Monday, December 31, 2007

Prospective Retrospective

Happy New Year!
My habit is to write New Years Resolutions. Some I've kept. Many I recycle, putting them in the pot one more time, year after year. This year, there will be no resolutions. Oh, I do intend to improve in 2008. I lay claim to the promises! I've quoted those on pages 83-84 of the Big Book. This time I'll quote those in "A Vision for You."
God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.
Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. (AA Big Book, Page 164)
Resolutions imply I'm going to do something by will power and personal strength. I understand popular resolutions are:
  • lose weight
  • pay off debt
  • save money
  • get a better job
  • get fit
  • eat right
  • get a better education
  • drink less alcohol
  • quit smoking now
  • reduce stress overall
  • reduce stress at work
  • take a trip
  • volunteer to help others
Some of those things I want to happen in my life. I promise not to get in the way of those that need to happen. But for me to do it by my will power and determination? That's not going to happen. I know because they didn't happen in other years with all the umph I could give them. But with God's help, the ones that need to happen will happen in my life. That "with God's help" doesn't mean with God helping me. It means with God's help in getting me to remember to get out of his way so he can make them happen!

Fifty seven pounds in 2007. And I didn't do it. God did it. How good can it get? I have no idea. I'm looking forward to finding out, though. Thank God!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Fat Cows, Skinny Cows

Consider Genesis 41:17-21.
Pharaoh dreamed of fourteen cows, seven fat and sleek and seven slender--gaunt. Now, Genesis calls the lean cows ugly and the fat ones sleek. And Peter Paul Rubens painted "Rubenesque" women, for their lovely plump figures. I was Rubenesque a hundred pounds ago, and I'll take this me, thank you.

Pharaoh's lean cows ate the fat ones and remained lean. The sages of Egypt couldn't figure out the dream. They were stumped. Why were cows eating cows, why didn't consuming the fat cow make the skinny one fat? It simply didn't make sense, and they couldn't devise any scenario in which it did.

The sages hadn't been to diet and calorie/weigh and pay organizations. They hadn't starved themselves to get rid of "sleekness." Nor did they have the benefit of OA and the twelve steps. If they had, they might have realized similar mysteries. You can live on few enough calories to damage your health and the weight stubbornly stays in place. But with a spiritual approach to the steps, you can eat full, satisfying meals, and amazingly the pounds slough off.

So, how do you get there? By surrendering. By turning off the analytical mind telling you the whole idea is absurd. By simply doing what you're told to do, whether it makes a whit of sense or not. By delving into your past to learn who you are and find your strengths while admitting and accepting your past. By letting God guide and following his lead without questioning.

When I was young Daddy would say, "When I say jump, you better jump and you can ask how high on the way up." That kind of obedience of our Heavenly Father can turn fat cows into slender ones and miserable cows into happy people. Promise.


Are you analytical? Is it possibly a character defect? Remember, all character defects have a good side as well. How can you turn your will and your actions over to God?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

December 26. Relief.

It was a good Christmas, peaceful, pleasant. Yesterday I visited with both sons and both daughters-in-law and spent the day with extended family near home. But it was a delight to go home last night and fix a pot of turkey chili, my staple food, one I eat probably six to eight meals in a typical week. Having turkey chili didn't wipe out the fact I found myself sneaking into the kitchen for a crumb or a taste of this or that. It didn't mean I didn't realize all over again how addicted I really am, how harmful my "closet" eating is. But it was a good Christmas. And this is a GREAT day after Christmas, back at work, comfortable, unchallenged by omnipresent food.

I'll share a poem I wrote Monday night. It sounds depressed, but really, it isn't. Just realistic I think.

Christmas Eve
Why write a Christmas poem?
After two thousand years
the subject's saturated,
glorious songs by
Handel, Wesley, the bigs.
Besides, why me? I've
decked no tree these last few years.
Writing checks passes for giving
and keeps me out of malls.
It's Christmas Eve--I sit
with my computer. But earlier
I went to church, sang carols,
felt "in." And I care.
In a grinchy kind of way.
I'm thankful. For computer
peaceful nights, for people
I care enough to write
checks to. For an account
that doesn't cringe.
For God's love, as much tonight
as last night, last month, a week from
Tuesday. I'm glad earlier years
torn between competing parents
have passed, dissipated, ended.
I'm glad for hope for peace on
earth for me, for others, for
people who let go and let
God grant us glory. For the Word
that's God who gives us words.
For Grace. Thanks, God.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

It's 7:20 in the morning. We're dressed and ready to go when our 5 year old niece wakes. My boys and their wives are with their newer families. Excuse me. Christmas calls.

Merry Christmas!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Consider Psalm 51

We compulsive eaters certainly understand the despair, the misery and hopelessness inherent in the psalmist's cry. We've cried it as well. "God help me!" In my case, the prayer that resulted in God's taking away my compulsive eating was simply talking aloud to God as I've done for years, saying, "This is stupid!" Whatever the cry, whatever the circumstances of our sin, whether we know exactly what they are or just have the vague notion that God doesn't hear us, we know the sentiment. That's what sin is, you know. Separation from God. And he didn't separate himself. We caused the rift. 

My misdoings aren't exciting, just devastating to my own sanity. I once considered a friend of mine, how he must feel about a situation which resulted in legal proceedings:

    I wish to God I could unknot the mesh
    that is my life, to rectify the sin
    constraining howls within my soul, confess
    the blackness haunting me from depths within.
    Would that the soul who huddles from the ghost
    of my misdeeds could grasp the peace I've lost,
    could find a haven, knowing countless hosts
    of demons foist repayment of all cost.
    For justice through a system made by man
    is travesty compared to that by guilt 
    repaid. And bitter might-have-beens will pan
    society's responses 'til they wilt.
    So lock the doors, confine this worthless soul
    for even full release won't make me whole.
The regrets, whether for legal felonies or moral turpitude obvious only from the inside, result in intolerable distance between us and God. What can we do to fix it? The psalmist suggested scrubbing with hyssop. What's that? It was used in biblical times for cleansing--the temple, and people with leprosy among other uses. And the hyssop branch lifted to Jesus on the cross carried vinegar for thirst. Scrubbing with hyssop or antibacterial disinfectant or lye or any other cleanser won't fix sin, no matter how much we may want a solution. 

It's not the cleansing with hyssop that makes us clean, nor can washing make us whiter than snow. It's the willingness to be cleansed, the acceptance of the washing done by God. Once that acquiescence happens, then God can create a clean heart in us and renew--or create--a steadfast spirit in us.

At that point, with joy and a willing spirit, we are able to move on to the twelfth step, to teach others in our situation, other "transgressors" God's way and turn other compulsive eaters to God and the joy will be passed on and on and on. Thank God!


How contrite are you? Have you received God's assurance of your acceptance? Are you passing on your joy and peace?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Human Doing

Consider Psalm 37, especially verses 3 through 7.

The meditation from The Recovery Group this morning says something about before recovery being a human doing, not a human being. Neat! And right to the point.

Today is December 22, Christmas Eve Eve Eve, my daughter-in-law says. "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him" is a Herculean task in the days of rush and purchase, cook, eat, wrap, eat, run back out for the forgotten present, trek back for wrapping paper, watch the weather, we need to leave now or we'll not get there. And it's an even tougher time for many compulsive eaters, whose solace in food has been denied them, perhaps by the miracle of it's being removed, and else by the commitment to another person to follow our food plan despite the additional pressures and temptations. Add to the omnipresence of our trigger foods the reunions and time spent with the people with whom we interacted to become the mixed up crazy individual who first walked through the doors of OA.

We're reminded, at times, that "Jesus is the reason for the season." Yet there's another reminder for compulsive eaters necessary on such stress-filled days, joyous though they may be. That is that God can and will remove the burden of stress. All we have to do is let go and let him take it. Sometimes it's a bit more complicated, since we've held on so tightly and for so long we have no idea what we're holding--so enter steps 4, 5, and 6. But simply the willingness to let God take "our difficulties" whether we understand or not will lead to peace and serenity, a state of being (not doing) exquisitely more beneficial to us--and to those around us--than anything we can become as a human doing.

On this day it's good to stop, think, and pray.
God, I offer myself to Thee-to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always! (AA Big Book, page 63)


Are you a human doing or a human being today?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I found myself looking for somebody else's words to help me write my words to a woman I sponsor. Instead I found words that cannot be matched, the words of Terry Heaton. The essay is entitled "How I know God loves me."

Taking Stock

Consider Deuteronomy 8:2-3.

Like the Hebrews, we compulsive overeaters would gripe about manna from heaven, but we'd gripe because there was too little, and we couldn't stash it away for "tomorrow." Besides, according to the best information available, it wasn't sweet enough for my taste.

What do you gripe about? Don't limit this to words coming from your mouth; what do you feel cheated about? What are your grudges?

And your thankfulness? What brings joy to your heart? What (and who) makes your life easier? Name your blessings.

