Celebrating 25 years of food addiction treatment and recovery!

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Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ SHiFT Your Ideas About Overeating!

It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S. next week, that means it’s back to basics time! If you’re a food addict who’s in recovery, take a few minutes to remember how confused you were in the beginning. Think about how many diets and weight loss methods you tried. Remember the humiliation you felt each time something didn’t work.

And, most importantly, remember how incredibly relieved you felt once your ideas about overeating SHiFTed to include the concept of food addiction.

What is a food addict? 

How do I know if I am a food addict? 

If I am a food addict, how do I get help?

All of these questions were answered within a few hours of your first Acorn Intensive and even though you didn’t know it at the time, your life would change forever.

If you haven’t yet found recovery and don’t know exactly what a food addict is, I invite you to sign up for our newsletter. When you do, you’ll be given three links to videos that describe the differences between a normal eater who is overweight, an emotional eater, and a food addict.

If you’re already a subscriber to our newsletter and are interested in seeing the videos, like us on Facebook. We’ll be posting the video there at the end of the month.

Wherever you are in your recovery journey, I wish you the peace of knowing how to SHiFT your ideas about overeating to include food addiction.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ We’re Celebrating National Recovery Month!

It’s National Recovery Month and we’re celebrating! The event, is designed “to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover. The 2019 theme is Join the Voices for Recovery: Together We Are Stronger.”

At SHiFT, we understand how important joining together in recovery is and we work hard to support food addiction recovery for everyone. On Saturday, we’ll be at Recovery Day in New Westminster, BC (6th Street & 6th Avenue) providing information about food addiction. We hope you can stop by and see us.

In addition to this, there are several ways that you can receive regular free food addiction support and inspiration from us.

To begin, in addition to this weekly blog, and as a service to all food addicts and those interested in learning about food addiction, we maintain a Facebook page where we post inspirational memes, informative articles, and helpful personal stories twice daily.  You can like us here –

We also publish a free bi-monthly email newsletter that provides information about food addiction recovery including an abstinent recipe in each issue.  You can subscribe to that at our website – https://foodaddiction.com.

Also at our website, we provide information about food addiction, personal stories and testimonials from food addicts in recovery as well as resources for additional information. There’s also a quiz to help you find out if you’re a food addict.

In addition to these free services, we also offer self-paid programs including our 5 week food addiction treatment program. This program includes the Acorn Intensive, a powerful 6-day residential program, followed by 30 days of home-based aftercare.  We also offer 3 Days with SHiFT weekend recharge programs for you to deepen your recovery as you progress.

It is our honor to help food addicts with recovery and we hope that you find these services helpful.  Take time this month to begin or strengthen your food addiction recovery and let us know if we can help.

Women’s Health Month

Happy May!

Today I was thinking of the saying “April showers bring May flowers”. That saying doesn’t really fit for Florida weather (as there really hasn’t been any rain to speak of), which is where I am currently but it definitely fits for Vancouver’s weather. May is a time for new beginnings, the sun is warming, flowers are starting to bloom, birds are chirping and the garden is showing signs of growth. May is also Women’s Health Month. What will you do this month to take care of yourself?

For me, taking care of myself and working my program of recovery are two in the same. I heard someone recently share that recovery is simply taking good care of myself in all areas of my life; physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and spiritually. Am I looking after my physical body? Am I looking after my emotional health? How are my relationships? Do I follow a daily spiritual practice? In order for me to truly look after myself, I need to take care of my whole being. If one pillar of my foundation is shaky then truly my whole being is off kilter. The scary part is that I may not even notice I have a shaky pillar until all four of my pillars are in jeopardy and then I am in a pretty desperate situation. The good news is that it now doesn’t take much for me to get back on track and once again, be in a place of positively moving forward.

It’s vital for me, especially as an addict in recovery, to take a pulse check often of how I’m doing in all areas of my life as it is very easy for me to slip back into poor self-care. Recently, I learned a new tool called a Recovery Grid created by Roland Williams. The details of how to use the grid are a different topic (a great topic but a different newsletter) however I thought the healthy living checklists were brilliant. I have shared them in the box below so you can assess how you are doing with self-care. This is by no means so that we can judge and be critical of ourselves. It’s just a great checkpoint. For me, I need as many tools as I possibly can have in my tool belt to help me be honest and see if I am on track. I lived so much of my life being in dishonesty with myself that I truly often can’t see the truth.

Take a look at the grid below and notice the things you are doing and notice what you’re not doing. Would the things you are not doing be beneficial for your personal recovery and well – being? If so, what commitments are you willing to make around doing these things? Remember that small changes are much more attainable than lofty grandiose commitments that we actually never end up doing and then get to feel bad about ourselves for not doing (I know this one well).

