Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve

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.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I committed a week ago today to make a gratitude list daily, and I made a half-hearted attempt to do it for a couple of days, then life got in the way. I'm sorry. And this Thanksgiving week should have certainly been an easy one to start the habit. But today's a new day. And I am grateful for the ability to start now, for the new day. I'm grateful for:
  • Time together the last few days with people I love.
  • Being surrounded by people who understand what I'm doing, that tasting everything they've cooked isn't the only way -- or even a very effective way -- of proving my love to them.
  • A very special conversation I had on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Abundance.
  • Challenges.
I started the month participating in an online challenge to write a poem a day. I fell behind, but I think I'll use today's prompt to complete my thought here. The prompt is to finish the phrase "through this" and use that as the title of a poem. Okay. Having now written the poem, it's not what I expected to come out. And it makes this a disjointed blog entry, but here it is:

Through This Feasting Season   

We gather 'round the table,
tradition thick, families collected,
loving, but the love flavored with resentment,
caring, but scarred and scared
the past may stream flaming
through the door, carried high like
baked Alaska.
We gather 'round the table,
sitting back afterwards, grateful
for abundant food
and for learning once again
the feast that is love 
remains and reigns.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Redefining Tools?

The eight tools of Overeaters Anonymous are a plan of eating, sponsorship, meetings, telephone, writing, literature, anonymity, and service. 

With many others these days, I rely on the computer for a great many of my connections with other OA's outside the weekly meetings I attend. It's easy to figure all the literature was written years ago, before the computer age, and to assume the computer via email, online meetings, and Internet groups count as a tool as well. Certainly, they're helpful. But computers don't substitute for the tools -- or for any of them. I, and others I sponsor, seem to shy away from that 500 pound monster, the telephone. Personally, I don't rely on the phone as much as many other people, not just for OA but in life situations in general. Today I was looking for information I needed. It had been suggested I get the information by phoning a particular organization. I didn't want to. That recommendation was made last Thursday. I finally called it today. I just don't like the phone particularly. 

I also called my sponsor. And I'm going to continue to do so. From this point on, I'll use all the tools, including the 500 pound phone.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dealing with resentment

When a person offended we said to ourselves, "This is a sick man. How can I be helpful to him? God save me from being angry. Thy will be done."

We avoid retaliation or argument. We wouldn't treat sick people that way. If we do, we destroy our chance of being helpful. We cannot be helpful to all people, but at least God will show us how to take a kindly and tolerant view of each and everyone. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 67)

She said, "Sorry for the late notice." But I want to tell her just how sorry she really is! It feels like I'm doing more than my share already. I know I'm a "volunteer." I know I'm doing more than I should because I don't ask for help well. And I'm about to go eat in a place both for breakfast and for lunch where my ability to control and eat within my food plan will be challenged. Heck, for the second, I'm in charge of bringing the desserts! 

I heard a couple of weekends ago that courage to change the things I can means from my skin in; serenity to accept the things I can't is those things skin out. So I'm sitting here working on the skin in, planning for skin out.

I came to the 5th chapter today to find a different passage, one I need:
We ask Him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be. At once, we commence to outgrow fear. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 68)

I jumped up and left this when I realized what time it was this morning. The day went well. The restaurant had food I could eat abstinently, as did the meeting at noon. I've had a good day, and the resentments didn't drive me to the food and now basically are damped and dying.

I listened to OA speakers driving today, and one notable quote was that forgiveness means giving up our dream of a different past. Neat quote. Good day. And good night.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I am personally convinced that the basic search of every human being, from the cradle to the grave, is to find at least one other human being before whom he can stand completely naked, stripped of all pretense or defense, and trust that person not to hurt him, because that other person has stripped himself naked, too. This lifelong search can begin to end with the first A. A. encounter. (pamphlet: A Member's Eye View of Alcoholics Anonymous)
I visited last night with a woman I sponsor. The loss of her beloved cat has cast her into the depths of depression, even to entertaining suicidal thoughts. We spoke of the blessing, mixed though it may be, of actually having loved to that depth.

I had the privilege of meeting John K at the Region III Assembly/Convention this weekend in Albuquerque. His message is a powerful one, and one I will absorb again and again from the tape of that keynote address as well as from others I've found of him at the site. I liked him first as a geek willing -- no, eager -- to work with others to carry the message as addressed by the Information and Technology Committee there at Assembly, that before I knew he was the speaker that evening.

I heard him "stripped naked" and exposing my own nakedness in statements like

  • I managed to fall in every pitfall imaginable in this program and screw it up in every possible way.
  • Every diet works. For the first time. Then I've learned the way to manipulate it.
  • You're going through the hardest part over and over again when you slip and slide. It's like moving a stalled car a few feet, letting it stop, then starting to push again, then doing that again.
  • We have a weight we know we'll never let ourselves become, one that if we approach, surely we'll get control and stop. But we get a few pounds higher at a time and incrementally get to that point we would never consider reaching.
  • He talked about really seeing overeating as a disease, long after "calling" it that. We don't have to feel guilty about this any more than we would about having cancer.
  • I don't want a donut, the disease wants a donut. It just sounds like me because the disease is a good mimic.
  • Do you really believe you're powerless? We know we're powerless over a bullet in a gun. We don't flirt with that one. We don't really acknowledge that we're powerless over food. We assume we can come back and get abstinence.
  • In the small version, I am powerful, because I know I can pull myself back. But that sets me up for the next one, slip or relapse one at a time, again and again forever.
  • If you think that food might ever be an option again, when you get to a crisis and it's food or pain, food's always going to be the only option.
  • My disease is good at not only mimicking me but in doing a god impression.
  • Maybe it's time you start beating yourself up. Cut the crap.
  • Turning it over is not so much that as just getting my own will out of the way, keeping it from being an impediment. 
  • Skin in, you can change. Skin out, you can't change.
  • The steps are in order, the steps are discrete, and you do them one at a time. Eight/Nine, for instance, is not a step.
  • if I choose the easier softer way of recovery, I'm going to get the easier, softer recovery.
Connection can be tough when it's somebody who knows you from the inside out. But connection can be wonderful when it's somebody who knows you from the inside out.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Moving Boulders

The reading today in For Today talked about cleaning house inside, talked of our Higher Power removing stubborn defects I can do nothing about. The mental image I had was a family story. My grandfather was born in 1888. The summer he was 14 he spent alone, in a 40-acre field, with his assignment for the summer being to till the fallow land of Erath County, Texas. He got that 40 acres ready that summer.

