Abstinent Today:

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

I’m back at work today, and it is much easier to be helpful at work than at home.  Ministry opportunities find me here.  At the same time, however, the opportunity to do harm lurks around every turn, so it calls for cautious commitment to lovingly serve all I can and harm none I don’t have to.  I will miss this when I retire in seven months and twelve days.  (Not that I am counting or anything.)

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“Meetings are gatherings of two or more compulsive overeaters who come together to share their personal experience and the strength and hope OA has given them.” — The Tools of Recovery, p. 4

In the Church, we know that, “where two or more are gathered” our Higher Power is there in our midst (Matthew 18:20), so I am used to the concept of impromptu meetings that are not on any organizational chart, list, or plan.  I’ve had several such recovery meetings.  I remember one of my first, which occurred at an hour when the other man and I were normally scheduled to appear at an organized meeting.  He needed to talk privately and, as God would have it, I needed to listen, support, encourage and share.  That’s all a meeting is!  I know there are times when I (and I’m sure I am not alone) wonder if I could make this recovery thing work without attending meetings.  Where and when else in the world will I find others to share with who have in common the one disease symptomatic of my basic selfish obsession?  Outside a meeting I have an awful time finding anyone willing to admit they are a compulsive eater!  I find lots who admit they are under-exercised, have low metabolisms, need to lose some weight, or even claim they are “emotional eaters,” but when I start talking disease, disorder, insanity, addiction, or God forbid “total abstinence” everyone flees.  One thing I’ve noticed is that a large percentage of tearful relapse stories I hear begin with, “I stopped going to meetings…”  I think I’ll keep coming back!

 

From Proverbs 15, NIV:

lemon tree animThe soothing tongue is a tree of life,
but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.

Here is an example of how I can help and harm with the same instrument – the tongue.  Whoever said, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me” was speaking contradictory to Scripture and the sense common to anyone who has ever borne the invisible stripes of a tongue-lashing or harsh criticism.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be known for the kind words we say and things we do?  How great it would be to be a tree of life!

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in 1 Peter 3, NIV:

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

In the verses that follow these, Peter quotes Isaiah, who also warned about the evil tongue and deceitful speech.  The point is that, if I am speaking and acting out of a heart that is cooperative, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble, then I shouldn’t have to worry about the hate and discontent flowing out.  When I recognize that the insulting are spiritually sick, just like I have a tendency to be and a well-documented history of being, then I should be able to sympathize and love that much more easily.  Peter makes it part of our very identity and mission when he says, “to this you were called.”  Why sit and wonder what God’s will for my life is any longer?  It is to bless others, even those who are evil and insulting!  It says so right here.

God, help me be more like You want me to be, responding to needs and blessing others, even the hateful.  Help me remember that everyone needs You, and those without You are hurting though they may not perceive it, and are lost though they may not be aware of it.  Help me to be light and life to the dark and sick.

 

From the “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous, pages 66 and 67:

This was our course: We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick. Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too. We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, pity, and patience that we would cheerfully grant a sick friend. When a person offended we said to ourselves, “This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done.”

 

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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