January 5: First Meeting
My knees are shaking as I rise. Can I confess this? Can I do this? I wish there were a way for me to stand behind a wall while I say this.
“Hello. My name is Summer, and I’m a…um…I’m addicted to…um…well, I’m addicted to eating Bible pages.”
I sit down quickly as I feel a hot flush spread over my body. Oh my goodness. This is horrible. What am I doing here? I hear a titter in the back of the room. When I have courage to look, I see hardened, lined faces, weathered by drugs and alcohol, surrounding me. Only one or two appear to find my confession funny. The rest have seasoned themselves to nonreaction.
The leader, his expression benign, nods. “Thank you, Summer.” He glances around the double circle. The group responds: Hello, Summer.
I squirm. I can’t wait to get home and eat a few Psalms. The comforting ones, maybe.
January 30: Third Meeting
“Summer, why don’t you share what has brought you here to us this past month. Let us know how you’re doing with your addiction and how we can help you.” The leader taps his pen against his leg.
“Um…well, I began to eat Bible pages when I was five. My daddy died and Mama would read the Bible to me as a comfort. She kept telling me we were gobbling up the peace of the Lord’s word. One night, I accidentally tore a corner off the page and I…I popped it in my mouth.”
A smiling freaky-haired young man pipes up. “That’s normal for kids. They’s always puttin’ stuff in their moufs.”
I sniff back a tear. Oh man.
“Do you think it was comfort that you associated with the Bible that got you started on eating the pages?” The leader glances at his pen.
“What happened then?” he gently urges.
“I kept eating it. I ate it behind Mama’s back, but when she noticed how many torn pages there were, she got suspicious.”
“So you always knew it wasn’t a good thing to do?”
“Yes. I mean, none of my friends ate paper and my Mama didn’t eat paper.”
“Do you eat any other kinds of paper?”
“No. Bible paper is thin and—” I stop. I can’t say this!
“Melts in your mouf?” Freaky-hair guy finishes for me. His grin is oddly reassuring.
In spite of my embarrassment, I giggle and the others giggle with me. Okay. Maybe I can keep doing this. Maybe I can skip eating the Word and just read it tonight.
March 10: Twelfth Meeting
I’ve not eaten Bible pages since January. My addiction is at my elbow, though, and I struggle daily with not consuming the Word—literally. But, I got a new Bible and the crisp pages are calling my name.
“I confess I have a new Bible and it’s hard not to tear off pieces.” The group knows me well. They offer support.
A new member snorts. “Get rid of your Bibles, okay?” She’s a silver-haired woman fighting pain killer addiction. Her tone is impatient.
I gasp. “But, I’m a Christian--and have to read my Bible!”
The group closes in to comfort me; a nearby few pat my back. “Hang in there.” “Call me anytime, honey.”
The leader clears his throat. “I have a suggestion. How about using only online resources?”
I stare. I never thought of that!
November 27: Thirty-sixth Meeting
I lounge in my chair, waiting for the leader to begin. Tonight I officially announce my addiction to Bible page eating is over. I haven’t even thought of munching the Word since March. I love my laptop and, most especially, BibleGateway.
“Hi. My name is Summer and I have an addiction to eating Bible pages—” The group shares my triumph as I tell my story and declare my liberty. I can’t remember when I’ve felt so free!
January 14: Church Business Meeting
“I’d like to bring up new business. Miss. Summer teaches our kids and not once have I seen her bring a Bible to church! Does she have a problem with feasting on the Word?”
I gulp and glance around, my hands shaking. I have no answer.
January 28: Special Church Meeting
“Well? What about it, Summer? Where’s your Bible?”
I wave my arm triumphantly, the object I’m holding glittering. Its name shines under the sanctuary lights: Kindle.
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