He was tall, strong, an athlete -- pole vaulter -- and macho. And a few years later, as a Latin teacher among other things, he took on a school where several mature and cocky young men as students ruled the roost. They'd already driven off a couple of teachers that year before Pop took over. A field behind the school building seemed a place where team sports might redirect the young men to better pursuits, and he allowed the use of school time to clear the land for that purpose. The boys liked the project and worked hard, quickly getting it ready -- except for a large boulder they tried and tried to move and could not budge. Pop could. He picked it up and carried it to the edge of the field, and that feat sealed the deal. He could then teach them Latin and the classics, reading and arithmetic, and whatever else he had on his agenda.

I can't. God can. Thank God!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Little Foxes

Consider Song of Solomon 2:15. At our OA meeting today, Joan quoted a favorite sermon she'd heard based on this verse, directing us to catch the little foxes that ruin the vineyard. This, in the context of the Tenth Step, makes a world of sense. It's the little foxes, darting here and there, bedeviling us, seemingly just a nuisance, until they take over and destroy the blooms in the vineyard of our recovery. Neat scripture. I've worked on a book of reflections on Ecclesiastes. Maybe the Song of Solomon should be next. But then again, there are other possibilities. Like the Letter to Philemon?
Have a good day, free of little foxes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Snuffed Out

I really got a bang from the For Today topic today. It not only spoke to me, it YELLED at me. "Hatred is the result of not accepting the world and its people -- myself included -- as they are." Wow! Another "right-on" moment recently was last night listening to Jim P as a speaker at the Region III OA Assembly in 2004. He talked about getting up from supper and announcing, "I'm done eating." I like that. It's the part of the day I most struggle with the compulsion, tempted to report my food then add to it. So I think I'm going to start doing that. When I figure out my food for the day and know that I've gotten into the ranges set by my nutritionist, I'll announce I'm done and mean it! Then, not only will I mean it when I say it, but I'll live up to the commitment. 

Okay. I've fixed what I can eat the rest of the day, and when I finish eating this bowl's contents, I'm done eating. I can have dieter's tea or no calorie frozen ice pops, and that's it.

I went to a funeral today, a dear old lawyer. The preacher talked about his playing Devil's Advocate with the high school kids he taught in Sunday school. Neat picture. And neat idea as it relates to recovery. The term, of course, comes from the person in the Catholic church arguing against sainthood for a person being considered. But the things said are outrageous. And that's okay. God can take it. 

Okay. It's a rambling post, but it's a post. And the title? It's also from the For Today reading. If I don't work the program, everything I value is snuffed out.

I'm done eating.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beyond Mental Control

Mind over matter. In, an explanation of the meaning given by Sadeae is:

It has to do with will power. You must have will power to overcome obstacles. For example, you can choose to quit smoking rather than continuing to can experience an enormous amount of pain and not succomb to the can loose weight if you decide that is what you want to do.

If you have the will power, you can succeed at anything you "put your mind to". This is the essence of what "mind over matter" means.

Sure. So I've been told. I've never started smoking, so I never had to try to stop. As to enormous amounts of pain, does that mean physical? Psychic? Emotional? Not sure I'm qualified to respond there. But as to loss of weight, I've got more than fifty years' history proving mind over matter as described here doesn't work. For me. For others I've come to know and love in OA. I've heard it. I've believed it. I've tried - HARD - to live it. I haven't managed. It's caused the psychic pain in my life, the emotional havoc. It's made me feel like a miserable failure. But I'm not. I wasn't when I believed it, I'm not now that I don't believe it. I've got a defect that causes a craving, one just like Dr. Silkwood described:

I do not hold with those who believe that alcoholism is entirely a problem of mental control. I have had many men who had, for example, worked a period of months on some problem or business deal which was to be settled on a certain date, favorably to them. They took a drink a day or so prior to the date, and then the phenomenon of craving at once became paramount to all other interests so that the important appointment was not met. These men were not drinking to escape; they were drinking to overcome a craving beyond their mental control. (Alcoholics Anonymous, pp xxix, xxx)

Look at those words. Craving. Phenomenon. Paramount. Beyond their mental control. How hopeless! Phenomenon means can't be understood. Craving is feeling a powerful desire FOR something. Not just an emptiness, not just discontent, restlessness, but the savage need to get the substance, for me, the food, the sugar, the pastry, the ice cream. Paramount. NOTHING can be of more importance. Mind over matter? I think not. I can't think of anything else of my own, by my will power. I'm helpless, hopeless, a failure. My mind can't overcome the matter. No matter what.

I'm powerless over food. My life has become unmanageable. 

But there is a Higher Power who is able to restore me to sanity, to relieve me of the insane cravings, the pain, the phenomenal NEED. And when I let him, he does. Again and again, continually, forever. And besides that, he throws in more than a TV salesman in an informercial could promise or even intimate. And his promises are real and happen. Thank God!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Willingness = Courage

I groggily said the serenity prayer in my head as I tried to motivate me out of bed this morning, and the words kept getting tangled. I knew "willingness" wasn't in there, but I kept trying to shove it in. Sitting here, reading "The Doctor's Opinion" then saying it right, I realize I wasn't wrong in the first place. Yes, we need serenity to accept what we can't change, wisdom to know what that is, but for the rest, the part we can change, we need courage, and for me right now that means willingness. Maybe always it means willingness, but I know for certain today it does. And that's all that matters. Today. Having the willingness to be courageous enough to avoid the chemicals that for me produce "the effect... so illusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false." (Alcoholics Anonymous, page xxviii) 

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Listening to me

You know, "they" all say you get more out of sponsoring often than the person being sponsored. It's true, of course. And sometimes the reason it's good is that you listen to what comes out of your own mouth, or from your fingers on the keyboard. Recently in talking to a woman I sponsor, I said several things that catch my own attention. I include basically my part of the conversation, hers where necessary for context:

She: but my insides are a mess
Me: Okay, so stand aside and allow them to be fixed. This is the one time it's okay to be helpless. When you're yielding to somebody who really CAN control your life better than you.It's none of your business what anybody, including family, thinks of you. It's none of your business what you weigh. It's none of your business how fast you run. It's out of your hands. You're there to take orders, to do the next right thing.
She: how do i know what the order is?
 me: the order of the next right thing?
"Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10)
 She: so take a second between stimulus and response and shut up
 me: yep
(In responding to a question about what her character defects might be, I answered from seeing in her what I see in me:) me: It's self-loathing. It's excusing mistakes by thinking they're your nature. Hiding your head in the sand.
"courage to change the things i can"...tough part
to grow up and be the grownup in charge instead of the child who can't
fill in any blank after the can't.
the person you get most irritated by has the character defects you hold onto hardest.
Understanding is part of the cure.
I'm getting to see more and more what in xxxx is like me. And it's scary, but when you can see it, you can see the way out.
She: ok. i am very similar to my mother.
Me: yep
Me: And it's natural. But you're also a very creative person who has the ability to see it and grow out of it, not to do what she did which you can see very well doesn't work.
Forgive your mother. And forgive yourself.
love your mother. and love yourself

