This post is all about my experience, and others may not relate at all. Take what you like and leave the rest. I am sharing this thought to help myself, and others who do relate.
Tonight I have three separate Christmas parties to attend; all of them involve my drug of choice, food. No matter what our drug of choice, holidays always challenge my commitment to live in recovery, clean and sober. Again, I am very aware that there are many people in the world who are able to eat in moderation and with sanity. I am not.
One night after pajamas were on, teeth brushed, and story read, I over heard the following conversation between Sammy and her dad:
“Daddy, I’m hungry!” Sammy announced as she was being carried off to bed.
“Would you like a bowl of cereal?” Daddy asked.
Sammy replied, “No daddy, not that…something good!
Daddy responded, “Are you hungry Sam, or do you just want a treat?”
The thought immediately came to my mind, “Nannette, that’s a good question to ask yourself whenever the desire to eat comes up or the opportunity to eat comes along.”
I looked up the word “treat.” You knew I would! I laughed when I saw that one of the synonyms was “morsel.”
“What?” I said, “But a morsel is just a little bit!”
I guess that for many people having a treat is having a little taste of something. For me the, “I’ll just have a little bit, thanks” or “Please cut my piece in half,” sets me up for a wrestle with cravings and a battle with the Adversary that is simply not worth the taste. For me, having a little is never the solution for wanting a lot.
Often as I visit with other people who struggle with unhealthy eating patterns I am asked if I think the Lord could extend to them the blessing the moderation with treats (those nutritiously empty calorie foods we consume for pure pleasure). I suppose the answer would have to be “yes.” The Lord can do anything that is for our best good. But moderation with what we term “junk food” in today’s society is a gift He has not given me. Although I have experienced years of the gift of abstinence, I have never experienced any lasting success in receiving the gift of moderation when it come to treats.
Every once in a while I have given the moderation in “all things” challenge a shot. An alcoholic, “living in recovery” calls this, “The Grand Experiment.” These are the thoughts I recorded in my journal after one such experimental spree:
“After eighteen years experience applying the principles of recovery I experienced some uncontrolled eating in connection with a party tonight. I’m not sure what to think? Was it relapse or was it recovery? Let’s see…my eating was filled with dishonest optimism…. “I’m only going to have a taste,” with the backup justification, “This is a celebration!” Any addict with more that thirty minutes of clean time would call this, “Stinkin’ Thinkin!” I certainly did not stop with a polite taste. It interrupted my peace. In fact, it contributed to my “un-peace.” Is un-peace over unhealthy eating choices something to recover from? It seems to be completely unhelpful for me to think of poor eating as some kind of recovery. The addict/alcoholic in recovery would tell me that to recover from addiction by learning to use in moderation has never ever been an effective path to recovery. In fact, striving for moderation in an area where one is truly addicted is a sweeping gateway toward relapse no matter what the addiction.
Addiction is triggered by an activity or substance that incites craving and unrest in the user. And while it’s true that alcoholics still drink something, over spenders still spend, and overeaters still eat. In recovery we do not drink, spend, or eat that which knocks at the door and threatens our sanity.
I’m sure that science and psychology have volumes of response to the feelings I have expressed. But for me, for today, I am going to stick with what’s working – abstaining under the direction and with the power of the Lord. I don’t do well with treats. I don’t want just a morsel. Living this way has blessed me with a ninety pound sustained weight loss, with greater serenity than I have ever known, and with a relationship with Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ I never dreamed possible. Hats off to all those “Oh I just couldn’t eat an other bite” folks, and I know there are many. I’m not one of them. As for me, when it comes to certain foods, having a little is never the solution for wanting a lot.
By Nannette W.
Posted Sunday, December 14, 2008
Copyright 2008 by Nannette W. All right reserved. Making or sending copies is permitted if the page is not changed in any way and the material is not used for profit. This notice must be included on each copy made or sent.