I can’t do that!
There’s no way I’d ever give up eating sugar!
I absolutely will not weigh and measure my food!
We hear these things regularly and my answer to all of that comes from a Twelve Step slogan – If nothing changes, nothing changes!
It’s really quite simple. If a food addict wants recovery then things have to change. It is absolutely impossible to get into recovery without making lifestyle changes. Of course, everyone wants some sort of “magic” pill or potion that will change their lives.
To be clear, the only way a food addict can get into recovery is to make lifestyle and behavioral changes. Period. No bargaining. No negotiation. Changes must be made if recovery is to happen. There is no other way.
Some of these changes must be major such as following a nonaddictive food plan while others may be smaller like staying in the perimeter of the grocery store when shopping. Whatever size they are, each change is a step towards food addiction recovery and living a life free from obsession with food.
The good news is that when things change, things change and there is an opportunity for a new beginning and a new life. A new life that is built one change at a time.
We have seen thousands of food addicts come into our programs hopeless who turned each change they made into exciting lives filled with freedom from obsessing about food.
If nothing changes, nothing changes but if everything changes, everything changes!
Is it okay to feel good when people are suffering?
This is a question we hear from food addicts even when things in the world aren’t as extraordinary as they currently are and the answer then, as now, is the same: YES! It is okay to feel good even though some people are suffering.
Feeling bad doesn’t help to make things better for anyone. Quite the opposite. Feeling good can help others to understand what’s eventually possible for them, offering a way for them to cope better with the events currently taking place in their lives.
When a food addict first enters our programs and meets living examples of people in recovery, they experience hope in a way that they never could otherwise. For the first time in their lives, they understand that it is possible for them to experience freedom from food obsession and feel good.
Seeing others feel good about their lives and their recoveries provides hope to those who are still suffering. It also allows others to understand that food addiction recovery is possible for them, too.
While we cannot ignore the suffering of other people and being insensitive to this suffering can be hurtful, we each must walk our own path and know that we are individuals experiencing what we are meant to at each moment in time. Comparing ourselves to others, or trying to feel bad to join them in their suffering does not serve them or us in any way. It actually increases the suffering in the world rather than offering hope of a time when there won’t be so much pain.
As recovering food addicts, we have more than earned the right to feel good about ourselves. This does not mean we are arrogant or self-righteous but that we recognize our value as human beings, neither above nor below anyone else.
It’s okay to feel good!
Sometimes recovery can be a slog. It can be a difficult and tedious struggle, taking every ounce of energy we have to maintain. There are days when we don’t know how we will make it through without reaching for those foods that once seemed to offer comfort. And this can be even worse during difficult circumstances.
It’s during these times that we need to put one foot in front of the other and focus on where we are. We need to stop thinking about anything else besides getting through the next minute abstinently. While we will need to plan our meals and make sure we have abstinent food, beyond that, we need to focus on today and keep taking one step at a time towards recovery.
We need to stay where our feet are and not get wrapped up in the worries of what will happen tomorrow or how long the events in our lives will last. More than that, we need a laser focus on our recovery, on those things we need to do in order to maintain the progress we’ve made.
We cannot get distracted by world events or wrapped up in fears about what may or may not happen. Recovery needs to be our minute-by-minute, day-by-day priority above every other thing in our lives. Without exception. Period.
When we are able to do this, our lives will change step by step.
While it may not get easier immediately, if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, we will make a solid path to recovery that will eventually make the process easier. Then, before we know it, we will have a life that is beyond our wildest dreams.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter what’s going on!
The closet was small and dark but there was just enough room for a chair and most of all, there was privacy from her family.
For the past three years since treatment, breakfast had been the same. On this day, there would be a different but abstinent protein. The store was out of the regular one.
She couldn’t take it anymore. Her life was out of control and she needed help. But, with most of the nation under stay-at-home orders, what could she do?
These three people have one thing in common – they got creative during extraordinary times and they got or kept recovery.
All across the country, we are hearing from food addicts who are coming up with creative ways to stay in recovery. In the case of the first woman, she needed privacy to attend a virtual Twelve-Step meeting while the second person needed to find a different breakfast protein due to food shortages and the third one attended our first virtual SHiFT To You Intensive last month and is now in recovery.
There’s no denying that times are challenging and it can be easy to think about giving up or putting off recovery. Doing this only adds to our grief and pain intensifying the anxiety and misery we are feeling. We were always willing to go to any lengths to get binge foods. Now, we need to be willing to go to any lengths for recovery.
Not only do sanity and peace of mind depend on staying in recovery but so does our health. In addition to the many health-related problems that come with food addiction such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc., studies have shown that those who are obese are at a much greater risk of contracting and dying from the coronavirus.
Now, more than ever, we all need to be motivated by the three people mentioned above and get creative so that we can get recovery!
Take care of yourself and let us know if you need help!
As we approach a holiday week, we need to acknowledge that though our celebrations this year may be different, they are still important. More than that, we are important. This year, many of us may be alone due to social distancing and quarantines. Or, we may connect with family and friends virtually rather than in person.
Whatever our holidays look like, we need to take time to celebrate those things that are meaningful to us. While it may take a little creativity to shift the holiday activities that we’ve always enjoyed, it is possible to continue with some of the traditions we have come to love.
Now is not the time to throw away those things that are important to us whether they are holiday traditions, people in our lives, or, most especially, our recoveries. Celebrating the holidays, if that’s what we like to do, needs to continue as does our recovery from food addiction.
For many of us when first getting into recovery, re-inventing our holidays so that they didn’t revolve around food presented a special challenge. Now that we’ve done this, we can further re-structure our holidays so that they work for us during this time.
On the other hand, if the upcoming holiday doesn’t mean anything to you then it’s important to acknowledge that as well. No one should be forced to celebrate if that’s not something that matters to them.
The bottom line is that we need to honor ourselves and our lives in a way that works for us and supports our recoveries.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to everyone who chooses to celebrate!