My sponsor told me before I work with somebody to say the 3rd step prayer. That night it was working. It was what she needed to hear, I think. But I absolutely KNOW it was what I needed to hear, to affirm, to accept as the truth for me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A funny

I'm working with Ed H. on his book to be published by Eagle Wings PressSurvived to Love, helping with some editing issues. Ed's a long-time sober alcoholic, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina as well as of cancer of the larynx. We were chatting earlier this week, and I told him I'd eaten crow about a mistake I made. I thought I'd share his refreshing response:
Ah yes, eating crow. I do so much less of that these days. I carry my speaking device in my pocket. By the time I dig it out what I was going to say is always edited and goes from what I would have said to what I should say. I mention this at meetings when discussing the 10th step especially. Very few apologies needed with that built-in ten to fifteen seconds. Another blessing in disguise from not being able to talk. 
My glass has been full today without having to look at it halfway full and deciding to see it that way. It's been a good day, thank God!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Foreword to the 2nd edition of the Big Book says,
Since the original Foreword to this book was written in 1939, a wholesale miracle has taken place.... Many of our friends encourage us by saying that this is but a beginning, only the augury of a much larger future ahead.
I'm well aware the subject is the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. Yet, it spoke to me as to my own recovery, a metaphor. I've got recovery. I've had a wholesale miracle in my life. But I sit here, convinced there's more recovery available, there's more peace, more serenity, more freedom from fear, more... recovery. I want it. I claim it. It's mine. The peace I have from this passage is an augury of a larger future, a larger recovery, a larger life ahead.

I asked God today to teach me to pray. What came to mind are the words of a time-tested hymn, "Jesus Is All the World to Me." It says when he couldn't get his music published, Will Lamartine Thompson (1847-1909) started his own publishing company. That resonates with me as do his words, my words, my augury.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What to do with umbrage

After stumbling around for about ten days, I'd put two back-to-back abstinent days together when I went to bed last night. I got up, packed, and prepared for a night away from home. Fortunately I'm taking an OA member with me, not going for OA purposes, but my friend will be there and abstinence on the trip will be easy. But husband is not happy that I'm going, considers it for "cult" purposes. I told him it was not OA, it was another international organization where I hold a leadership position in my area. Still, the anxieties accompanied me away from home this morning. And my hand sought out change in the console to stop at a donut shop. I set it down, thought of the OA member who might call me with her food for the day while I was stuffing in the old comfort food. "Comfort" food that would bring me discomfort, guilt, remorse, and shame. So, I made it to the office, abstinent, I sit here abstinent, and I'll be abstinent tonight when I report to my food buddy.

I went to another meeting of the other organization last night. They post a word everybody is supposed to use during the course of the meeting. The world last night was "umbrage." I used it last night by telling them I had realized during the course of the meeting that the word is virtually always used with "take." Nobody gives umbrage, shares umbrage, borrows umbrage, assigns umbrage. It's a lot like resentment. It's all our doing, and peace and tranquility, as well as the lack of umbrage and resentment, is up to us under the wing of our higher power. Thank God!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Loving God

"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and with thy whole soul and with thy whole mind." This is the first Commandment.

The problem is, how to love God? We are only too conscious of the hardness of our hearts, and in spite of all that religious writers tell us about feeling not being necessary, we do want to feel and so know that we love God.

"Thou wouldst not seek Him if thou hadst not already found Him," Pascal says, and it is true too that you love God if you want to love Him. One of the disconcerting facts about the spiritual life is that God takes you at your word. Sooner or later one is given a chance to prove his love. The very word "diligo," the Latin word used for "love," means "I prefer." (Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness, 138-139)

I was 22, maybe 23. It was the time of a phenomenon called The Lay Witness Mission, and we were in the midst of one of them in my church. While I would discuss theology ad nauseum with the proponents of that movement right now -- or at least I would have before OA -- I recall and ponder, believing, what one woman said. I'd said their ritual prayer, and she asked if I was changed. I said I didn't feel anything, and she said I was, because of the prayer -- that I had asked and therefore had changed. 

Yeah. That's God. Sometimes he sends feelings, but they're not necessary. Step 2 does not say we came to feel but that we came to believe. The second appendix to the Big Book addresses that.
Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the "educational variety" because they develop slowly over a period of time. Quite often friends of the newcomer are aware of the difference long before he is himself. He finally realizes that he has undergone a profound alteration in his reaction to life; that such a change could hardly have been brought about by himself alone. What often takes place in a few months could seldom have been accomplished by years of self-discipline. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a power greater than themselves. (Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th edition, 567-568)

I saw someone yesterday. In normal circumstances I would have known I was supposed to know her but because of my difficulty in remembering names would not have known who she was. In that place at an event honoring the friend who introduced us to each other, I knew. And I knew she didn't know me. I have a picture of myself one night she was in my house, March 2, 1999. There was about a hundred more pounds of me then. I reintroduced myself to her, and she was astonished. We can know people right by us and not know it. We can know God right by us and within us without recognizing him. But he's just as much there, just as dear. And we love him without knowing we do. Thank God!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Spiritual Awakening" defined

A spiritual awakening soon came to mean trying each day to be a little more thoughtful, more considerate, a little more courteous to those with whom I came in contact. - Alcoholics Anonymous (4th Edition), page 356 

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." - Matthew 22:36-50 (NIV)

Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them to pray. They'd been LIVING with him for a while by then. Why did they need a lesson in prayer? Even if they didn't pray TO him, couldn't they have absorbed it? So that gives me a good excuse for not getting hold of this prayer/meditation stuff, right? Excuse is not the operative word, not the correct word. How about rewriting that sentence to, "So, that provides insight into shared insecurities, shared distress over this form of communication, right?" 

In prayer, only one of the two of us has to be perfect, and like a truly great individual, the one who is doesn't need to flaunt it, nor does he make me feel inadequate. I do that all by myself, and it hurts him and it hurts me and it accomplishes nothing put putting a block between me and him. We get to a spiritual awakening by the time we really work the steps. It's an implied promise, "Step 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of the result of these Steps...." It's not my obligation to have it, to make it happen. It's my obligation to let it happen and get out of the way. Help me do it, God!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Living on the same level as the rest of the world is refreshing; but it's an astounding and remarkable change from my mindset most of these long years I've been interacting with folks. My universe was in large part three-tiered, though I never thought of it and would have argued "back then" for many more tiers. Yet what mattered was my own level, and I never actually contemplated for those not on my level – in other words for all other people living or having lived – whether one was higher than another. It didn't matter. I occupied the middle stratum, standing alone. And lonely. Lots of folks ranked higher than me, in my mind, and I certainly looked down figuratively if not literally on many more. But I was equal with nobody.

