No wonder the world is disillusioned with the Church! When Jesus told us we must deny ourselves and take up our cross daily and follow Him (Mark 8:34, also Matthew 16:24, Luke 9:23), He referenced the fact that He knew it was a “wicked and perverse generation,” (Mark 8:38) so the circumstances and the times are no excuse. He said in John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” I am convinced the Holy Spirit has power to be poured out, but lacks vessels prepared to receive it. We are missing out because of our own blindness and doubt! As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
(Let the reader understand: the lowercase g – “god” refers to an idol, in this case Satan. The Creator, Jehova, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is referred to with a capital G.)
God, I am willing to be a vessel of Your miraculous power. I have seen what You are willing to do, as my life is a canvass of Your handiwork. Please pour out on me Your miraculous Spirit to be poured out on others, in the name of Jesus, for Your glory.
From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 24 and 25:
When this sort of thinking is fully established in an individual with alcoholic‡ tendencies, he has probably placed himself beyond human aid, and unless locked up, may die or go permanently insane. These stark and ugly facts have been confirmed by legions of alcoholics throughout history. But for the grace of God, there would have been thousands more convincing demonstrations. So many want to stop but cannot.
*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.’”