You know, "they" say Heaven is like floating around on a cloud all day, playing a harp, a life devoid of deadlines, responsibilities, worries, and hurts. Peaceful, huh? For how many days would you like to engage in that bliss? Depending on the complexity of the harp and how long it takes to master that, I could make maybe six months, tops, more like one, really. Thirty days. Thirty months? Years? Decades? Millennia? OUCH!

Stress. Trouble. Adversity. Complications. Aggravation. Friction. Enigma. Impediment. Burden. Are these such bad words? A constant stream of them can be maddening, but a constant diet of manna and quail would get pretty darned tiring as well. Okay, okay. I'm sitting here with a computer, with all my needs met, with the money and ability to get most tangible things I might want. I can minimize the benefit of a life of ease. But isn't it all relative? I don't have the money a professional football player gets for a game. I can't sign multi-million dollar contracts for my acting, singing, or even my excellent writing skills. (Insert smiling emoticon here.) I have much more than many, but much less than others.

In John 14:27, Jesus says he leaves us peace, he gives us peace. He doesn't give us what the world gives us, but instead leaves us with the ability to claim untroubled hearts. How do we get the peace, claim the untroubled hearts? Look to the steps.

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. 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. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us — sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them. (AA Big Book, 83-84)


  • What are your wants? List them without thinking of the next two questions.

  • What are your blessings?

  • What are your needs?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday, Me!

How many people blog on their first birthday? Well, probably most bloggers in recovery before the event occurs. Today is my first OA birthday. I'm going to take the occasion to say what it was like, what happened, and what's happening now.

Short answers: Ouch! Whoa! Whee!!!!!

I could close the post with some thanks, but you know I'm not going to.

My life had become unmanageable. I was powerless over food, computer games, procrastination, resentment, piles and piles of stuff to get around to, and hate. For the food I had tried:
  • Weight Watchers (3 or 4 times),
  • carb blockers,
  • amphetamines (way back when they were discouraged but still legal),
  • a metal pin in my ear at an acupuncture point I was supposed to massage when the urge to eat happened,
  • South Beach Diet,
  • a diet from Woman's World,
  • counting calories,
  • counting carbs,
  • Metabolic Research Center,
  • counseling (3 times, years at a time),
  • hypnotism,
  • motivational tapes,
  • new years resolutions,
  • goals for certain major events,
  • Weigh Down Diet,
  • lots of books, both directed at weight loss and at co-dependency and dealing with misogynists
  • partners in person and on the Internet, and
  • probably that many more things I can't come up with right now.

From October, 1996, through November, 1997, my "hell year," family medical and emotional crises brought me to my knees, and I decided to start taking better care of myself. I had an appointment once or more often weekly for an hour of stress relief, both physical and mental, and I seriously examined the possibility I might not live if I didn't reform. So I worked hard at reforming. I was taking Coumadin by the end of the year, which necessitated regular checkups, and of course you can't go into a doctor's office without being weighed. Part of my rehabilitation evidently was softening the edges of my pain with food, for in the spring of 1998, in the doctor's office, the scales yelled my weight at me in big bold numbers: 300. Ouch!

That scared me enough to let some of the tools work, and I got about 35 pounds off, probably more, but I maintained a 35 pound loss for the rest of the time, never getting (much) above 265. And never getting below 235, despite the best intentions and plenty of time to get ready for a formal wedding as the mother of the groom.

The third attempt at sorting through my psychoses (my term, not a clinical diagnosis) had been producing softening of my protective wall. The gift from my counselor of the book Overeaters Anonymous, 2nd edition, finally cracked through it. I read the whole book, thought it would be something I would look into after the busy holiday season, and plowed ahead. Until December 17, 2006.

I was driving to Sunday school where I'd been teaching the same class for more than 20 years. I stopped as was my routine, both Sundays and (with variations as to where and what but not if) weekdays, got my routine cup of cappuccino and a sweet roll. I got back in the car and, talking aloud to God which is my custom when alone, said "This is stupid." So, I threw it out, yes? No. I ate it all. But, had I known it would be the last, I would have held out for an apple fritter from AM Donuts and Croissants, not a greasy old convenience store sweet roll. That afternoon I Googled Overeaters Anonymous, found the OA site as well as The Recovery Group, and joined the Newcomers' loop in TRG. I found a wonderful food buddy in California and several other supportive OA members and started my recovery that day. It's now 10 AM, so it's about the hour of my last thoughtless bite as well.

Who starts weight loss a week and a day before Christmas? God. I didn't take another thoughtless bite, reporting what I ate daily, reading, learning, growing (and shrinking) through Christmas. But after one Christmas celebration with my family, I was back at my home where husband had been ill more than a month, working in the kitchen for his family's gathering the next day, and on December 24 I fell in my kitchen, injuring my left rotator cuff. Badly. I knew what I did because part of my hell year included severing the right rotator cuff in one fell swoop, that time not by falling but by sheer stress. I was hurt badly, but husband was in no shape to do anything to help. I could have driven to the emergency room, or gotten family members to help me, but I didn't. I toughed it out, even finishing my baking. The next day I got through the meal not eating anything I didn't think through first. I could have gone to the doctor on Tuesday, the 26th, but I was scheduled to leave the country on the 27th and I was afraid the doctor would say I couldn't go, so I didn't give him the opportunity. My husband remained sick enough he passed up the pre-paid trip to London, and I went with my son and daughter-in-law. I was separated from the on the plane, in an inside seat, and getting in and out of the seat was excruciatingly painful, but I got there, and we had a good time in London despite my pain. It was delightful to be with the kids on their first European trip. And every time I could find an Internet cafe, I emailed my OA buddies reporting back, telling them I'd allowed myself bread pudding, which was stupid because even then I knew it was one of those foods I should have on my trigger food lists, but I didn't go back for seconds at least, which I would have otherwise. And my husband and I had a favorite cafe in London where I knew I had to take the kids for tea and scones, and I ate them, but I reported back to the email team. And when I got back and weighed, early in January, I'd gone through Christmas and a week in London with no change in my weight. What a victory!

I didn't get to a fact to face meeting until January 24 because I had to change a standing appointment with my counselor to make time to go to the meeting, and I got my 30 day chip at that meeting. I remember their looking at me on the desire chip, hoping I'd take one, then the grins when I said I got the 30 day one. The group means so much to me. I look forward to Wednesday and the year chip. How can a little piece of plastic mean so much?

I've worked through the steps all the way, and I'm on my second time through, leisurely, working with the bunch of people I'm sponsoring. I've had two sponsors, one in Israel, and the other in my state though about 5 hours drive from home. They've both helped me as have the people I sponsor, my local face to face group, my friends from TRG, and my friends here. I readily tell people I'm in OA, and it's delightful to have people not recognizing me. The scales now start with a 1 instead of that awful 3. I used to wear 28's and now I'm wearing 14's. I lack another 50 pounds or so, but the weight isn't the big deal. The big deal is I have a life, a life that's large and marvelous, awesome! I'm pushing my comfort levels, discovering the talents I've worked to hide to keep from overshadowing people. I've been told for years, "I can't believe you do all the things you do" and that has embarrassed me tremendously. Now, finally, I'm DOING what they thought I was doing before, and I welcome the comment. I can't, either. And I'm not. God is. Thank GOD!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Well! Are You Proud of Yourself NOW?

Consider Galatians 6:2-5.

It's a familiar question, "Well! Are your proud of yourself now?" Actually, the expected answer seems usually to be "No." But does it have to be? Just what does pride in self mean?

Pride certainly runs with an obnoxious crowd, including vanity, conceit, vainglory, arrogance, and egotism. Yet sometimes it chums up with self-esteem. We compulsive overeaters, whose constant companion has been low self-esteem, can't very easily see that combination as bad. Still, just what does the word pride really mean? Perhaps pride is deep pleasure or satisfaction from your own achievements, or maybe it means the consciousness of one's own dignity, as in swallowing pride. 

Les Carter, author of Enough About You, Let's Talk About Me, observes:
Humility is the opposite of pride because it reflects a lack of self-preoccupation, a willingness to serve, an acknowledgement that we are limited in our ability to control other people and circumstances, and an understanding that we cannot demand favored treatment.
Humility we know about as we work Step 7, "Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings." Does this mean we have to approach Step 7 without the remnants of self esteem we may have preserved? Do we give up our dignity in this step? Do we have to believe we have no worth, no merit?

No. We do not give up our dignity, for we are God's children, and how dignified is that! We have worth, we have merit. And we have self-esteem. But pride? No, we don't have pride in ourselves by any of the definitions, for the best option of a definition for pride in ourselves is a feeling of deep pride or satisfaction derived from our own achievements. Hey, look back up there at step 1! We admitted we were powerless over food, and that our lives had become unmanageable. That means we realized we have nothing to be proud of, for we can't pull ourselves out of this muck. 

But pride? Oh, yes. We've got pride. We have the shield of Abraham, the fear of Isaac, the mighty one of Jacob. With the writer of Psalm 47, we see ourselves as the pride of Jacob, for whom God chose our inheritance and to whom he gives his love. 