Now it's a level plain, large and populated, abounding in interesting, compassionate, and diverse folks struggling along with me, rejoicing with me, grieving with me – company. No longer is it a lonely place. I didn't change. I just got a new pair of glasses.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ask and Receive

It's a tough day. Really tough. Then I got this quote in my email box. It helps.

We have not even to risk the journey alone; for the heroes of all time have gone before us; the labyrinth is thoroughly known; we have only to follow the thread of the hero-path. And where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world."

— Joseph Campbell
American Professor and Writer

I've tried to read Campbell's The Hero's Journey before, but if he writes this well, I think I better find it and read it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


A woman I'm sponsoring is sending me her gratitude list daily. It's helpful to put into perspective my day's activities and emotions -- and to remind me of my own gratitude sources. I just came back from a trip I found to be a real joy. Obviously, there were issues with the trip, more with this trip than with some, and my own negligence and trust-placing caused some of the surprises. Still, it was an awesome experience, an opportunity to observe the world's beauty and vastness, My travelling companion acknowledged the beauty, but dwelt on the inconveniences. What a loss!
Perspective is important in looking inward as well as outward.
  • Yesterday I got a test copy of a product I put together. Most of it looks great. My mistakes, though, are what I think of first, but they'll be corrected -- that's why we went to the expense of getting a test copy anyway! And the final product will be glorious.
  • I got a check yesterday made payable to an entity that has no bank account. But hey, I got a check, and the bank can expand the allowable names on the account, I bet!
  • I left a small bowl of chili out last night, necessitating it's being added to the dogs' breakfast rather than a later meal. That was stupid. But I put the majority of the unused chili in the refrigerator appropriately. Yeah, the waste was still stupid. But the financial loss is not worth the emotional enmity.

I'm okay. I'm REALLY okay. Look how far I've come! A car in front of me this morning slowed down unexpectedly to enter the AM Donuts parking area. Two years, six months and a couple of weeks ago, that would have been my car. I no longer felt any need to go there, thought "My car doesn't make that turn anymore." I amended the thought, though -- there's a fruit vendor in the same lot. But I have no need for the donuts. Thank God! One of the glories of the trip was I reveled in creation, in people, in new experiences -- not in new dishes or in stuffing all the food I encountered into me. I ate no sugar, and I didn't eat more than I needed. Thank God!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This day in history

I remember a conversation with my younger son another June 6, sometime around 2004 or 2005. Of course historically, this is D-Day, the landing of Allied forces at Normandy. I was born a Baby Boomer, have no memory of WWII, and to be honest I remembered D-Day's date then because of its personal significance to me -- not the invasion, but my own D-Day. Anyway, we were discussing the historical one and he, born in 1980, said he bet half his generation didn't know the significance of June 6. I said half of MINE didn't know, and less than a tenth of his did. All the estimates are probably too high. 

Anyway, personally my June 6 was in 1997. It was the climactic event of what I lovingly call my "hell year" from October, 1996 to November, 1997. On that day I was so tense, so earnestly trying to hold my world together, I reached up rather casually and severed by rotator cuff with sheer tension. Because of that moment, circumstances made me realize I was killing myself and not managing to help anybody else either. And I began to try to figure out how to take care of myself. But for a while I continued to do it medicating with the food, though I also met an angel who massaged me with her hands and used her words to start waking me up to "the things I cannot change" and giving me the courage to change the things I can. It was a long trip. Through a psychologist, then finally another counselor steeped in the wisdom and traditions of these rooms, and together, through ten years, God used all the events to bring me to the morning of December 17 when I told him life as I was managing was "Stupid!" And it was. But under new management it's fantastic. Thank God!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Blast from the Past

Sometimes a regression is the easiest way to really see how far you've come. I had a trip to yesterday yesterday (the first yesterday being figurative, the second literal when I started this, "poetic" now.) I acted like I used to act. I don't know what the character defect is called. "Surrendering the self" might be appropriate but I've never seen it on a list of character defects. "Fear" works, too. How well "fear" works to describe my past....

A neighboring town had baseball-size hail; we were in the path of the general storm, had no idea how badly we'd be hit. (Short answer: not even much rain.) With excess cars over garage space, we took two cars to find shelter elsewhere. The story is long and involved, but basically I was in one car near my husband in the other, and I was faced with the question of whether to move for somebody else. My instinct was to move. But I fell back into the fear, into trying to imagine my husband's thoughts, and I did what I thought was rude because I expected it would be his choice. It wasn't. He thought I was rude, too. And I was. But my big issue (especially since there was no hail after all) was what it felt like to regress to the character defect of trying to please by abandoning myself, by surrendering my will to the wrong "higher power."

This program is a miracle.

I was working with quotations yesterday for a project, and two stand out:
  • "There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered." Nelson Mandela
  • the other was not in the list but was a conversation between my son and me when I copied that to him in the IM box:
    • son: The converse to the statement is also revealing.
    • me: yeah. Like going home and reverting?
    • son: like going somewhere that has changed and that revealing how little change has happened in you.

Sunday, May 31, 2009


I read for the first time this morning Kahlil Gibran's addressing the issue "On Crime and Punishment." The phrase that grabbed me and sent me to find the rest was "And how shall you punish those whose remorse is already greater than their misdeeds?" It's a powerful piece of writing, one that makes me think from the perspective of the criminal justice system, but even more as a recovering compulsive overeater. It really doesn't matter whether we're thinking about the wrong people did us or the wrong we've done others. It says we're all equaled, all "sinners" and all "saints" or at least we're as high as the highest among us. Fascinating.
The perspective I see right now in reading this, the reason this draft has been sitting open on my computer for a while, is in looking at those who make my life uncomfortable. Through program I've come to see their behavior as the same as mine when I was struggling to like myself. The blame placed on me by the other is not my blame to adopt, as I was so quick to do for so many years. It's his or her own, and no matter what I do, I can't take away that blame, can't relieve him of it. Nor can I punish him for dumping it on me, for that only serves to give him another focus, to make his self-reproach something he can hide from himself in his anger at me.
I feel sorry for him, for I'm no longer playing the game, and I see his hurt, his misery. His remorse greater than his misdeeds -- and far greater than any punishment I could mete out.
God help us all.  

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Strength or Power

It struck me today, trying to figure out what that last phrase of the 7th step prayer is and going back to look at it, that there's a significant change in shift between the 3rd step prayer and the 7th. I've been making a mistake in the 7th step prayer, praying for power. That's a REAL mistake. Now that I've spent the morning, or at least bits and pieces of it, thinking about power and strength, I realize they're far from the synonyms I would have told you they are. In fact, in program at least, they're polar opposites.

