I haven’t been writing as much lately. I’m grateful to those who have been filling in for me. By sharing your stories, you have been a blessing to me and many others. Often when I have a lapse in writing it is because I am struggling with depression. This time I’ve had some of that. But it runs deeper. It is more that I’ve had the need to hibernate so I can come out more refreshed. During this season of hibernation I have been pruning excessive activities, increasing therapy, attending to some health issues, and getting rest. Grand and glorious rest.

Perhaps the biggest decision I’ve made during this sabbath season is to lose weight. My particular program involves both a food plan and a fellowship component. It requires much discipline and I have found that I have little self-discipline. Two weeks in, though, I am responding well to the positive discipline provided by a sponsor and an international fellowship I can call on day and night (especially important during nights when I am hypo manic and experiencing food cravings).

My food plan is comprised of a healthy balance of protein, fruits and veggies, a small amount of carbs, and “good” fats. I am essentially abstaining from sugar, which motivates me to eat fresh foods and avoid processed ones. With such choices, my salt intake has decreased dramatically. This will no doubt enhance my overall health profile, and perhaps even reverse some beginning signs of diabetes and high cholesterol.

All this is to say I am eating well and feeling great. My sinus cavities are clear. Flowers are more fragrant. My taste buds savor each bite. Drinking 64 ounces of water each day, I flush out the nasty toxins, hydrating each cell of my body with energy-inducing zest. My skin tingles.

This is what is happening to me in just two weeks. It’s not something I’ve just chosen to do; I have made a commitment. A commitment born of desperation. I know I can not do this on my own power. On my own, I am still the little boy who puts countless heaping tablespoons of Nestle’s Quik in glass after glass of milk. I am still the young man on his first date sneaking off at Intermission to stuff his face with three hot dogs. I’m still the family provider who puts candy bars and sodas on a gas bill then hides the trash. I am the man with a pet-scan scheduled to investigate why my heart is being overexerted. There is one clear reason and that is I am overweight. I need to lose yet my perceived intuition tells me to go ahead and eat. Insane! Yet, I can’t turn it around. In fact, I am “powerless” — but for faith. I believe a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. And for this I am tremendously grateful.

So what do I do with my gratitude? I express it. In program, one thing I do each day is share five gratitudes with my sponsor. I’ll close with what some of these are.

  1. The discipline of program boosting my self-confidence.
  2. Susan getting her new job as a visiting professor.
  3. Balance in my mental health.
  4. Regular sleep.
  5. Loving support from my family.
  6. Freedom to work when I want.
  7. Support from new friends in program.
  8. The peace music brings to my soul.
  9. The inspiration of the Olympics.
  10. My mental health support group.
  11. The peace I feel in program.
  12. My father’s legacy as we remember the anniversary of his death.
  13. My pastor friend sending a letter of prayerful support.
  14. Susan’s love for her family.
  15. A good therapist.
  16. My loyal lab Briley.
  17. Food in our refrigerator.
  18. My step-mother Connie’s love.
  19. Grocery shopping with Susan.
  20. Susan organizing the kitchen.
  21. The taste of coffee, my comfort food/drug.
  22. The technology to stay in touch and reach out to others.
  23. A faithful sponsor.
  24. Worship at St. Peter’s.
  25. Sunday drive at Clifty State Park.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change. The courage to change the things I can. And the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine be done. Amen.