Saturday, June 19, 2004

living one day at a time

odaat - that's one of the biggest themes of my life. and boy was yesterday a good day to be pondering this line. i couldn't wait to get through it, it was horrible.

i was emotional, prickly, jealous and all out having a pity party. but today, new every morning. blessed be the name of the lord. really, honest. i don't mean that in the knee-jerk, christian way people say it. i truly believe that as i opened my eyes today fresh energy, serenity and wisdom was falling from above.

finding the extension of the serenity prayer was a real gift for me. i have been looking to pull apart these lines for some time now. this line though is throughout 12 step thought.


life before recovery felt little like 'living', more like surviving, or existing. barely like living. to choose to live means i must engage. i must be intentional and act, not re-act. serenity helps with that.

at the beginning of my recovery even 24 hours seemed very overwhelming. i posted earlier this month on breaking up the day from the moment i opened my eyes until breakfast "god please get me to breakfast without binging". then i would do that at each meal. it gave me strength and little victories. linking them together so that the full 24 hours was past.

today there sometimes doesn't seem like enough time to fit it all in. that can be just as dangerous as that white knuckle time years ago. busy is a quick replacement for 'living' - it's more like being swept away by a raging river. probably more dangerous for me than the early years because i forget, forget to breathe, forget to pray. forget to stop, and be still and know that he is god.

busy is a horrible way to fill time. i'm moving so quickly i can't engage, 'don't get in my way, i've got important things to accomplish, i don't have time for you' it's as insulating as secluding myself away in my home, but sneakier to my psyche. i trick myself into believing that i'm really doing it and not just avoiding 'living'.

one day.

i love the line 'borrowing trouble'. i think i read it in a book and it was said by a wise old southern grandmother. today has enough problems of it's own, don't borrow trouble and waste all of the energy you'll need today, to bear up under it, on tomorrow or the anxieties of the future.

busy also robs that 'one day' beauty. finding sitters, making plans, fielding calls and fighting traffic force yesterday and tomorrow upon us. that is one of the drawbacks to living in our culture. information speeds like lightning into our homes keeping us disconnected with the illusion of community. we can have our needs met by a screen - tv, video, game boy or computer - each tricks us into thinking we are relating with others, but we are truly insulating and isolating ourselves from engaging with our world.

just for today. i tell that to myself both consciously and subconsciously now many times throughout the day. just for today i choose to use the strength god has given me to refrain from eating chocolate, sugar and my binge foods. i choose to refrain from self stimulation or filling my mind with images or words that are sexual in nature. just for today, i choose to have constant contact with god and be responsible for myself. i choose to allow god to meet my needs instead of grasping to meet them on my own.

at a time.

that means that there will be a tomorrow. suicide is not an option. i have lived far to many years plagued by the threat of taking my own life. it seemed like such an easy out. i was so miserable to be around everyone would just be relieved anyway. at a time means that i am linking 24 hour periods of abstinence, health and sobriety together, and i will continue to do it again tomorrow.

it gives me hope. hope was in short supply during the blur of my addiction. cursing liam because he was not home, and cursing him because he was. i was a mess. but hope cracked the door and she came into my shame and caressed my face and told me i wasn't alone.

i remember seeing the little hand-made flyer on the wall of my doctor's office. 'eating disorder support group'. hope. we had moved to our first pastorate and lived in the absolute dead center of middle of nowhere. but hope found me, even there. she's determined, deliberate. hope changes everything.

one of the things old time 12 steppers will tell you of is their e/s/h - experience, strength and hope. that is the foundation of step 12 - 'having had a spiritual experience as a result of these steps we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.' it's like a bucket brigade. 'hey, we found water, want some? no really it's free, here, have some of mine'. we live off that until we can find the source ourselves.

experience, strength and hope - it's silly in it's simplicity. it says anybody and everybody gets to help. it's not just the podium preachers or the trained, lettered and educated. nope, everybody. because we have all been through our own trials, and mine might help you, and yours will definitely help me. god doesn't waste anything.

it's really what emergent is - removing the expert talking head and sharing the wealth and the load between us. real live community. one day at a time.

'o god, you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are fixed on you; for in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and trust shall be our strength'
isaiah 26:3

No comments: