Abstinent Today:

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

It was a great blessing to be among my fellows at my home group meeting this morning, even if I had only gone to bed six hours prior.  In a reading from the newly printed 2nd Edition of Abstinence, we read from a story called “Moving Ahead” in which hatred, resentment, and shark weekjudgment were referred to as “emotional terrors.”  This struck me, not just because the entire Discovery Channel viewing audience is preoccupied with the prowling terrors of the ocean during Shark Week, but because I have been repeatedly convicted lately about these attitudes which come from a remaining defect in my character.  It was also pointed out that a defect in character is not a defect in me or my design, but merely in my character which is changeable.  I used to have good cause to doubt that change was possible, but every glance in the mirror proves that God can do a good thing if I get enough of my selfishness out of the way.  I am sure He will work on what matters most, now that I have seen what He can do with my flesh.

I had an amazing thing happen last night that was an evidence that recovery is about more than physical appearance.  In years past, when I was given a temporary supervisory role at work, responses from the peers I would supervise varied from rolled eyes to a mad clambering for sick leave.  I just completed a whole work week of supervising a shift with whom I do not normally work, made up of people who did not know me before recovery.  As I left for the week, they thanked me profusely and said that if they ever need a peer-supervisor again they will specifically request me.  I’m not sure I can put into words what a dramatic change that represents!  It was one of those moments in which I was both honored and humbled at the same time, convinced that God is doing in me what I could never have done myself.

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“We now say yes to this power, deciding from here on to follow spiritual guidance in making every decision.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 19

Practicing the principles of recovery, such as acceptance, submission, and trust in my Higher Power, in all my affairs keeps me progressing along a desirable path.  Ironically, the “no” I said to self becomes less of a loss the more I do it, and my “yes” to God prepares me to receive a much greater blessing than I ever would have imagined for myself.  Rarely is there ambiguity when I am sincerely seeking God’s will.  On those rare occasions when I have to ask for Him to make a right decision obvious, and wait for Him to answer, He never disappoints.

From Proverbs 10, NIV:

17 Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

In my daily commitment to help all I can and harm none I don’t have to, I am reminded that I can unwittingly help or harm merely by the example I set in the life I live.  I hope to live with such integrity that no matter where or with whom I am, those who see me will see the me that God wants me to be, and not just some façade I put on for different audiences.  I have learned that I cannot preach people to my way of thinking nearly as effectively as I can love people to my way of living.  To do anything less is to cause the harm I prayed against as my day dawned.

 

 

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

10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?

Here’s a passage to remind me I haven’t yet arrived at the integrity for which I hope and toward which I am working.  My fresh spring can get pretty salty sometimes, and there is precious little taming it especially once it gets going!  Verse 8 mentions that “no man can tame the tongue,” leaving me to believe that it is only God who can do the job.  I am looking forward to God reining in mine!

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

I couldn’t pass this passage up.  It contrasts the wisdom of God with the so-called wisdom of earth, which was described in verse 15 as “earthly, unspiritual, demonic,” giving us a clear choice when it comes to developing our own discernment between the two.  The passage also describes the latter me, the one that will become, sort of like a preview of what will come.  It finishes off with a promise to keep me choosing peace, submission, consideration, mercy, goodness, impartiality and sincerity: a harvest of righteousness.  That’s a carrot worth pursuing.  What disciple doesn’t want to be like his Master some day?  I know I certainly do!

 

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous page 84:

We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Continue to watch for selfishness, dishonesty, resentment, and fear. When these crop up, we ask God at once to remove them. We discuss them with someone immediately and make amends quickly if we have harmed anyone. Then we resolutely turn our thoughts to someone we can help. Love and tolerance of others is our code.

 

 

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.

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