I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †
From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:
“Every character defect we have today has been useful to us at some point in our lives, and we need to recognize that fact.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 57
One of my most glaring residual character defects likely remains because I have failed to admit this about it, and the next statement that goes with it, “Next, we need to recognize that each of these old tools for coping with life has now outlived its usefulness.” I remember when I first unleashed my tongue to say what it needed (wanted) whenever it needed (wanted). I had convinced myself that, in order to get my point across (get more of my way), I needed to be more forceful with my tone and verbiage. I even demonstrated to people that the use of gentle words was fruitless while abusive language got results. I defended the very practice by arguing its merit, and made a convincing, though errant, case justifying foul language even despite my verbal profession of faith in God. How twisted! I can’t help but think of Paul’s statement in 1 Corinthians 6:7, “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” This thought goes well with St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer, which says in part:
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
The Bible verse that glares me in the face each morning as I start my day, that bores this lesson deep into me is Colossians 3:8, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” “But now…” means that whatever payoff I once received from this behavior ends today. I must rid myself of the permission to perpetrate this evil, and shake the chains of it loose. I really don’t even want the seed of these thoughts in my mind any more. I would rather not get my way than to have to employ such harshness and filth.
God save me from my tongue, and from the violent wind that rattles it. Fill me instead with Your Spirit of truth and peace, and employ what once was a restless evil toward Your purposes of encouragement and love.
“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.” (James 3:17, NIV)
From my reading through the Bible, currently in Revelation 5, NIV:
5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.
Right on cue, the Lion of Judah shows me that He came as a Lamb, not forcing His way but meekly laying down His life for His friends, and it was in so doing that He gained power and glory and riches and honor forever and ever more. Amen! He demonstrated that submission beats commission, sacrifice trumps sarcasm, to give is better than to receive. All Heaven rejoices at the glory purchased with the wounding of this precious Lamb. Why not rather be wounded than miss out on communion with such a God as this?
From AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 91:
Our first objective will be the development of self-restraint. This carries a top priority rating. When we speak or act hastily or rashly, the ability to be fair-minded and tolerant evaporates on the spot. One unkind tirade or one willful snap judgment can ruin our relation with another person for a whole day, or maybe a whole year. Nothing pays off like restraint of tongue and pen. We must avoid quick-tempered criticism and furious, power-driven argument. The same goes for sulking or silent scorn. These are emotional booby traps baited with pride and vengefulness. Our first job is to sidestep the traps. When we are tempted by the bait, we should train ourselves to step back and think. For we can neither think nor act to good purpose until the habit of self-restraint has become automatic.
*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.