Power. We had power, or at least longed for power, when we were in the morass of disease and distress. I have an old disk (a reference disk for Microsoft Office Professional, (c) 1983-1996) that is a valuable possession of mine for the Microsoft Bookshelf '95 on it. I've sat here for a while reading all the quotations filed under "Power." Then I went to "Strength" and found the quotations for that -- or, rather, the lack of any quotations on strength. But the ones on power are as fascinating as the lack of quotations on strength. Among them:
  • "A friend in power is a friend lost." (Henry B. Adams)
  • "It is a strange desire, to seek power, and to lose liberty; or to seek power over others, and to lose power over a man's self. (Francis Bacon)
  • "Those in possession of absolute power can not only prophesy and make their prophecies come true, but they can also lie and make their lies come true." (Eric Hoffer)
  • "To get power over is to defile. To possess is to defile." (Simone Weil)
  • "Power? It's like a Dead Sea fruit. When you achieve it, there is nothing there." (Harold Macmillan)
But then there's:
  • "The purpose of getting power is to be able to give it away." (Aneurin Bevan)
  • "I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be." (Thomas Jefferson)
In recovery, power is a god attribute, God being described as our Higher Power as we understand him. We do use power in the 3rd step prayer, but it's not our attribute, but God's: "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." In fact, what we're asking for in the 3rd step prayer is surrender of our power. "I offer." "Relieve me." "Take away." The only affirmative request is, "May I do Thy will always!"

Then to the 7th step prayer, after walking the path through 4, 5, and 6 -- a path that can at times feel like a gauntlet -- through the triumphal arch. "I am now willing." and "Grant me strength... to do Your bidding." It's not "grant me power."

Strength is defined as "the power to resist attack; impregnability," "the power to resist strain or stress; durability" and as "a source of power or force." Power, on the other hand, is defined as "strength or force exerted or capable of being exerted; might."

Like many similar words in English, one (power) comes through the Roman/French influence, "to be able." Strength came through the old English, celtic influence.

I guess I finally arrive at the conclusion that having power is okay, but seeking it is not. And having power, without seeking it, we're in the position Jefferson envisioned and Benjamin Disraeli described: "Power has only one duty -- to secure the social welfare of the People."

Friday, May 22, 2009


First, I had promised to lead my readers here on the blog know when I mastered the intricacies of uploading Slender Steps to Sanity as a Kindle book. I did. (I hope.) Since I'm writing here about ego, I'll say it was both a boost to the ego in finally figuring it out (with a little help from a computer guru I raised) and a reality-check in the work it took to get my stuff up and out there. And it led to a touch of humiliation and a healthy serving of humility when I found that the mention in the text book of "seremity" left me anything but serene. Sigh. Anyway, the Kindle book is now available.

While I was pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to send Amazon the encoded book I'd labored over, making the code look right and reflect the line breaks, etc., in the book, I had three chat boxes going at once. One was with a business partner getting account numbers and details I needed to set up the Kindle account, another was with my computer guru son, or more specifically with his wife until she got him to type for a while in her place, and the third with a "sponsored." (It's been a while since I said here I hate the word sponsoree.) Here's part of that conversation:
Sponsoree: I just sent that email back to you
  (and to me)
8:39 PM me: okay. one minute.

9 minutes
8:48 PM Sponsoree: my biggest revelation is that all my resentments stem from one thing - I feel entitled to be the center of the friggin' universe
8:49 PM me: Yeah. Wait a minute. Grinning. But not kidding much. ;)
8:51 PM Sponsoree: i'm still here for a bit. i'm going to read a few pages until  hubby turns the light out.

7 minutes
8:58 PM Sponsoree: ok. back
9:01 PM me: Okay. I got my fire put out too.

As I look at this, obviously I wasn't very honest. My one minute the first time took nine, the second time that same minute came up, it meant seven. And she and I were both busy being the "center of the friggin' universe" at the moment.

I talked yesterday with my therapist. She pulled out some facts in my life -- honors and achievements -- I hadn't talked to her about, and she tried to make me realize how special they are. No, I hadn't told her about them, for I'd been working with her to get to the core issues, and I didn't see the need to try to impress her. But I do understand how special they are, and when I'm insecure I find ways to work those kinds of facts into my conversation. Last night I was in a crowd of people (about 40) I didn't know. Well, one I've known for twenty years or so, and another I've been married to for several decades, but most of them I was meeting. And I don't remember names well and don't easily blend into an established group of people. When I dropped my most obvious impressive credential, though, the answer was, "We know." Well, yeah. It's kind of obvious, and the kind of thing people would know even just talking about him, as "his wife is...." But something about me needed to say it, needed to establish a foothold of credibility. Standing on my own two feet wasn't enough. 

It is with you, my OA family. I'm me. I'm on the same pedestal you're on -- well, at least the same podium. Pedestals are too lonely; podiums are raised and can be shared. I like that. I used to live in a tri-tiered universe. I was on a lonely pedestal with nobody near. Above me were those I hero-worshiped. Below me were the rest of the masses. Sometimes the populace above was multitudinous; sometimes that below. But my pedestal stayed lonely. Then I came home. I don't have to be the center of the universe, nor do I have to stand alone no matter what level. We're all equal, we're all God's kids, and we're all worthy, without having to impress anybody. We're loved.

Thank you for loving me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Wow. That's absolutely the way I feel. My Slender Steps to Sanity is here, but I strongly feel it's not my book. Maybe "ours" meaning belonging to the whole fellowship, maybe God's. But its not mine.

I will be buying a number of copies at my author's discount and sending them to individuals I know in OA and to individuals connected with groups and intergroups I haven't met. I'd appreciate your help in doing this. I'm sending them as a gift. If you want to make some of them your gift as well, there's a link to the right where you can contribute to the printing and postage costs. If you know of OA's who should receive them,  you may email me their physical address. Thanks for being there, for giving me the message so I can carry it to others in this way and more. I'm so totally blessed. I love you all.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Learning AGAIN To Get Out of the Way

Wow. Wow!
My friends at Silver Boomer Books took cover drafts for my new book (Slender Steps to Sanity -- Twelve-Step Notes of Hope) to a meeting last night, asking for votes on four possibilities. I tallied the votes, and there was a clear winner, but it seemed everybody had a very definite favorite, and they disliked intensely the other options. So God took over and told me the answer. "None of the above." He's right. The new cover is perfect, then to top it off, God addressed another issue I've had with the book forever: How do you market a book in OA? He told me. "You don't."
But the whole story is even more interesting. Half my life ago, I entered into a partnership in my chosen profession. Soon, I was bringing in more money than any other partner. Then the partnership fell apart, and I was left as a self-employed professional. My billing fell off -- I gave my services away. I could earn money for my partners, but not for myself, and that was at a time I really needed the income! I ended up finding an employer who would give me a paycheck for my services, and I've been loving that job the last 21 years. 