When you're asked, "Are you proud of yourself now?" answer with awe and honor, "I'm proud of God who made me what I am now!"    


What does humility mean to you?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Neither Life Nor Death!

Consider Romans 8:38-39.

Neither life nor death will separate me from God's love. I know. I've loved this passage for a long time, I've used it for theological arguments where mine is a minority position, I've rested in the firm conviction of salvation. My life or my death, it's in God's hands.

It doesn't say that! There's no limitation saying "Neither my life nor my death nor [lots of other stuff] will separate me from God's love!" What about the death of other people, those close to us we rue, regret, or blame on God, or those of our enemies, on whom we wish a quicker one. What about other peoples' lives?

Consider the passage in the Big Book about our directing the play.

Each person is like an actor who wants to run the whole show; is forever trying to arrange the lights, the ballet, the scenery and the rest of the players in his own way. If his arrangements would only stay put, if only people would do as he wished, the show would be great. Everybody, including himself, would be pleased. Life would be wonderful. In trying to make these arrangements our actor may sometimes be quite virtuous. He may be kind, considerate, patient, generous; even modest and self-sacrificing. On the other hand, he may be mean, egotistical, selfish and dishonest. But, as with most humans, he is more likely to have varied traits.

What usually happens? The show doesn't come off very well. He begins to think life doesn't treat him right. He decides to exert himself more. He becomes, on the next occasion, still more demanding or gracious, as the case may be. Still the play does not suit him. Admitting he may be somewhat at fault, he is sure that other people are more to blame. He becomes angry, indignant, self-pitying. (AA Big Book pages 59-60)

I knew I tried to direct little things, when I occasionally thought about
this passage--one act plays, or even just scenes. What of epic dramas, though? That never occurred to me, but I'm absolutely guilty of that one, perhaps even more than the mini plays. I know best when people should bow out--die--or when God/Fate/Chance is too cruel in ripping a person out of the play too soon. Foolish me. I'm wrong.

My parents have lost their dignity and quality of life. After sixty-six years of marriage and more than ninety years, enough is enough. Let us remember them as they were! That's not my decision to make. It's God's, and he doesn't need my input. I know a lot of OA's consider suicide. While I never have, murder has crossed my mind and wishing people dead has dwelt there for long stretches. No more, with God's help. I'll leave that in his hands. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference! Amen, so be it!


How do you direct life's plays?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Spiritual, not Religious

Consider Matthew Matthew 23:2-33

Religious history isn't pretty. Consider the Crusades, the Inquisition, witch burnings, the immoral lives of the clergy including the papacy, war in our own lives between protestants and Catholics in Ireland--these merely scratch the surface. Still, I am and will continue to be a member of the great organization that is the Body of Christ. I believe in the church, but oh, so much more I believe in the God and the Christ whose story and essence has been handed down through the centuries by organized religion.

Looking at the Big Book chapter "We Agnostics" I'm certainly NOT drawn by the title. On the other hand, the truth inherent in the message of "We Agnostics" brought to me more clearly and more personally the great principles of the Christian faith far better than sixty years of study, church membership, and teaching all the way from kindergartners to nonagenarians. OA pulled the information from my head and planted it firmly in my heart.

The third step principle asks, "Is God everything, or is he nothing?" If God is everything, which is the easy answer for Christians to voice, then NOTHING can stand between you and God. Nothing. Not your stubborn pride, not your ambition, not your husband, wife, father, son, mother, sister, brother or daughter. Patriotism has a huge role to play, but allegiance to your country cannot come between you and your God. The church has a huge role to play. But where does it fit when it comes to your relationship with God? The answer is the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE MUST be a closer relationship with God!

I'm a United Methodist. I find myself sponsoring other United Methodists, a Seventh Day Adventist, a Buddhist, a Jew, two Catholics, a Church of Christ, and several others. One had a problem on her resentment list with a doctrine of her church. The old me would have debated theology with her. The OA me was stymied. I prayed about it, then went to bed listening to mp3's from There Mark H. said, "The minute I put God in a box, I can’t know any more nor will I experience any more about him.... Please lay aside what you think you know." He quoted God as telling him, "Why do you keep telling people you understand me? Who do you think you are?"

"You shall have no gods before me." That includes organized religion. The church has a place, but it's not higher than your being open to what God tells you.


What is your relationship with the church? Can you listen to God for firsthand knowledge and not rely on the church to give it to you secondhand? What is the role of the church after you have established and continue to maintain your relationship with God?

Friday, December 7, 2007

A Permanent Response to Temporary Problems

In the 19th chapter of I Kings, Elijah, afraid, ran from the king's evil intentions. He wanted to live enough to flee danger, but after walking a day alone the desire to live that had sent him on the trip had vanished, and he prayed for his own death. He went to sleep, but an angel woke him, fed him, and led him into his life's work.

I've never considered suicide. Homicide? Yes. I've protected myself from succumbing to my anger by drafting a book showing my preferred method of committing murder, knowing that would be found if anybody looked into my motives and thoughts after the contemplated death. Still, I know many in this program who have contemplated suicide rather than homicide as a way out.

Today I went to the funeral of a talented personable 26-year-old professional who took her own life. Her work was redirecting troubled teens, kids I work with as well, though on a less personal basis. Sometimes, knowing a youngster is on suicide watch, I tell them they are loved, that suicide is a very permanent solution to temporary concerns and problems. I don't know if I've ever had any effect on them. I doubt the woman who died ever heard me say that to the kids, but another who's heard me often expressed the desire the conversation might have taken place. I wish it had, too, though I certainly don't expect she could have been stopped by my words. I feel compelled to write here, though, should the reader need the reassurance.

The neat part about OA is the people. No, not the neat part; an important neat part of OA is people like me and people like you, a family, a home. If you walk into the rooms of OA, you are loved there. And, through that experience, you can find you are loved by many others as well. Through the love of others, you can grow to love yourself. You are loved. I love you. God loves you. Please please, let OA people love you. 

The last three verses of Romans 8:
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
NIV, Romans 8:37-39

Remember. You are loved.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mirror, Mirror--Don't Look at ME!

Consider James 1:23-25.

The fourth step takes courage. Looking in the mirror, either a physical reflection or a self-examination of our lives, sends rampant shivers for compulsive overeaters. We tend to be harsh on ourselves, but certainly not exclusively. We're mad at the world, and we've taken it and taken it and taken it for years. We want to scream with the character in the movie Network "I'm mad as H__ and I'm not going to take it anymore." Is it any wonder so many of us waltz through the first three steps, only to pause and start again? 123-oops-123-oops-123.

For some of us, our fourth step list of resentments spews out easily. Others stutter through and end with a short list. Ask those low resentment folks about fears or anger or people who have wronged them, though, and sometimes they, too, spew hurts.

Once the resentment list is made, the second part, writing why we resent that person, is easy. We could write pages about why this person, idea, or institution has earned our contempt. Moderation, though, marks the best course. Limit the pages to a pittance--less than 20 words each.

How our fourth step revelations emerge depends on our various ideas about life. We're so similar in many ways. We're low in self-esteem, though some express that by demanding attendion and respect while others deny they possess the human dignity for anybody to do anything for us. We feel we've been treated like doormats, some angrily trying to trip the next offender and others desparately trying to lie flat and still to facilitate the abuse. Still, as we work throught Step 4, we find ourselves face to face with ourselves.

What we face are our hurts, our wounds. What is wounded can be our self-esteem, our security, our ambitions, our personal relations, or our sex relations. For some of us, though, these tags feel wrong. None fit exactly. Fear? Oh, yes. That one fits. And fear can be described with the other words. Fear is our self-esteem threatened, our security lessened, our ambitions inhibited, our relations hindered. But how, exactly? Let's look at the words and what they mean.

Self-esteem confidence, dignity, morale, self-assurance, self-respect, self-satisfaction, worth
securitypeace of mind, feeling of safety, stability, certainty, happiness, confidence
ambitionsaspirations, desires, dreams, goals, hopes, wishes
personal/sex relationsDealings, communications, relationships, connections, contact, interaction

Finally, we face the real issue. Just how did all this happen through us? What did we do? We've focused always on the wrongs to us, which may have been horrendous. But we can't change the persons we resent. We can abandon ideas or institutions, but we continue to live with ourselves. Compulsive eaters know guilt and shame all too well. Some of it we've imposed on ourselves. Some, though, we've earned, and it's time to pry out the details so we can be healed. Do you know how you contributed? Maybe. If you don't, one way I've found helpful in leading people through this step is to ask them to step into the shoes of the resented person. Then they write about themselves from the other point of view. In the end, we see the whole picture, probably for the first time.

Is that awful? Maybe. Temporarily. But it's awe-full as well. It's a source of wonder, of release, of finally letting go. The Big Book says:
This is the how and the why of it. First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn't work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director. He is the Principal; we are His agents. He is the Father, and we are His children. Most Good ideas are simple, and this concept was the keystone of the new and triumphant arch through which we passed to freedom.

