The Hope Diary: Step One, I am Powerless!
October 30, 2012
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I have been spending the evening quietly reflecting the past couple of days and how so many people in Jersey City and NYC around me are without power, submerged in water, scared, alone and helpless. I am extremely thankful that by the very Grace of God, my home was one of the only to not be affected with loss of anything, and I am definitely counting my Blessings.
The running theme right now of helplessness around the East Coast reminds me of Step One of my Twelve Step program for recovering from an eating disorder. Step One states that when we finally come to the realization that we have a true problem that is destroying our lives and many times, the lives of others, we say that we are “powerless.”
It took me 19 years to admit to myself and to others that I was powerless. Even after going for help 17 years into my bulimia and anorexia, I still did not admit that I was powerless. I sought help mostly for the wrong reasons; to please others and to make myself look better. I wanted everyone to think that I was again…perfect. That even though I had had an eating disorder for so many years that I could, in fact, pick myself right up and get help and be recovered immediately.
How absurd it was to pridefully seek help, and never really admit my powerlessness. The outcome of this was I went around and around my problems for much longer than needed, with results far more atrocious than the past.
True admittance of my powerlessness came when I found myself with nowhere to look than up at God for my life and my answers. Hopefully you will be smarter than I was and learn from my and others’ mistakes and seek help before you have to just about kill yourself to get there.
My Twelve Step Program defines powerlessness as such, “Step One: We admitted that we were powerlessness, that our lives had become unmanageable.” My unmanageable life, emotions, finances, and relationships all became sure-fire signals that my addiction had taken over and that I was powerless over myself. It was a sad realization but one that truly set me on the path to God, self-discovery, recovery, and ultimately, saving my life.
If you are thinking that maybe you have a problem with food, anorexia, bulimia, taking laxatives, over-exercising, or binge-eating, here are some questions and correlating Bible verses taken from The Life Recovery Workbook by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop that are truly valuable in helping you get on the way to recovery.
1). What feelings do I experience as I acknowledge people in my life who have power ( such as supervisors, spouse, religious leaders, and sponsors)?
2). What do I try to escape from?
3). How do I escape my feelings such as anger, boredom, fatigue, or loneliness?
4). When things do not go my way, or when I am in a no-win situation, what is my reaction (with relationships, work, promotions, kids who question or rebel, traffic, drivers in front of me, people talking on cell phones in public places, financial difficulties, people who hurt or disappoint me, or God, who seems to be silent)?
5. If I could, how would I change my response?
1). What is the longest time I have been able to stop addictive behaviors or using addictive substances?
2). What are some of the reasons I use for starting my behaviors or substance abuse again?
3). What are the things I think I can control? How do I lie to myself, and about what?
4). What is so scary about telling the truth?
5). As I explore powerlessness, what blind spots have I discovered?
6). What are the results of pride in my life?
A Humble Beginning
2 Kings 5: 1-5
1). What is the difference between humiliation and humility in my life?
2). How do I regard myself as being a little more important than other people?
3). What makes me think I am in control of anything?
4). How do I try to influence or control God or his representatives?
5). When have I places expectations on other people or God?
6). When have my attitudes shown that I believe I know better than God?
7. Why is it difficult for me to follow another’s instructions?
Hope Amidst Suffering
1). What kind of people do I hang around with and trust– people who criticize, or people who encourage truth?
2). What emotions can I identify with when I am at the bottom?
3). What have I done in the past to tidelands with pains or sadness?
Like Little Children
1). What happened in the past that still provokes fear in me today?
2). When do I feel the most cared for?
3). What do I see in my life that reveals God’s care for me?
A Time to Choose
1). When I continue to pursue my own agenda without asking God for direction, what happens in my life?
2). Are there areas of my life in which God may have to use extreme measures before I will listen for direction? Which areas?
3). What will it take for me to listen to God?
The Paradox of Powerlessness
2 Corinthians 4:7-10
1). These are examples of when I have demonstrated acceptance of my own powerlessness and God’s Powerfulness.
2). How do I respond to trouble?
3). How do I respond to being perplexed?
4). What do I do when it seems that God or someone else has abandoned me?