I've had books published before, and I know very well books get sold these days only when the author markets them -- at least until the writer get to the point of best sellers, but even those generally find the writer out pitching the book, just in grander forums to more people. My books have been praised by those who've read them. But plenty of people haven't read them. Add to that the fact of writing anonymously, the marketing of this book has been a fear that probably kept me from getting it out earlier.
But then, my kind friends at Silver Boomer Books are in business to sell books. Now, don't get me wrong. They're so open to recovery, to our kind of service and our message, they've developed a Recovery imprint for their third book (my new book) as well as for others planned, one very close to publication. But still, business is business, and they need to be paid for their trust in me and my book, though I've always said I won't take any profit from this book but will give it back to OA and compulsive overeaters.
So, this morning I woke with my answer. God's answer. I'm going to use the free books I get as part of my contract with Eagle Wings Press (Silver Boomer Books) and give them free to others in the rooms of OA and looking toward the possibility of exploring them. Then, if the recipient wants me to keep giving them away, I'll give another away for every ten dollars given to me. They can say to whom the book for their money will go, or I'll choose various intergroups and groups or individuals. It's a way I can do service and the recipient can pass on the service, doing their own for somebody else.

The book has been sent to the printers. We'll have it within a couple of weeks. Now, I've got to find out just what God wants me to do as the next right step. But first, I want to thank you, my readers. The book started out as meditations here on this blog, and your support has been invaluable to me. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I've recently had two people ask me to sponsor them, coming from encounters with other members of OA with whom they could not work. I was reminded of that, reading this morning from Not God, A History of Alcoholics Anonymous by Ernest Kurtz.

For all their thinking in terms of "salvation," neither Bill Wilson nor Dr. Bob Smith nor Alcoholics Anonymous as such ever fell into the treacherous trap such an understanding could lay -- the oppressive burden of obligation to impose vision and the consequent intolerance that often ensnared those conscious of possessing "saving truth." "In the early days of of A.A. I spent a lot of time trying to get people to agree with me, to practice A.A. principles as I did, and so forth. For so long as I did this...A.A. grew very slowly." Quickly although painfully Wilson early noted, "Nor have we ever had the slightest success in insisting upon some particular form of salvation. Nevertheless we can bring people within the reach of salvation -- that is, of the salvation they choose." (pages 152-153)

Kurtz goes on to quote Wilson as saying "The way our 'worthy' alcoholics have sometimes tried to judge the 'less worthy' is, as we look back on it, rather comical. Imagine, if you can, one alcoholic judging another!"

It's like raising children. You can tell them, give them something to rebel against, or you can show them. I've done enough telling people what they ought to do in my life. God, help me live to show them how to let you tell them how.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

In the Context

I enjoyed the meditation readings today, but the reading that's sticking with me is the cartoon today, One Big Happy. The mother's answer to the question about why it's called bath tissue is that sounds nicer than toilet tissue. Begging to differ, the child says toilet contains two of her favorite words, toy and let, the illustrative sentence making her name the indirect object and toy the direct object of a directive sentence. Bath, on the other hand, does not sound pleasant, and she stretches out all the sounds to illustrate. Father, entering the setting, says he feels her pain. He, too, hates to get a hair stuck in his mouth. 

Husband asked me yesterday if I'd called one of our sons to see what's going on with a situation. I said no. He said I didn't seem to care. There's no reason for me to even ask if he's called the son this week or this year. 

I've been getting some medical help the last three weeks, getting a lifelong bad habit corrected. The presenting problem that drove me to the extreme of finally taking care of it, though, wasn't getting better. On Friday they discovered the two weren't related, and with treatment for the presenting problem, now finally there's considerable pain relief there.

We've thought we knew the answers all our lives. Maybe we did, but we didn't know the questions until we started turning this life over to God and seeing his guidance and direction.

My abstinence is clean since March 30. Thank God!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


DENIAL. Don't even know that I'm lying. Geesh.

I have told many of you that the betrayal last April/May was one I was able to take in stride, that I wasn't angry, was over it. Denial. Don't even know that I'm lying. Yes, the woman who betrayed me is a sick woman, yes, I've moved past the professional hurt. But still, there were relationship issues way behind that, and the plain fact is, I weigh now basically what I weighed last April/May. I didn't let it go. I held on, tight, keeping the resentment and the hurt on my own body. As though that could hurt her. How ridiculous. How true. 

But not, it's not denial. Now I know I really am over it. Maybe it was the April around the corner that got me here, because the first part of April was when the other stuff started happening last year. But I've been absolutely abstinent since Monday first thing, March 30, and I'm not denying I'm taking back my life.

Thank God!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

One Day at a Time -- Progressively

I just looked back, expecting the last who-knows-what number of posts to reflect a struggle. I didn't find it -- primarily, I assume, because when I'm posting it's from a position of relative strength. The absence of many recent posts, then, reflects the struggle in its silence. And this post says there's strength again. It's not mine. I'm powerless over food and my life is hopelessly unmanageable -- by me. Fortunately, I can resign control and sit back and watch while the master pilot straightens the course. 

Yesterday's abstinence from food and games tore at the core. Today's has been relatively smooth. I sit here now in front of the television, wanting to play a game while watching the show, but I also know that relatively harmless behavior is just as harmless as it would be to go into the kitchen and bake cookies with the intent of eating just one. I cannot do just one -- game, cookie, box of pudding, whatever. If I were to open a game at a safe time, within three days (and probably tomorrow) it would be the dominant activity. So. No games. Not today. And my will staying in it's proper spot, not tomorrow or the next days. I actually can survive without ever again playing sudoku or spider sol or tetris or yubotu.... 

I met a 97-year-old man today who desperately wanted to go home, to "escape" the nursing home. He fully intended to continue to mow his lawn using a walker, but he was willing to hire somebody to do the edging. I made it possible for him to go home, though I limited what he could do there. But I hope at that age I'm not ready to give my life away to useless pastimes, either. He and I both have just the one day. May each of us live life fully and completely this day!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

learning what we know

The reading in For Today starts with a quote from Epictetus. Wikipedia describes him as probably a slave born in what's not Turkey, lived in Rome until exile to the northwest of Greece where he lived most of his life in the first and second centuries. He's said to have believed "To Epictetus, all external events are determined by fate, and are thus beyond our control, but we can accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. Individuals, however, are responsible for their own actions which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable, or from neglecting what is within our power. As part of the universal city that is the universe, human beings have a duty of care to all fellow humans. The person who followed these precepts would achieve happiness." The quote that caught my attention falls in line with that, but it still pulls me more than the rest of what I've read: 

It is impossible to begin to learn that which one thinks one already knows. (Epictetus)

That was my hang-up as to religion/spirituality to some extent, but it was one that once I finally got to OA was quickly overcome. I find it true now as to OA itself. I do understand OA, the principles, the literature, the Steps, the lifestyle. But I got careless, became content with the level of recovery I'd reached. Now that I realize I walked away from the real mother lode, or at lease declined to "pick up the egg," I find my self living the truth of the statement. But there is a way. It's the one Bill W. was struggling with in the early '50s. 