Like the woman brought before Jesus, our accusers drift away. Knowing all our frailties and faults, God loves us. He doesn't condemn you. Don't condemn yourself. Walk triumphantly through the arch to freedom.


Look at your fourth step. Do those parts you haven't tried yet. Finish those you played down. When you've finished, write what you've learned about yourself.

You are who you are, and you are a loved and valuable child of God. Love yourself.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

We Fear Fear Itself

Consider Isaiah 21:4.

What are you afraid of? Oh, let me count a few. Fear. Failure. Embarrassment. Humiliation. A strap showing. A runner in my hose. (More explicitly, people knowing there's a runner.) Falling on my face in the middle of the street. Again. Calling somebody the wrong name. Making a fool of myself. Forgetting something important, like the time I was the scheduled speaker and forgot to show up. That's been ten, fifteen years ago, but the fear and humiliation and shame remain. We fear fear and the familiar paralysis it spawns.

Step 4 directs us to list our fears, and a fearful task that is! The Big Book says of fear:
This short word somehow touches about every aspect of our lives. It is an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn't deserve. But did not we, ourselves, set the ball rolling? Sometimes we think fear ought to be classed with stealing. It seems to cause more trouble. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 67-68)
Stealing? Maybe. I haven't dealt with that one like I have with fear. It's not as crushingly familiar. Why should fear and stealing have anything in common? That one doesn't compute. At the same time, though, deep in the recesses of my mind, I know there's truth in the statement. So why? What have I done to deserve this fear? Stealing is wrong! Is fearing a crime? A sin? 

How many times does the Bible say, "Fear not"? More than a hundred times. That's a command, in the imperative mood as far as verb analysis is concerned. In other words, it's an order. I'd love to obey that order--if only I could. 
Perhaps there is a better way--we think so. For we are now on a different basis; the basis of trusting and relying upon God. We trust Infinite God rather than our finite selves.... Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity. (page 68)
So, if we turn our lives and our wills over to God, we really will not fear? What a deal!


List your fears. Then describe what life would be if the fears were removed. How is fearing like stealing from yourself?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ready to Let God

Consider 2 Chronicles 20:1-30.

Step 6 says we were entirely ready to let God remove our defects of character. It feels a lot like Step 3 revisited. Maybe revisiting 3 is a good idea after 4 and 5. We've discovered how deeply entrenched our character defects are by Step 6. We figure we've already asked for relief from our weaknesses, many of us for years and years. We've earnestly prayed, "God, give me the power to resist..." and "God, help me stop...." We've had mixed results. The same outcome we got in dieting for years and years and years. The same success we had from the resolutions to do anything right. The same failures, time after time. Why hasn't God helped us when we asked? We already admitted way back at step 1 we were powerless and couldn't do this.

There's a shorthand version of the first three steps: I can't. God can. I'll let him.

But we don't let him. We're still asking him to help us. And therein lies the problem. Look at the story of Jehoshaphat on hearing of the coming threat from Moab and Ammon. He cried to God for help, bewailing. He reminded God they would turn to him in the event of famine or plague. He blamed God for not letting Israel defeat Moab and Ammon earlier. He griped that now Israel didn't have the power to defeat the armies advancing. In all his protestations, he overlooked the obvious. "This is God's fight, not yours, King." Jehoshaphat sent out what we'd now call a praise team. And God won.

I can't. God can. I'll let him. That doesn't say "I'll recruit God as my assistant." It says, "I surrender. Here I am, God, reporting for duty. I stand here, cowed by my character defects lined up here before us. Can I hang onto your coattails and watch you wipe them out?"


Write what it would be like to be an actor in God's play, not the director of your own. Describe how you've tried to live by self-propulsion. How have you been self-centered in your relationship with God?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Lesson of Balaam's Donkey

Consider Numbers 22.

"They" say in writing children's stories not to use anthropomorphic characters in books and stories. We who grew up with Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter's books find this a little sad. It still feels like Peter Rabbit and Eeyore have something to teach us. I guess "they" would have told the author of Numbers not to speak of Balaam's donkey. If "they" did, I'm glad they were ignored.

The story and words of Balaam take three chapters, Numbers 22 through 24, but introducing it is the delightful story of Balaam's donkey, taking only a few verses. Obviously Balaam trusted and followed God; Balaam made his living by divination for fees, cursing or blessing events and people according to God's instruction. The journey with Balak's agents began with God's blessing but a limiting instruction to take it step by step and wait for divine direction. Had Balaam actually been open to that guidance, we'd never have met his mode of transportation, though.

What happened to change Balaam's focus, to shift his attention from God, is never stated. However, evidently he'd been promised opulence and traveled with esteemed companions. Often when we're recognized we make the mistake of believing it to be for our own abilities, even knowing full well we're powerless on our own, that our progress and abilities come through turning our lives over to God. A gentleman I see most weeks just asked if I'd been losing weight. Yep. Over a hundred pounds since he's known me, more than fifty in the last year. He commented that it takes a lot of work, real will power. I disagreed and told him with OA, it's easy, the compulsion's been taken away.

The twelfth step gets scary. What do we have to offer others? How can we guide? WHAT? You want ME to be your sponsor? We tremble. Why?

Because we forget those divine directions. We forget we don't have to sponsor, we just have to pass on God's words.

Balaam didn't listen, didn't see an angel blocking the path. The donkey did. The donkey stopped short, refusing to go even when Balaam beat him. Three times. Balaam threatened to kill the donkey for embarrassing him. And the donkey spoke. "What's going on? We've been together a while, don't you trust me? Look around!" Well, not quite, but just the speaking is the point.

And the point of my speaking to you through this text is to say don't worry about being a sponsor. Just look around, be aware of God's presence, and be a spokesman for him. That's all. That's all? That's POWERFUL!

And after all, if you don't do it, God can use the nearest donkey, or kitten, or even goldfish. Relax. You're in God's hands.


Think about times you've heard somebody speak, either in an OA meeting, on an email, reading the Big Book, or even a novel, and known that God directed you to that statement at that time. Write about the times you think of. Then write about times God's had you say something you had no idea would mean anything to the person you were talking to and it did.

Oops! I wasn't just lazy for a day!

Greetings. I knew I hadn't posted in a while, but it never occurred to me it had been nine days. I need to be here, and I appreciate the fact you're here for me. I'm thankful for those of you who have said these posts are meaningful for you.

I'm thankful also for my very first abstinent Thanksgiving! It was a blessing, and I found it easy and joyous. Thanks be to God! It's been eleven months and two weeks since my last compulsive eating, and now that feels natural. Wonderfully, naturally natural. Geesh. Who'd a thunk it?

I was asked by the sponsor coordinators at The Recovery Group if I was still "full" and not taking on new sponsoreds (my word--I don't like sponsee or pigeon or anything else, and I really don't like this one either. What does work?) Anyway, I have three new people, and they're a real treat. I needed this, and it all came at the proper time for me in my program.

Another event happened appropriately this weekend. I've expected for more than a month for my hard drive on my favorite computer to crash. It failed while I happened to have a computer programmer in the house, home for Thanksgiving. He installed Windows for me, and I was confident when I sent him home I could take care of the rest. However, I kept running into glitches. Not permanent roadblocks, just glitches, making it impossible at this point for me to connect to the Internet on that machine or to even copy all the carefully backed up files I've been saving for the inevitable event of the hard drive crash. I've discovered, though, it's not a problem. It's a blessing. I've needed these two days without ready easy access to cyberspace to put my life and my priorities back in perspective, the perfect end to the long Thanksgiving weekend. Tomorrow I'll ask the question I need to ask for access to be restored, but for today, I've chosen not to. With God's guidance and help. I licked through the power of the twelve steps the compulsion to play computer games that caused me to start this blog on September first. (I've not played a game online since then, have started two paper sudoku puzzles and lost interest, leaving them unfinished. Amazing!) Now I've seen the problem with the instant access to the Internet, and while I'll maintain the access to work with my sponsoreds, to blog, and to communicate with my partners on a major project and my friends and family, with God's help it will be in the proper moderation.

The post is long already. I'm tempted to go ahead and do a devotional that's playing in my mind, but I guess I'll post this and very soon, I'll post the devotional. Thanks for reading and for walking these steps with me.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Lazy Today

I haven't posted a devotional for a while. Okay. I posted a couple on Wednesday, but I don't think I wrote them on Wednesday. Anyway, this isn't a devotional. I don't think.

It is, however, a report on how it was, what happened, and how it's different.

I lived stretching the limits of my small life, but it remained a small life. That's how it was. What happened is I found these rooms, and nothing's been the same since. That will be eleven months tomorrow. Wow, what a transformation!

How it is today. Wonderful. What an empty word to attempt to describe how it is, despite the fact I'm tired. But the reason I'm tired is that it's wonderful. I have exploded the limits of my small life, and I'm stretching the limits of an unlimited life. Wow!

