Before recovery, most food addicts were overwhelmed by thoughts of food and eating. Entire days were lost to thinking about bingeing. In recovery, food addicts almost always discover that they have a lot more free time. While some of this time is used to create new behaviors – attending support group meetings, preparing and shopping for abstinent food and things like that – there’s also more free time for connecting with friends and loved ones.
For me, that means spending more time with my niece Georgia – that’s us together in the photo above. Not only do I appreciate being with her even more now that I’m abstinent, more importantly, I can be present in her life. Once in recovery, many food addicts discover that even though they were physically next to a person, they were so preoccupied with thinking about food when they were in their disease that they were unable to spend quality time with anyone.
Being present in someone’s life can be something as simple as listening rather than thinking about what you’ll say next or letting things happen spontaneously in the moment rather than trying to control them.
This upcoming week, take a few minutes to practice being present in life, first with yourself then with your loved ones. Enjoy the good feelings that come with that!
I’m thinking about beauty this week…and I don’t mean the physical appearance type. I mean the beauty that takes place in nature at this time of the year. I recently returned home to Vancouver after being away at our Orlando Acorn Primary Intensive and I was once again reminded of how beautiful this time of the year is. As you can see from the pictures I took above…this is what my street looks like right now..stunning!
Before recovery, most food addicts never took the time to appreciate nature or the beauty around them. Instead, each and every minute was filled with overwhelming thoughts about food. No matter how hard food addicts try or how much willpower they think they have, the obsession with food is always stronger.
Add to this, the physical addiction to sugar, flour, high fat, high salt, certain grains, or a combination of these, and it’s easy to see why it’s just not possible for a food addict to think about anything besides eating and food.
Once in recovery, food addicts are able to look around and appreciate the beauty in their lives. For many, connecting with nature provides a sense of peace and serenity that is unlike any other.
So, take a few minutes today to stand outside and breathe in the beauty around you! I know I’m going to!
Thursday, October 31st in both the U.S. and Canada, many people will celebrate Halloween. Traditionally, on the evening of this day, children go door to door dressed in costumes “trick or treating” to ask for candy.
Before recovery, buying candy for trick or treaters was one of many excuses food addicts used to binge. Many food addicts shopped for candy weeks before Halloween only to eat what was reserved as “treats” themselves. This meant buying more candy the next day and for some repeating this cycle many times before Halloween.
Once in recovery, food addicts learn that they have choices, one of which is whether or not to even take part in a holiday. The first step in making this decision is always to talk with a sponsor or professional who can help you to understand the best way for you to stay abstinent during what others may consider a special day.
Food addicts in recovery learn not to give too much importance to any one day especially if there is a danger of bingeing. Some food addicts are able to participate in holidays and if you’re one of these then it’s important to plan out how to stay abstinent.
For example, an Abstinent Halloween may mean handing out glow sticks, pencils, glider airplanes, stickers, bubbles, yoyos or bookmarks instead of candy. Or, it may mean forgoing the trick or treaters to celebrate in another way, perhaps watching a horror movie with a friend or curling up with a scary book. For me, celebrating Halloween means spending time with my niece Georgia (on the left sporting one of her many princess costumes.)
Whatever you decide, it’s important to stay true to what you need to remain abstinent.
October is National Wellness Month, a time to take inventory of our stress levels. While this is important for anyone, it’s especially crucial that food addicts in recovery learn to manage their stress. Stress is one of the biggest causes of relapse. This can be stress from financial situations, relationship issues, or work problems, among other things.
Before recovery, most food addicts managed their stress by overeating, which in turn created more stress both physically and emotionally. In recovery, managing stress is one of the life-skills that food addicts need to learn.
There’s plenty of information out there about how to manage stress – yoga, meditation, deep breathing, exercising, journaling, etc. Food addicts in recovery, however, have an amazing way to deal with their stress that they may not think about as a stress reducer – support from other food addicts.
Whether it’s going to a meeting, talking to a sponsor or fellow food addict in recovery or a professional, support from other food addicts is one of the greatest gifts ever. No matter how close a food addict is to someone, no one understands the feelings and emotions that go with this disease in the way another food addict does.
So, grab another food addict to talk or go to a meeting or contact your therapist and stress less this month!
October is National Cookbook Month and we’re celebrating by announcing that we will be publishing a SHiFT – Recovery by Acorn Cookbook in November! All proceeds from the cookbook will go to benefit the SHiFT Scholarship Fund to help food addicts find recovery.
In addition to purchasing a cookbook when it’s available, you can help by contributing an abstinent recipe. The recipe must follow the Acorn Food Plan and we will give credit to anyone who shares a recipe.
We are super excited about this project and believe that it will help many food addicts to sustain and find recovery. Enjoying your food in recovery is important for long-term abstinence. The recipes in this book will help recovering food addicts to experience variety while still following a nonaddictive food plan.
I’m thinking about miracles this week! With our Acorn Intensive in Florida staring on October 11 and the one in Vancouver just recently over, I’ve been even more aware than usual of the miracles that happen in early recovery. I am truly honored to see miracles every day but they are especially obvious when I watch how much food addicts change during our week-long programs.
For example, the biggest miracle most food addicts experience when they come to our Intensives is a profound sense of relief. With all of the confusing information about weight loss out there, they believe they are weak and lacking willpower. It’s an enormous relief for them to discover that there’s a physical reason for the overwhelming desire to eat they experience.
Along with this, another miracle we see is genuine gratitude that there is a solution to this life-long issue. Usually by the time they come to us, most food addicts have tried too many weight-loss programs for them to even remember. They are completely defeated and have given up all hope of ever having a different life. Our program is the last chance and for some, the last option before taking drastic action to end their lives.
To see people who once had no hope whatsoever SHiFT into genuine joy and gratitude is the greatest miracle I have ever experienced. This SHiFT into Sobriety, Hope, Freedom, and Transformation is usually profound and swift.
Take a few minutes today to think about the miracles in your life. I know you won’t be sorry you did!
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