As I have been writing this article, I have taken note of areas that I haven’t been focusing on and I can definitely tell there are several. Under my physical health, I really haven’t been doing any consistent exercise lately. Exercise is something I either seem to do full on or not at all (an addict…you think?). Recently, I have been in the not at all part of the compulsion. So about 2 weeks ago I committed to taking a 30-minute walk every day. I’m pretty sure I haven’t missed a day. My mind can easily tell me all sorts of negative things about this like; 30-minute walk – that’s nothing, you should be running, what about cardio…and the chatter continues.  The important thing here is that I took a look at what I am and what I am not doing to look after myself which allows me to then get honest and make changes that support my long-term health physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. And that my friends is a beautiful piece of recovery…that I actually can take a look, get honest and make commitments (that I actually keep) to move towards recovery and away from relapse or towards health and away from the disease. That is a miracle.

Would love to hear what you will do to look after yourself in the month of May (men too).


Biologicaly – Physically

  •  Do I follow a healthy eating plan
  • Am I getting enough sleep
  • Do I get adequate exercise
  • Heath Care Provider: do you have one, do you go, do you follow what they suggest
  • Do I have good hygiene
  • Do I avoid toxic substances: caffeine, tobacco, sugar…etc 
Psychologically – Thoughts/Feelings

  • Do I regularly see a therapist/coach/counsellor
  • Can I identify and express my feelings
  • What is my stress level
  • Do I have good self – esteem
  • Do I think positively for the most part
  • Do I intellectually challenge myself regularly

Socially – Relationships
 

  • Romantic relationship – can I be in one, am I able to love someone and let them love me back
  • If I am currently in a romantic relationship is it strong in all areas: commitment, intimacy, passion
  • Friends: do I have any, if so what kind – do they lift me up or bring me down
  • Family: do I have healthy relationships with my family members
  • Do I have fun
  • If in recovery do I have a strong sober support system: recovery group, partners in recovery, sponsor
  • How is my relationship with myself: do I enjoy my own company

Spiritually

  • If I belong to an organized religion do I follow the practices
  • Do I believe in a Higher Power and if so do I build that relationship daily
  • Do I live my according to my values: honesty, compassion, tolerance, respect, humility, integrity

 

 

 

 

 

The start of summer is a busy time at ACORN. Today, we start a Primary Intensive in Florida, followed by a week of Living In Recovery and a Step 4-9 Alumni weekend to finish it off. In June we have a Primary Intensive starting June 8th in Vancouver, followed by a Relapse Prevention Alumni Weekend (I think there is waiting room only for this left?) and then a week of Living In Recovery. There are many events that could be part of your self-care plan.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, sober May.

Peace & Abstinence, Amanda


Upcoming ACORN Events

Happy New Year! What are you grateful for?

Happy New Year!!!
As 2017 comes to a close and the newness of 2018 settles upon us, I can’t help but think about gratitude. I have so much to be grateful for. I don’t always see this, but, if I choose, it is always there, available for me to be aware of and bask in the glory of my gratitude.

I was reminded of this recently when talking with a friend on a very rainy, gray day here in Vancouver. She said, “Wow, it’s raining so hard today.” The next words out of my mouth were going to be, “I know! Isn’t it awful, I hate these days.” However, before I could get those words out of my mouth, she said, “It’s great! My car was so dirty and now it’s clean!”Yea, right, that’s just what I was thinking….NOT!!

It is so easy for me to fall into the depths of negativity and self-pity. Sometimes it feels like it’s my “comfort zone” since I spent so much of my life there. I never knew that was what I was doing or even that I had any other choice. Life just seemed hard, and it was definitely hard on me, or so I thought. The idea never occurred to me that I was completely responsible for how I saw things and whether life was “hard on me.” This doesn’t mean that struggles wouldn’t appear in my life—after all, that is life. What it means though, is that I get to choose how I view things and, therefore, I get to choose to believe life is “hard” or that life at times is “beautifully challenging.”

I have spent a lot of time with my niece (yes, the one and only Georgia, who, as I am sure you have noticed, I love to squeak into any newsletter that I possibly can) and my other sister’s two dogs in the last month. Wow! Talk about gratitude and staying in the moment; young children and animals are an amazing reminder of how this can be done. They have all taught me some beautiful lessons in the last couple of weeks.

Georgia and I were walking to the park with the dogs and I said, “Georgia I am feeling a bit sad because this is the last time I am going to see you before I go back to Florida for a couple of months.” She was quiet for a minute and I could see her little mind racing, and then, she looked at me with a bit of a furrowed brow, raised her hands with palms facing upward and said, “But we’re here together now”! From the mouths of babes; what brilliance this beautiful little 4-year-old human being had just shared with me. Amanda, be grateful for what is happening NOW!!