I knew my world was growing, and I was pushing on it, encouraging it, watching God do what I hadn't even imagined in it. Then Tuesday, the dam burst. My three partners and I--well, we are. But the enterprise was new enough we haven't signed a partnership agreement. I guess now it's time and well past that!--had with sane, logical steps started a new business enterprise, stretching our worlds, but testing the strength of each limb before we ventured onto it. All of a sudden our group conscience (thanks for letting me borrow the term for non 12-step stuff) was challenged, declared wrong and invalid by a professional. Individually each one of us might have caved in and submitted to the "better" judgment of somebody with experience. With the strength of our commitment to each other and to our common idea, goal, project--dream--we stood our ground, reduced the participation from one plus four back down to four, and became a business. My heart still speeds as I type that "became a business." But we're going to do it, we're going to do it our way, and we're going to do it up right as well as right.

I'm spent a lot of nights lately at the computer until about midnight, back on it at 5, and I'm tired. I'm tired, but actually, I'm not really lazy. I lied to you. I apologize.

What's your dream? It can come to fruition if you work these steps and put it all in God's hands then let go and let him use you. I promise.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why me, God?

Consider Numbers 11:10-15.

Two extremes typify our reaction to discord, tension, and tragedy in our lives. One is this response of Moses, mad at the inconvenience, blaming God for dumping on him rather than putting one foot in front of the other and in God’s peace walking through the mess, discovering in the process who he is and the talents God has bestowed on him.

The other extreme is to accept responsibility for all ills and trouble in our lives, blaming ourselves because of a past indiscretion or a general feeling of blameworthiness. “I tell myself it's because I stole the man’s wallet twenty years ago. When I got cancer I knew that was why.”

Neither is healthy. Both express anger misdirected. Both cause us, compulsive overeaters, to turn to food. So what can we do?

Look at the problem realistically. Turn to God and ask him -- not in a blaming way but praying for guidance, for stamina, for God’s presence to walk through the current problem. And look at the past problem in the same light. What have you done in the past that actually may have affected the present? How can you understand the whole situation so you can address it rationally and in God’s power.

Numbers 12 tells an interesting story of Moses’ siblings feeling him blameworthy. That’s between Moses and God and long past. It’s not our inventory to take. Take your own.

Look at the resentments you listed in List my tears, God! and the reasons for your anger. Beside each, look within yourself and examine what you might have done—or definitely did—that could have caused the situation or worsened it. Write it down, being completely honest with yourself.

List my tears, God!

Consider Psalm 56:5-8

The big “THEY.” How huge a word that is. Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. For the compulsive overeater, that poison has many names, among them sugar, corn chips, pizza, cola, and mashed potatoes lathered with gravy.

What is resentment? The Latin root is “to feel”—resentment is to feel again. Feel what? Anger. Anger? What am I angry about, you may ask. Probably the real question is, “What are you not angry about?" Perhaps you grew up believing nice people didn’t feel angry, that good children don’t have bad thoughts. It’s time to rethink that old idea.

We do get angry, and over the slightest things. In the middle of preparing a meal, we’re interrupted when our child comes in, needing us to do something simple. We love the child, it’s appropriate we’re asked to do it, but the interruption is, well, interrupting. The child’s business takes precedence over ours. Maybe in the larger sense we even see it’s proper that way, but it doesn’t stop the fact we felt resentment.

Most resentments aren’t that small. The ones we remember and re-remember, the angry moments we live time and time again are far from small. It can be from decades ago when your mother would not have stopped to help and the child was you. It can be a terrible wrong, a crime, committed against you. Until you take them out and look at them, they remain. And as they remain, you deal with them. For compulsive eaters, we deal with most problems by numbing the pain with food.

The psalmist resented. “All day long they twist my words; they are always plotting to harm me. They conspire, they lurk, they watch my steps, eager to take my life.” What do you resent?

Who is your “THEY?” Why do you resent them? Take a piece of paper, and along the left side of the page write the names that come to mind of people you resent, skipping a line between each. Add ideas (you can’t date until you’re 16, respect your father, etc.) and institutions (the church always just wants money, the bank won’t leave me alone.)

Go back and briefly describe why you resent that person, idea, or institution.

Monday, November 12, 2007


The assignment for my poetry group was the subject "Triage." I know NOTHING about medicine....

Can the patient be saved?
Depends on what you mean.
Her immortal soul? Oh, yeah.
These martyrs have it made.
She’s lived in hell through a
marriage with a lout. Nothing
post mortem could phase her.
Pshaw. You know that’s not
what I mean.
Physically? She’s not too far
gone, lots of stress injuries
even to muscles and ligaments
not from exertion but from,
well, stress.
Come on. Quit being cute.
I’m serious.
I’m serious, too. The levity’s
a cover for my spirit rupturing
when I see the psychic pain.
I know. Can she be saved?
Yeah. She’s reached the bottom.
She’s ready to give up using all
her substantial resources trying
to hold it all together, to make
a life for the kids he taunts,
to build her self-respect that’s
atrophied under his onslaughts,
to grow against his attempts
to espalier her like a bonsai tree.
And reaching the bottom is good?
Oh, essential. Now she can let go
reach up, admit she can’t,
and God’s there, waiting for
the slightest hint of her invitation
to come in and fix it all.
So she’ll live.
Oh, more than live. Now she’ll
thrive, she’ll fly, soaring to
heights of talent and energy and
success she’d buried so deep and
so long she’d though never even
existed when they’re who she is.
Yes, now finally, she’ll live!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

What does willingness mean?

Consider Genesis 22:1-12.

I hate some of the Old Testament stories. When my children were day-care age, I "interviewed" a church day care as to their curriculum. I mentioned Noah's Ark, and the woman said oh, they used that all the time. I pointed out to her that wasn't a picture of God as I knew him, someone who gets mad and destroys humanity to just start over. She didn't understand, but I put my kids there anyway, lacking anything better. The story of Abraham going to the mountain to sacrifice Isaac is equally abhorrent.

Still, what a lesson it teaches for Step 6! What does that language of "entirely ready" mean? It means absolute trust. When it looks like God's careening down the wrong path with your life, it means you resist the urge to grab the wheel. It means whatever is most precious to you--your reputation, your wealth, your family, your career, your abstinence, anything!--will not stand in the way of your blind obedience to God's will. He has no obligation to show you the whys. He doesn't have some "'splaning to do" as Ricky told Lucy. Faith. Trust.

There are activities meant to build group cohesiveness involving blindfolded people falling backwards and being passed from hands to hands calmly. Could you do it calmly? Could you do it at all? If you knew God's hands were there to catch you, would the answer be closer to yes--or further away? How real is your God? Is he such a spirit, so disassociated with the physical, you couldn't trust him physically?

Isn't it easier to trust him physically than mentally or spiritually?

Write about it. How well do you trust God? How ready are you to have him remove defects of character that are an integral part of you? How can you cope? How could you decline?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Spewed from God's mouth.

Consider Revelation 3:14-22.

I live in a small city, a tad larger than 100,000. I go to a comfortable church, not in the ritziest part of town, but respectable. And many of the congregants do come from posh sections. Maybe a dozen blocks away is a poor area, not destitute, but obviously struggling. We serve them, have outreach projects. We have a lot in common with Laodicea. Probably your church does, too.

What about you? What about me? Does God want us to buy gold from him refined in the fire, to buy white clothes to wear. What? In winter? I don't look good in white. I might spill stuff on it.

I bet you've prayed for God to help you lose weight. Right? I certainly have. What did you want to happen when you prayed? That he would remove the offensive pounds, that he would pull you to his comforting hug when travails and tribulations drove you to the food for comfort? That he would make the excess calories you consumed evaporate? Or did you pray for him to give you the courage day after day after day to eat the right foods, to plan what you eat and eat what you planned, to truly rely on God for comfort and consolation rather than the food?

Are you willing to ask God to take away your difficulties, to release you from your self? What would that mean? Honesty. Openness. Facing the blackness of your soul and forgiving yourself. Facing those you've wronged and seeking their forgiveness. That's what it means for God to take away your difficulties, to release you from yourself, your self.

Is God everything, or is God nothing? What? You don't like those choices? If God is everything, we have no say-so. We don't decide our goals, our actions, who we like, who we hate. We don't run our lives. If God is nothing??? No. God is not nothing. What's the other choice? Can't I just be good, ask God's advice, let him in on the decision making? No. Halfway doesn't count. In our out. Hot or cold. Or get spewed from God's mouth.

The third step prayer is.... Wait a minute. I won't do what the big book does and give you the prayer then the warning. The warning from page 63 of Alcoholics Anonymous says:
We thought well before taking this step making sure we were ready; that we could at last abandon ourselves utterly to Him.

Okay. The third step prayer says:
God, I offer myself to Thee--to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and thy Way of live. May I do Thy will always!

Don't pray the 3rd step prayer lightly. Think about it. If you're ready to pray it, you might want to do it with another person or in a church.

Friday, November 9, 2007

When is a decision more than that?

Consider Mark 10:17-21.