Influenced by the events surrounding him, Bill Wilson began and ended his portrayal of A.A.'s Twelve Steps as "a way of life" by stressing the continued necessity of the total deflation of even a raised bottom" and the persistence in even the "recovering alcoholic" of childishness, immature grandiosity, and infantile defiance.  Between these themes and derived from them, Wilson located an ancient motif. The key to the A.A. Way of Life was -- simply -- "humility."

Humility. The key to the A.A. program, "the step that separates the men from the boys," was presented -- perhaps surprisingly -- as Step Six: "Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character." The point was not that only can "I" not directly achieve this removal, but even before an-Other-can, "my" main "activity" can be only the apparently most passive one of readiness, openness. Wilson's explicit exploration of the meaning of humility bracketed his indirect treatment of it in the Sixth Step. Although "often misunderstood, ... genuine humility" was presented simply and classically in Step "realism ..., straight thinking, solid honesty." Especially as "first ... consist[ing] of recognizing our deficiencies," "actual humility" eased the "old pains of ancient apartness." Thus Step Five which exemplified it "was the beginning of true kinship with man and God." (Ernest Kurtz, Not God, page 124)  

Like Micah said, even before Epictetus, what does the law required of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God?

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I passed a milestone of sorts a few days ago. About the time I started concentrating on sitting down with program literature and God each morning, I began to write the year on my For Today book, and since March 26, they now have not only an "08" scribbled at the bottom but an "09" companion. I'm not good at keeping good intentions, so to have done it for a year is momentous. I'm looking forward to that time when I grin at those on the tattered pages, knowing the intervening years didn't need the penned reminder I've been doing this for lots of years. But for now, I'll add the "09" each day. When I got Voices of Recovery I started marking the pages of it, as well, but that' more for my remembering what the date is should I pick it up before For Today. Those marks on the page begin on October 28. 

I'm settled into my third year in program, but I've struggled with myself lately, trying to wrest back control. Those old habits of many years seem to have such a strong pull. One of these years, those will be a distant memory and the meditation time just as set as they feel now, but much more welcome.

It's been an interesting week. Last Saturday we had an exciting offer of help, one that's been tough for me to take, as tough as the evaluation of a hard-fought manuscript by an expert in the field, something you know will improve your work, but it's MY work, and I don't "feel" the need for it to be improved any more than I "feel" the need to resist the pull of the old harmful habits. It means the book that began here on this blog will be delayed a few days or a couple of weeks -- that I won't have it when I go to my regional OA meeting. But the book will be better when it does see the light of day. And my humility will be strengthened.

I've done better on food today and the past two days. After I "restarted" on Monday it didn't last, but this one, beginning Thursday morning will. I know. I've come to realize the truth of a statement made on Wednesday at my OA meeting, that we can overeat on abstinent foods. Not that I've stuck to abstinent foods since I've been struggling, but I know it's more the behavior and the mindset than the food being eaten, and to work on that area, I'm going to start the Steps over. But I won't dawdle, for I know a lot of the work I need to do is later in the steps, though of course the first three are the foundation for them all. I also will start today doing a better -- okay, rigorous honesty. I'll start today consciously doing Step Ten, something I've never done on a regular basis. 

A few days ago I made a mistake trying to get an email from a friend into a particular file to save for future work in writing about recovery topics. I accidently posted it here for a few minutes until it was called to my attention, but the quote I was trying to save is worth the posting, just not the names included in the email:

Many want to change their results, but they are unwilling to change themselves...they therefore remain bound! — James Allen

I'm ready to change myself and lose the bounds.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I went to an event yesterday I expect will change me, again. The last two of these annual events have been momentous growth events, and I can see yesterday's leading me further in the right direction. These have nothing to do with compulsive eating. Rather, it's a gathering of writers. Still, the well-known writing professionals who have spoken at these meetings are inspiring human beings who speak to me on all levels. 

The central message yesterday was to claim the prize set out for us, to not let temerity or low self-esteem hold us back. He told of a childhood Easter egg hunt, of finding the grand-prize-winning egg and feeling he was too young to win the bicycle, of failing to pick up the prize, of watching as someone else claimed it. Since then, he's done a masterful job of claiming the prize laid out for him. Even as I sit here typing, I'm thinking, "I couldn't do that." 

How many prizes have I avoided because I wasn't worthy, because success scared me? I entered a contest once, a prestigious international writing one, and while I didn't win, the editor of a major imprint of a super-big publishing company wrote me a personal letter telling me how to fix my book, directing me to send the rewrite directly to her. I didn't know how. And I didn't ask people around me for advice to help me make the growth spurt she was asking for. When I finally did the rewrite, she no longer was at that publishing house and my efforts to put my book before her failed. I've sent yesterday's speaker the covers of two books out little publishing venture intends to offer in the next few weeks, accepting his gracious offer to critique them. And I'm going to grow enough to correct errors pointed out.

He said something else to me privately that may make an even bigger difference. I was the last one through the serving line, having a role in coordinating and managing the event. My food plan is heavy on protein, and I took an ample serving of brisket and sausage, neither of which are preferred foods on the plan, but they were the protein available. Besides that I had a spoon of cole slaw and a small serving of pinto beans. And he commented on how much food I had on my plate. My resentment wants to rear it's head, but instead, I'm taking it as a growth point like all the rest he gave.

A trusted friend helping me work my program suggested this week that I imagine myself not at the lowest weight of my adult life, which is true, but which has remained pretty stable for a year now. She suggested instead I think of myself as always thin and having reached this body size, which is 190 pounds or thereabouts. If this weight horrified me as much as the 300 pounds did once upon a time, wouldn't the motivation to really work this program be stronger? Yes. It would. 

And I know I'm still too heavy. My right knee has been painful the last four or five days. I've still been climbing the steps to my fifth floor office, knowing that may be stupid or may eventually help. Yesterday I wore slacks so I could have a tight garment around that knee -- but the garment was bought about 40 pounds ago, and it's not that tight anymore. 

One more facet to the growing pile of proof it's time for a new surge in spiritual awareness, in humility and in accepting God's abundance, came in the fact two trusted friends have recommended I see Shirley Valentine. One of those suggestions was over a year ago, in February, 2008, and since that time I've had a note on the dashboard of this computer that says, "Shirley Valentine, 1989 British release." I was loaned a copy last Thursday, and I've now watched it twice. And ordered a couple of copies of it so when I give this one back, I'll have one to keep and one to loan out.  

Today I am abstinent, I am claiming my Easter egg, and I'm trusting God to remove my fears and show me who he would have me be. Thank God!