I think the key for me to remember is that I always have a choice everyday in how I view each situation that comes my way. So I ask myself—and each of you—to be cognizant of the fact that when our thoughts say, “Life is Hard” our next thought can be, “Life is beautiful and I am grateful for this situation because I know, if I choose to, I can grow and learn from it.”

Today is January 3rd  and I am reminded of the many events of 2017 and am in awe of what I have to be grateful for. There are so many miracles in my life. My top 10 gratitudes for 2017 are:

  1. Freedom from the bondage of food for another 365 days.
  2. The ability of my body to physically re-build its way back to health and strength after years of abuse.
  3. My powerful, strong, smart, beautiful niece Georgia and the role I get to play in her life because of abstinence and recovery.
  4. That I have a career which allows me to support others who are travelling the same path as me in recovery from the brutal disease of food addiction, and, therefore, get to witness on a daily basis the strength, tenacity and hope of human beings.
  5. The country and city I call home, Vancouver, Canada, for its natural beauty, diversity and the freedoms it allows me.
  6. All the long walks I have taken in the stunning forests in Vancouveor or along the gorgeous beaches in Florida.
  7. The summer vacation I took with my Mom where I showed up as a responsible, respectful adult who had the ability to get outside of herself and truly “see” my Mom for all her amazingness.
  8. For all the people in recovery who walk this path with me and show me that recovery is possible one day at a time.
  9. For my family who stuck with me through active addiction and is now allowing me the opportunity to show up differently, one day at a time, and slowly gain back their trust.
  10. For my daily growing relationship with my higher power who, when I let go of control, truly guides me to a life beyond my wildest dreams.

Wow! I have so many more gratitudes, but this will just have to do for now! I would love to hear your gratitudes. Visit us on Facebook  (https://www.facebook.com/ACORNFoodAddiction/) and let me know your top 10 gratitudes for 2017.

Wishing you an abstinent, peaceful and grateful 2018,

Amanda

P.S.  Don’t miss out on ACORN’s month of recovery starting January 19.  I can’t think of a better way to start a New Year than with an abundance of RECOVERY!!

Also keep your eyes open for information on upcoming events in Vancouver happening in March.


Primary Intensive

When:      Friday, Jan 19 to Wednesday, Jan 24 (starts Fri at 7 pm and ends Wed at 2 pm) and/or Tuesday, Feb 6 to Sunday, Feb 11 (starts Tues at 7 pm and ends Sun at 2 pm).

Where:     Sugar Free Place, Bradenton Florida

Cost:         $2,175 USD includes program, lodging and all meals ($1,925 for those who have previously attended an ACORN Primary Intensive)

What:        ACORN’s “powerful” and “life-changing” 5-day program

Join Phil and Amanda for ACORN’s signature program, The Primary Intensive. This 5-day structured residential program includes practice using a food plan, education about the disease, process groups, challenging denial, structured activities, individual reading and writing assignments, and resources for support. Open to those new to food addiction recovery and to those who want to deepen their recovery in an abstinent environment.

Space is limited to 10 participants!

REGISTER FOR EVENT


Living in Recovery

When:       Saturday, Jan 27 to Wednesday, Jan 31

Where:      Sugar Free Place, Bradenton Florida

Cost:         $1,225 USD includes program and lodging

What:        A 5-day program supporting participants to strengthen their recovery in a supportive and abstinent environment

The goal of the “Living in Recovery Workshop” is to enable participants to take home what they practice during their stay. The workshop is less structured than the ACORN Primary Intensive and provides two process groups each day for attendees to address their individual recovery issues and attend relevant educational lectures.

Participants will stay in a residential home; prepare their own meals following their individual, abstinence-based food plans; participate in Twelve Step meetings; and have a daily practice of reading and writing.

REGISTER FOR EVENT


Alumni Retreat: Relapse Prevention Focus

Come for a Relapse Prevention weekend and enjoy R&R, Recharge and Recovery.

When:       Friday, Feb 2 to Sunday, Feb 4
(starts Fri at 6 pm and ends Sun at 3 pm)

Where:      Sugar Free Place, Bradenton Florida

Cost:         $550 USD includes program, lodging and all meals

What:        An event for ACORN alumni only that focuses on RELAPSE PREVENTION!

Join Phil and Amanda for an amazing weekend as we delve into this vital aspect of ongoing recovery.  Explore the whys, the hows and, most importantly, the “how nots!!”  The Relapse Prevention weekend is an eye-opening andlifesaving event, providing participants the tools to actually “STOP” a relapse process in its early stages—meaning before they pick up the food!  I believe that all of us in recovery can benefit from this work.  One recent participant stated,“This relapse work was the missing piece for me.”

REGISTER FOR EVENT