Are you a good citizen? When did you last commit a felony? A misdemeanor? An act of moral turpitude? If you did one out of character act in your youth you may still be wracked with guilt over it. A serious act of misconduct would probably result in terminal remorse. So. You’re a good Christian, right?

The answer is yes! You’re a good person, a person who believes in Christ, a good Christian. Right? Right!

Do you feel like it? Probably not. Even if you don’t murder, refrain from adultery, avoid taking anybody else’s stuff, even to the extent of taking back what you accidentally carry off—if you like the rich young ruler have dutifully obeyed the commandments since your youth, you know something’s lacking. “What must I do?” is your earnest prayer.

Don’t assume because of Jesus’ answer voluntary poverty is the answer. Don’t assume the rich cannot find the presence of the Kingdom of God. Look deeper at what’s happening. Jesus knew the man standing before him, knew his Achilles heel. The man’s wealth was more important to him than the peace and joy he sought. He was willing to follow Jesus but on his own terms, not of Jesus’. He couldn’t relinquish all. He could only relinquish most.

Don’t ask God to be your assistant. Don’t seek God as an equal partner. Don’t buy into the “God is my co-pilot” crowd. Make yourself God’s assistant, his employee, his co-pilot.

If you had the conversation with God, asking him what you had to do to find this peace of heart that can take the place of food in your life, what answer would you fear most? What would make you tremble if God suggested it had to go? Your reputation? Your intelligence? Educational status? Financial security? What would you not be willing to give up to be slim?

A Kids' Meal God

Consider 1 Cor. 13:10-12.

My friend Karen is a writer, editor, publicist, a worker with words. Mid-thirties and a mother herself, she's made a discovery. The mother she knew as a breadwinner, disciplinarian, and homemaker writes as well! Karen has seen how even the discipline--copying words and definitions from the dictionary--and certainly the books they shared were tools in skillful hands developing potential with an oh-so-gentle touch.

I've recently come to an understanding of my own mother. A talented, intelligent woman, except for brief periods in protected environments, she had lived with her parents or with her husband for thirty years before I was born. That birth marked a turning point and found her far from home with an infant and a four-year-old, my father traveling from Monday morning until Friday evening. Two years later, another baby arrived. She is and was a good mother, but overwhelmed and insecure, she passed on to me not only her talents and intellect but self-doubt.

In 1952 J. B. Phillips' Your God is Too Small was published. It's been reprinted, the latest being 2004. The book was a classic by the time I read it in the early 70's, and I particularly remember a passage about whether or not God understands radar. Maybe today the question is microchips or nuclear fission or how to program a DVD recorder. The answer, no matter what the question, is "of course." But that's not the question or the answer. The question is What is your understanding of God? Like Karen, do you assume you're the first to write poems, that the concept would be foreign to your parent? Is the God of your understanding the one you met in Sunday School, sitting on a rug at the teacher's feet? Just how big is your God?

In restaurants, given the chose of regular sized, child sized, or supersized, all too often we compulsive overeaters have chosen to supersize. Twice. Maybe the smaller portion meal makes more sense for us. But if you're stuck with a child-sized God because you never looked at him again after you learned everything you needed to know about him--It's time to supersize.

Consider the prayers of Tevye, the Jewish lead character in Fiddler on the Roof. He asks impertinent questions, such as, "Dear God. Was that necessary? Did you have to make him lame just before the Sabbath? That wasn't nice. It's enough you pick on me. Bless me with five daughters, a life of poverty, that's all right. But what have you got against my horse?" If you were as blunt as Tevye, what would you say to God? What would he answer back to you? Write it down.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

So Who Is God?

Consider Exodus 3:13-14

Have you ever met a celebrity? Once I sat beside a U.S. Senator at lunch. He had no intention of being involved in conversation, of acknowledging the peons around him other than demanding the oversight of his not having received a slice of pie be rectified, and immediately! I made a nametag for another senator and misspelled her name, much to her disgust and my chagrin.

George W. Bush was different. In his gratitude for the background work I’d done, setting up the room, etc., he kissed my cheek. A couple of weeks later I stood in a coliseum full of people listening to him. As he walked past me leaving through the crowd, he recognized me, calling me by my title. Then he said he wanted Laura to meet me, having some helpers bring her forward.

When people step out of the newspapers and off the TV screens into your life, they’re real. Some such experiences please; others disgust. But the person on the TV or in newsprint never stops being real after the experience.

I’ve always known God through the Bible, the pictures, the sermons. I’d studied New Testament Greek so I could read the original text. I’d taught Sunday school, and instructed the teachers, and I’d even preached twice. I brought a thorough understanding of the Bible, from historical, theological, and archaeological aspects.

Then he stepped off the pages and into my life. He’ll never be the same. He is. He is real. He is vital, caring, present, understanding, compassionate, accepting. He is love. Love I’ve never before known from any source.

Now that I’ve met God, who is Love, though, I find love all around me.

In the past I believed God performed miracles. I found myself entranced by stories of my own great grandfather’s faith great enough to heal people. And mules. But as strong as my belief in God’s awesome power had been, the power became real and personal for me on December 17, 2006.

That’s when I knew he not only had performed miracles in the past but that he could and would accept my burdens and relieve me of the insanity of my life. That’s the day I stopped turning to food for comfort, for I met comfort himself.

Who is your God? How well do you know him? Can he meet the needs that drive you crazy? What kind of God do you want? What do you want him to do for you? Write it out. God can climb out of the box you may have found him in and into your life.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I give up.

"I give up." A year ago I would have told you those words reflected defeat. Now I know they bring freedom, victory, peace, serenity, joy, and sanity. Blessed sanity. And weight loss is an exciting byproduct of sanity! But first, surrender is necessary--and oh so positive!!!

Consider David when finally confronted with the question, "What have you done?" (I Samuel 1:1-13a) David knew God. He had been chosen by God to be king over Israel. Together they had confronted the world, and David knew what it was to depend of God's guidance. He forgot. He was king, and he decided he could make decisions and run things. He did a lousy job of it. He and Bathsheba bore the consequences of their actions in the loss of the child of their misconduct. David repented completely, but having faced his failure accepted with it the aftermath. Don't you suspect he had many sleepless nights during his misconduct? Don't you know he would have expected God to have been as kind to him as he was to Uriah the Hittite? The consequences were dire, but they were out in the open, not the fear of the unknown, and now he could move forward, no longer relying on his decision-making abilities but again turning to God.

My life was unmanageable. My misdeeds weren't as dramatic as David's, but they abounded and they haunted me. I was intelligent, educated, a natural leader. For what reason would I expect not to be able to do what other people were doing? Like eating sanely. Like gaining the respect of those closest to me. Like living a meaningful life, not just existing, an automaton drearily plodding through the assigned tasks. Why could I not love and be loved? What was wrong with me?

What I hated most was for someone to say, "I don't know how you do all the things you do." I felt so false, so bogus. I wasted hours every day, avoiding doing what needed to be done, then rushed through the tasks when the deadline loomed and facing them was easier than facing myself, a failure once again.

My life was out of control, both in eating and in every other area. I had to have help. I needed sanity.

This morning I experienced a wave of the old madness. Nothing major was wrong. I had finished a massive project yesterday and felt pride in the product and the growth experience. But the bathroom scales didn't dip as far as I had hoped, and Tuesdays I normally go weigh "officially." What if my landmark 100 pounds off from last week no longer existed? The tank was low, so I stopped for gas, more expensive than the last two weeks. I should have bought yesterday or the day before. The car wash code I'd bought a week ago was rejected. Turning left against rush hour traffic seemed senseless, so I drove right then turned around.

Suddenly, with no more justification than that, the old insanity washed over me, that longing that in the past on virtually every day had sent me to the donut shop for an apple fritter. I'd tapered off and more recently the need had been treated to a weight-loss bar instead, but still, that was feeding the beast, and it was insanity. I didn't fall prey to it today. I know the urge came in part because this devotional needed writing and I'd asked God's help on it last night. I've drunk 3 cups of coffee since then, but ingested no calories.

Again, I accept my insanity, I accept my inability to control my own life and even what I put in my mouth. I give up. And I thank God for his willingness to pick up the responsibility.

How do you feel the insanity? Write about what you've tried to manage and cannot.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Embarrassment, Humiliation and Shame

Consider 2 Peter 2:13. I don't know about the parties, evidently during the communion dinner, but I certainly know the kind of eating behavior being described. I've lived it far too many times, year after year. Then I've stuffed more food down to kill the sting of the embarrassment, humiliation and shame.

Does God look down on us for our binging? I don't think so. I think he's bitterly disappointed, but his love doesn't turn to scorn, he doesn't give up on us. He continues to love us and longs for us to turn from our folly and find out there really is a sane way of life, one so simple, we cannot find the way with much searching. We can only find it by giving up.

