I bought yet another collection of journaling prompts, this one faith-based. It is called Journal-a-Day the Titus 2 Way and is about growing in Godly womanhood. Not all prompts apply to me. For instance, the ones that center on life as a wife or mother, for the most part, don’t. I mean, of course I am married, but I don’t live with my husband. However, Paul also instructs Titus to teach the women to stay away from addictive substances or practices. As such, one of the prompts in the book is a one-word prompt: sober.

I don’t drink alcohol. In this sense, the prompt does not apply to me either. However, sobriety can refer to other addictions too. In Overeaters Anonymous, it is called abstinence.

I have never liked abstinence-based eating disorder recovery programs like OA. I like to blame the fact that I struggle not just with overeating, but with purging and occasional restricting too. The real reason is though that I don’t want to give up foods I’m addicted to altogether. And, taking Paul’s letter to Titus literally, I don’t have to. After all, the Bible verse states: “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.” (Titus 2:3 NIV)

For this reason, I wonder, is it really God’s plan, as OA seems to think, that we abstain from addictive foods altogether? Doesn’t Paul write “much wine” for a reason?

I have a problem with the idea that, if you just admit that you’re powerless over your substance, you will – no, should – become sober through submitting to God. Not with the submitting to God part, but with the requirement of complete sobriety, which is human-made. Jesus as far as I’m concerned didn’t abstain completely from alcohol and if refined sugar had existed in His time, He’d probably consumed it too. Shouldn’t the goal be self-control instead?

I pray that God provides me with direction as I navigate my journey towards recovery from disordered eating. I pray that He will help me submit to His will, whatever this may be. Yes, even if this is complete abstinence from sugar, snacks inbetween meals and all other things OA says we need to abstain from. Amen!

I’m linking up with Let’s Have Coffee.

10 thoughts on “Abstinence

    1. I think you’re right, in that for some, abstinence may be the only way out of overeating. Interestingly, Eating Disorders Anonymous has balance as its goal rather than abstinence, which seems a lot more sensible to me. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Astrid, good thoughts here. I have struggled with the same most of my life, but over the past few years found freedom. I would argue that none of this is about eating or abstaining. Overeating like any other addiction is based in deeper issues. Unless you seek to understand the “why” behind the overeating, you will always be a slave to overeating. Your habit is sourced in a deeper pain that you “medicate” with food. Food is simply your drug of choice for coping or mitigating a deeper pain.
    I have a problem with giving power to a subtance by saying you are “powerless” to control it. As Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 10, we eat all things with thankfulness and whether we eat or drink we do all for the glory of God. It’s not about the food-it’s about motive. You can restrict yourself endlessly, but it will never free you.
    Praying dear one God will guide you to the true cause of your eating disorder so that He can break the chains holding you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for the prayers. I agree wholeheartedly, it’s not about what exactly we eat, but about our deeper attitudes of the heart.


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