Monday, March 9, 2009

To The Victorious

What does it mean, the victorious will inherit the blessings? My dictionary defines victorious only as an adjective. Of course I know it's used as a noun, not just here, but other places, though it's perhaps somewhat dated. Interesting. That's two dictionaries now. Just a minute, I'll be right back.
Okay, having found dictionaries generally agree as to the adjective status, that leaves us with an implied noun modified. We could get creative, but "person" will do. Or simply "victor" rather than "victorious person."
So, the victor inherits blessings. Look at the verb! Inherit. Pass by intestacy, pass without a will. (If there's a will, property passes by bequest, it's not inherited.) And who gets the property that passes by intestacy? Family. Spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings--it depends on the particular situation and the operative law. Those are the rules. But what's going on in this passage? God's saying all things are new. Who's the new family? It probably still includes the old family, but add in your OA family and, well, all God's kids.
So, the victorious inherit blessings. We talked about the part of speech but didn't really consider the meaning of this victorious victor. Winner. Is that like those phone calls that say I've won something, the ones I cut off because of anticipated strings? God, I hope not!
Winning, victory, takes something on my part fist -- entering a contest, running a race, producing a product -- action, commitment, participation. God could certainly make us all winners free-gratis, without the attached strings. But he doesn't because he's not a puppeteer, not a manipulator. He doesn't give us strings OR pull our strings.
Actually, victor comes closer to conqueror rather than winner when we look at the history of the word. Certainly winners have conquered -- the other racers, contestants, or competitors. Conquerors, though, need not have a human competitor. We think of conquest over Mt. Everest, or a personal goal or of an addiction. Conquerors may best fears, disease, or a tough music score.
So. To inherit from God the father, or from the children of God, we need to be victorious. Alas. We're powerless over food, our lives have become unmanageable. But it's okay. We've got an ace up our sleeve. Back about the time John was transcribing the Revelation, Epictetus over in Greece talked like we used to talk. He said, "You may be always victorious if you will never enter into any contest where the issue does not wholly depend upon yourself." But he was wrong. We can depend on a higher power!
So it's okay. We're already victorious. Paul said it in Romans 8:37:  In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us!  

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The King's Peace

In the United States when an indictment or information (the charging instrument for a misdemeanor) is issued, almost invariably it will say, "against the peace and dignity of the state." That's a holdover from the concept of The King's Peace (or actually at this point in England it's called The Queen's Peace.) It comes from the concept we innately recognize that each of us has a personal space, and if somebody gets too close and they're not special persons who can be in that personal space, we feel violated. 

Well, each feudal lord had that kind of space, called his "peace." And he controlled what happened within that space, could make rules that made him comfortable. And of course it goes without saying that the more powerful the person, the larger the personal space that person can claim. So the king's started out pretty big and kings amassed more and more area, taking away from the feudal lords. Then came the concept of "legal fiction" which means legal lie. One legal lie I've always found interesting was the source of the word "felony" but that's another (long) story. The legal fiction I set out to explain is the king's peace. His big space expanded because the king built highways, so his peace went with the Interstate Highway system (or the medieval equivalent thereof, the royal roads.) After that, it didn't take a lot more fiction to just fill all the nation with the King's Peace.

I got to thinking about the concept of the King's Peace as it might refer to the King of Kings. For God, it's not a fiction. His presence fills the world, the universe, and beyond. My concept is that God's not in the universe, the universe is in God. So the King's Peace is everywhere. God's peace is everywhere. Wherever you are, God is there and Peace is there. You just have to breathe deep, look for the peace, and, voila! it's in you!

Friday, March 6, 2009

About that Yoke

Consider Matthew 11:28-30.

I woke this morning to a recovery speaker saying he'd memorized the Third Step prayer wrong, that he was using "Thy love, Thy power, and Thy way of life." When "corrected" as the rest of the group said the prayer, he realized his need to put the love first, for the assurance inherent in the love.

Before getting out of bed I prayed the Third Step, Fourth Step ("we ask him to remove our fear and direct our attention to what He would have us be"), Seventh Step, and Eleventh Step ("praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.") I knew then I needed to meditate, and I scanned my brain for a verse to meditate on, and the answer was immediate. "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I realized the yoke's easy, but it is a yoke. It's a frame designed to be carried across a person's shoulders with equal loads suspended from each end. We don't see yokes around here, but I certainly have seen them traveling. In Nicaragua I took a picture not of a yoke, but of a man-powered transport. A yoke is a yoke. It's an impediment. It's a burden. Abstinence, abstaining from other obsessions, doing the next right thing -- is a burden. Yes, it's an easy burden. Yes, it's light. It's even joyful and freeing, but it's a burden, and when my rebellious self insists "This program's supposed to be easy. I don't have to work at it," I know that's hogwash. I have to surrender to God's will, let him direct me, and to enjoy the company as I bear the burden. And thrill in the destination.

Day two, no games, eating on the food plan only. It's a yoke and a burden, but lighter than it was yesterday, heavier than it will be tomorrow. I'm assured of the love as well as the power and the ability for God to direct me to live life his way!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


Yes, it's been too long. My sponsor nudged me toward that realization, but I already knew it. I sit here today after a productive, abstinent day. I can't say that about yesterday or many of the days in the weeks just past, but today it's absolutely true. I will sit here at this desk another 20 minutes before going a couple of blocks to a meeting. My strong urge was to open that old nemesis, a computer game. I had deleted Spider Sol from this brand new computer I got in January. Unfortunately, I searched for it and found an acceptable version online. And not blocked by the filter on this system. Therefore, it's up to me to block it, just like I've blocked the cherry coffeecake in the outer office all day. I actually don't know if it's still there, and I don't know what it tasted like. And won't.
Today I've been busy. I read three devotional books and the Big Book after getting up and while getting the household ready to go with a husband somewhat under the weather. I got to work and spent the morning busy at work-related projects and looking at emails, etc., between obligations. I took part in two interviews for a job and got back to the computer with my immediate obligations met, ripe for opening a computer game. But instead I started working on a project I need to do to meet a requirement on my amends list I composed yesterday. I didn't get much done, can't figure out an excel question, but I did move the right direction. I spent the noon hour with my counselor and ran an errand for an organization, then went to my other office where I ended up talking to the manager of that site then working on a website I should have updated a couple of weeks ago. I went home to check on hubby and get his medicine from the pharmacy, feed him, and see to issues there, and I'm back at my main office. So, it's been a busy and productive day. One thing I did for my recovery, though, this morning was in response to an email poetry prompt, but it describes my intentions in working my program today and for days to come, with God's help.
Beaten Path
Some paths hold your feet,
move them along on earth
worn smooth, comfortable,
familiar your first visit.
The path of least resistance,
straying takes effort.
Some trails hint the path,
hard to detect, difficult to track,
though heart-felt right,
chosen carefully. Staying
takes effort, but once done
for long enough may yield
the right, well-beaten, path.
May your day be blessed. Thanks for blessing mine by being there to support me.