We only have one moment in time, and it is the present. Yesterday and the days, months, years, and decades before haunt us, but we can't grasp them, can't change one iota of our behavior or the results of that. Tomorrow is a wisp of air out of our reach, always one day from our grasp. We can act today in ways that benefit tomorrow, that make tomorrow more pleasant, but we cannot effect any change in tomorrow. The change is only possible today, right now. Not five minutes ago, not an hour from now, but right now. What are you eating right now? If you are eating, is it something you'll approve of from the vantage of the future? If not, are you willing to put it down? Are you able to eat right this moment? Can you continue to do that the rest of today, moment by moment? Today is all you have. But you have today!

Write down everything you eat today. Be honest. If you have a friend with whom you can share the journey to slimness, are you willing to tell that person honestly and completely what you eat today? Will you do that, one day at a time?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Woe is me!

Consider Romans 7:21-24.

I'm an intelligent person, a successful professional, a competent leader, a resourceful individual. I can do most things I set out to do. Why, then, can I not control my eating? Like Paul, I do what I don't want to do, have full intentions of doing exactly what I know is not only right but best for me. I understand the rules when it comes to eating as well as I do all the other areas of my life where I function rather well. So what's wrong with me????

Others are able to decide to lose weight and do it. I'm not. Sure, it's hard for everybody who feels the need to lose, but it's not impossible! For me, obviously, it is. I know that because I really tried hard -- time after time -- for all those years. And I was a miserable failure at it.

There is a reason, and it's one that sounds preposterous at first, but when you finally accept it, not just in your head but in your heart, it's absolutely liberating! The reason is that for a compulsive overeater like me, it's not a personality flaw, it's a physical illness. I'm as much allergic to sugar and similar carbohydrates as other people are to nuts or bee stings or alfalfa. I cannot tolerate the carbs I crave. When I give into the craving, I'm like an alcoholic driven to madness by the overwhelming need for alcohol or the drug addict for the drug. Sugar is my drug of choice. When I give into the craving, I give in head over heels, a snowball barrelling for the bottom of a precipice.

You know, in some ways the problem for a compulsive eater can be even more difficult than the alcoholic's. Why? Two reasons.
  1. An alcoholic can avoid drinking alcohol forever, once the physical craving is past. Unless the compulsive eater has intravenous feeding forever, though, it's necessary to continue to eat food.
  2. An alcoholic is an angry person, angry at the world and mad at the face in the mirror. A food addict tends to be a person who follows the rules, who turns to food because it's proper, unlike alcohol which for many of us from the Bible Belt at least was always suspect. Our rage is just as real as the alcoholic's, but instead of expressing our anger, we deny it, stuff it inside, and tamp it down with food.
Woe is me!

But wait. There's hope. Read Romans 7:25.

There's hope. Thanks be to God.

Write down the ways you've hidden your eating from others. Have you stashed food in secret? Stolen it? Gone from one place to another so you don't buy so much in one place the clerk thinks badly of you? Have you eaten from the garbage pail or spoiled food? Do you clean the plates into yourself when you clear the table? Do you buy a dozen donuts so it looks like you're taking them to the office then eat the evidence before you arrive there? What behaviors make you feel like a hopeless sinner?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Have you reached your bottom?

A young child, after a while, will proclaim, "I can do it myself!" We continue to claim that long after we're young, long past the sweet confidence of mastery a first grader may possess. Weight loss is one of those things we do "all by ourselves" even when we join diet and calorie clubs or have a buddy to support us. We may, of course, pray. But we tend to pray for will-power, for weight loss, for specifics. Even when we ask for help, we want to do it ourselves, make the rules we follow--or at least choose them. More often than not, though, we choose to ignore them, to cheat on them, to overlook them for good cause--or bad cause--or just because.

I did. I tried for years and years and years to do it myself. Let's see...
  • I had the diet pills the family doctor gave me at 13
  • I counted calories.
  • I counted carbs
  • I got gold bumps put in my ears to massage as instructed to keep the hunger from coming back.
  • I got hypnotized.
  • I tried all the name brands...
    • WW
    • Jenny Craig
    • Adkins
    • South Beach
    • Slim-Fast
    • Scarsdale
    • probably more I can't remember right now.
  • I did the grapefruit diet, one I found in Woman's World, anything I read that sounded promising when I felt desperate.
  • Back when amphetamines were not advised but were not illegal for a doctor to prescribe, I drove 150 miles and back to get a bottle of pills for 30 days. When I ran out and realized I was physically needing them, I had the sense not to go back to get the next month's supply.
  • I had friends I'd never met face to face who had a contest to lose from 300 pounds to a sensible weight by email support. Their pictures, and mine, are still taped to the computer where I'm typing.
  • For probably five years I saw a doctor monthly who used all his powers of persuasion and prescription to help me. Using the carb blockers and appetite suppressants, I got to the point I'd use the carb blockers because I intended to eat bad stuff.
  • I bought the Weigh Down book, and it probably told me the same principals I finally found in OA, but I wasn't ready to admit it. Now I am.

I cannot do it myself.

Consider the scripture 2 Thessalonians 2:10(b)-12. It's not a pleasant scripture! Why would Paul talk of God's sending a delusion so all will be condemned? I don't know the future, but I do know the present. There's a literal Hell on earth to which we're condemned when, as compulsive overeaters, we persist in insisting we can manage for ourselves.

In light of my history, and -- I'm guessing -- your own, consider this: Maybe it's necessary for us to absolute reach the rock bottom of despair before we can let go and let God do it. Defeat on my own cleared the path to finding the spiritual way of absolutely conquering the weight I've carried psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually most of fifty years. Praise God, the bottom is there so the top can be found!

What have you tried, sure you could do it on your own? Make your own list. Answer the question, "Where's my bottom?"

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Getting Started

Have you given up on weight loss? I had. Then I found the path. I hope to lead you in your search for it. Consider Matthew 19:26.

Mrs. Kinnon lived across the street, down at the end of the block when I was growing up. She firmly believed in cleaning out her whole house before leaving for any trip, down to the drawers, so nobody would come in and find anything out of order. She had whiskers that stabbed little girls when she hugged them, and she did and they did. And every single Monday she started a diet. She'd ended it by Monday evening, or maybe even Tuesday, but the next Monday, she started a diet. Again.

I started dieting when I was thirteen and Mother took me to Dr. Brooks to get a prescription for weight control pills. I didn't know I was fat until then, though after that I remembered Mother had been reminding me of that for a while. From that day until last December, something in the neighborhood of forty-six years, I was on a diet. Probably like Mrs. Kinnon, most of those days you couldn't tell it, but I was. Or I was feeling guilty, one or the other. Forty-six years, one day at a time, is 16,808 days, give or take a day because of leap years in between. If I was following the diet a seventh of the time, like Mrs. Kinnon, I felt righteous about twenty-four hundred days. I felt guilty and miserable something like fourteen thousand, four hundred days.

Since December 17th, 2006, I've felt guilty about my food darned close to zero days, though I haven't had perfect abstinence from overeating since then. But the guilt, the burden, the shame is gone. It's time you, too, lay aside your guilt, shame, and burden and rely on Jesus' words, "My burden is easy and my yoke is light." I believed them because Jesus said them those 46 years. I didn't live them until December 17. What's today? Write it down. You can find that kind of peace, that kind of freedom from guilt and shame. His burden really is easy, his yoke light. I know, because I got it from my head to my heart. With God's help, I'll walk you through leaning how to move it from your head to your heart as well, no matter where you start.

Write down the date. Relax. Make yourself a sign and put it on your mirror--or make it into you computer wall paper. Put it where you'll see it. Write, "Jesus promises a light burden and an easy yoke. I want to find them."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Verses for Meditations

Going back to yesterday's post, I need to find scriptures to use in formulating a book of devotionals on losing weight. Let's see what else I can come up with today--or what God suggests to me which is really what's got to happen. I'm tired enough my ego shouldn't get in the way this evening.

Hum. Joseph's interpretation of Pharoah's dream, seven skinny cows eating seven fat cows and staying skinny. Sometimes what happens with weight doesn't make sense. Eating practically nothing, a person can remain the same weight. Never being hungry, a person can suddenly weigh a hundred pounds less. Amen and amen.

There's an interesting passage in Deuteronomy that might work. "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation. They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee." I'll follow where that one leads me, but not tonight.

Psalms 119. Maybe just the 71st verse:
70Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
71It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.

Isaiah 6:10. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Isaiah 10:16. Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.

God, lead me where you would have me go. Give me rest tonight, and let me walk with you tomorrow. Direct my thoughts, and show me how I can serve you and your people.

A Third of Me Has Left the Building

In the spring of 1998 I stepped on the doctor's scales and weighed 300. I never saw that number again, though I usually hovered within fifty pounds of it until recently. This morning I stepped on "official" scales and weighed 200. Wow. And I didn't do it. I didn't quit eating stupid stuff, at least with the inflicting of an iron will on my appetite. I just worked the steps, changed my lives, trusted in God, and watched the dresses get too big. Wow.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Invitation to a Book Proposal

I had an experience this weekend that leads me to believe I am to write a devotional book about losing weight through the power of the OA program. It will need to be daily thoughts connected to specific scriptures from the Christian Bible. I would welcome your input either by commenting me or by email to oastepper at My first responses that come to mind include:
  • Matthew 6:33: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
  • Luke 10:38-41 "But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
  • Ecclesiastes 11:1 "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again."
  • 1 Kings 19:3-5a "But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him..."
  • and the rest of that passage: "And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat. And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again. And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God."
  • Genesis 2:16-17 "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
  • Genesis 3:12 "And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
  • The story of Jacob and Esau for amends.
I can do this. I will do this.

No, I won't. I will stand aside and let God do it through me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


When you're not playing computer games at will, it sure is harder to procrastinate. Sigh. I guess that means I have to do the work I promised to do within the next twenty minutes. Drat!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pondering Peacefully

I haven't posted for a while. I can't particularly put together a cohesive message I want to post tonight. I feel, instead, the need to share a few random thoughts that have affected me recently.
  • Having work done is restful, even when you're tired. (My response after my daughter-in-law said, "Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest, but for me they're sometimes the most productive!")
  • Modern descriptions of God's image:
    • God is ultimate friend, confidant in the dark, always whispering back.
    • God is known in the waiting for God
    (From Ray Waddle's Against the Grain: Unconventional Wisdom from Ecclesiastes.)
  • "The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns." (Ecclesiastes 1:6. I didn't know the author of Ecclesiastes was from West Texas!)
  • "Sometimes people will ask: 'Do I have a right to be angry?' With assertiveness, however, the question becomes, 'Do I have the responsibility to be angry?'" (From Les Carter's Enough About You, Let's Talk About Me: How to Recognize and Manage the Narcissists in Your Life)
  • Thoughts on the topic "Loving Myself"
    • Feelings about ourselves or others are not facts. Actions or non actions are facts.
    • Healthy parents love their children regardless. Some are better parents than others but God is still in charge. Yet there is always hope!
    • I am always capable of receiving the strength to follow His lead. To receive serenity. To know what to do.
    • There is no perfect human being on earth.
    • Stuff happens.
    • The steps are steps in a life time journey not an end in themselves.
    (From an email group I'm on, ideas of another person who reflects how I feel.)
  • "I watch you grow forward one day at a time, and listen to the incredible self-insight you are recognizing, embracing and have the willingness to work through." (from an email to me that makes me glow gratefully.)
A long time ago, a woman stood before me in unenviable circumstances. She was incarcerated and likely would be for a while. When I casually asked, "How are you?" her answer blew me away: "I am blessed." I know she blessed me, and the people I'm walking through these steps with bless me as well, whether they're writing books or talking to me or making comments I just happen to hear. Thank God, I'm blessed!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Forward from Retreat!

Last weekend I had the delightful opportunity of going to the Tri-County OA retreat at Glen Lake Retreat center at Glenrose. How wonderful to be around so many recovering people...even on the top bunk. I figure that's service, getting there early and taking the top bunk, and I kind of enjoy it. Maybe I think I'm still young when I'm up there. I know I don't when I'm climbing either up or down, though!

Our speaker was delightful, telling eternal truths with a delightful Cajun accent. I learned so much, it's hard to say just what, but a few tidbits:
  • DENIAL - Don't Even Know I Am Lying.
  • When the spiritual malady is overcome, we straighten up emotionally and physically. In that order. Spiritual, emotional, physical.
  • "I regret a lot of those things, but my past is just the way it is."
  • We’re a people who want to change things, but the basis of our program, 12 steps and 12 traditions can’t be changed without a whole lot. That's good!
  • The OA nudge: "Oh, you can do that." This led Janice to leadership positions in OA when she had no idea what she was getting into, but she grew and her skills grew to do them.
  • It is not selfish to put others past god and me, it’s not selfish, it’s healthy. If we don’t put self first, we’re unhealthy in relationships with others.
  • Selfishness and self-centeredness are the root of my problems, the taproot which must be killed.
  • Once that taproot is killed, the tap root becomes the strength I have in the program.
  • She calls what others call trigger foods "craving creating foods."
  • The first step is the only step we have to do 100%; the others are just ideals we try all our lives to achieve.
  • The 12 steps are to be lived, not just discussed.
  • Difference in knowing the right words and living them out.
  • Faith doesn’t need to be large. It just needs to be alive.
  • Wholeness = Holiness
  • Sometimes this experience strands us on an arid plateau. We see someone else developing differently and we feel deprived. Go deeper with others and with God because you’re at a crossroads. Don’t decide to go back to the food.
  • Grief is not a character defect. You just have to feel it, and
  • Once COE’s grasp the 2nd step, they will have no more slips.
Find a retreat near you and go!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I've told you want I didn't do at lunch yesterday. Now I'll talk about what I did. I said goodbye to a son and daughter-in-law as they finished up the details before their move from Texas to Michigan. I'm proud of them for doing what they need to be doing at this point in their lives. That doesn't mean I want them to go. But for them to stay as things were before this was set in motion--No. I want that even less. So I've released them, along with a big chunk of my heart. I wish them happiness, joy, fulfillment, and meaning. Go in peace.

Mea Culpa

Wednesday and Thursday I have commitments at lunch, from 12 to 1, not including eating. I eat before or after or both, but not during. Today I got back to my office about three since after the 12 to 1 I had commitments elsewhere at 1:30 and 2:00. My secretary asked if I was ready for my lunch. I'd already had a SlimFast bar, a protein supplement, and a little container of applesauce--the lunch I intended to eat. I asked what she meant, and she told me I'd put my lunch in the microwave then gone off and left it. I knew I hadn't brought a lunch this morning. She produced it, however. That's when I knew I'd lied yesterday to my food buddies and my sponsor. I told them I'd had skillet cabbage for lunch. I didn't. I had the grapefruit and protein supplement as I reported, but obviously I intended to have skillet cabbage, believed I had had skillet cabbage, but failed to eat the skillet cabbage yesterday. Mea Culpa. I have lied. And I didn't even miss it!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Guilty, Not Guilty? No Lo Contendere!

A conversation this morning led to an exciting discovery about myself. The subject arose because I'm an authority about guilt. I've long contended the church held people in check by the manipulation of guilt, and I certainly grew up with a healthy share of both grief and church. In answer to my friend's questions, though, I realized the guilt, like many aspects of my life, is behind me. I'm no longer living burdened with guilt for wrongs I've done and those I imagine I've done.

A defendant stands in court and is asked, "How do you plead? Are you guilty or not guilty?" Sometimes the defendant answers "Guilty," and other times "Not Guilty." Yet a third option exists, and the defendant may say instead of one or the other, "No contest." If haughty enough, they may say the Latin phrase, "No lo contendere." That means, "I'm not arguing about it, not claiming I didn't do it. I understand you may go ahead and find me guilty, but I'm not saying so. I'll live with the consequences and move on with my life." Many people use this to avoid civil liability, but others are really saying, "It's not worth it to argue about, go ahead but I'm comfortable with my role here."

I've realized my plead has been changed. I'm no longer guilty. I fixed that with the fifth step, the ninth, and the tenth. I plead "No contest" and I acknowledge to God, to myself, and if big enough to bug me to my sponsor, but I'm not planning to carry the guilt, just learn from the past to live today as well as I can, walking with God and asking, hoping, trusting he will control my thinking and therefore truly make me not guilty when it comes time to look back over the day and assess the walk. What a relief! Thank God.

Friday, October 5, 2007


Mine is a stressful profession, or so they tell me. All these years I've sluffed off the comments about how much stress I live with, laughed it off with a comment home's tougher than work. This week, though, the world's been standing upside down. Home has gone calmly, but the stress came from every other direction. Only two other weeks in almost two decades on the job stand out as perhaps equal in stress, and that each time was from a single cause. This one has been the perfect storm, arriving from all sorts of directions. I needed the weekend, and I'm glad it's here.

The good thing, though, is stress or no stress, I stayed with my food plan and didn't open a computer game. Wow! And as an added bonus though my weight has dropped only a pound in a month, my clothes fit better. Earlier this year I was excited when a dress I'd had since 2003 was too large. Now one I bought about the first of the summer, a 16, is larger than I would buy, and it was tight when I bought it. I remember when I was pleased to realize a 26 was too large. But a 16? Wow! It's been a good week. But God, thanks for making this a good Friday as well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Thanks Where Thanks are Due...

At my meeting today, somebody made an interesting comment. It wasn't original, but hey, it's the first time I'd heard it. You hear often, "Thank GOD for OA!" Yet, we could say with the same degree of earnestness, "Thank OA for God!"

Blasphemous? No. Really it's not. It's like thanking the person who introduced you to your spouse for the introduction. Not that I needed an introduction to God, exactly, but like an artist paints a picture so realistic it shows what you never saw on the original you knew well. Or... or what? It's where the knowledge is. My head is, was, and will continue to be full of the knowledge of God, of the scriptures, of history, theology, etc. The difference is movement from an acquaintance to a friendship. That's it. I thank OA for allowing me to discover God as my friend, mentor, caretaker, and constant presence. Thanks, OA!