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!
Let’s get moving!!! Tomorrow is National Dance Day! This annual celebration, dedicated to dance, is sponsored by the American Dance Movement an organization that “believes participation in dance connects the mind and body, promotes health and well-being, connects us with others and enables us to find joy through dance and movement.”
For food addicts, finding joy through movement of any kind is a true miracle. Before recovery, most food addicts had limited mobility. In recovery, however, all of that changes. Where once climbing a flight of stairs was a challenge, now so much more is possible.
Have you always wanted to dance but are afraid of what people will think or what you’ll look like? Take a risk. If it feels safer, go into a room by yourself and shut the blinds then put on some music and move your body in a way that feels good. It doesn’t have to be perfect or look beautiful. This is about appreciating your body exactly the way that it is.
Even more important, it’s worth thinking about how amazing the human body is. We regularly see food addicts who once weighed over 300 pounds now restored to total health and fitness after following a food plan for a sustained period of time. Think about where you came from and where you are now. Doesn’t your body deserve appreciation and gratitude for getting you through all of those years while you were in your addiction?
Tomorrow is National Sober Day and we’re proud to take part in “celebrating the sober life and bringing awareness to addiction.” For food addicts, sobriety is often called abstinence but the meaning is the same – abstaining from addictive substances. Food addiction is just like drug and alcohol addiction. Addiction happens when the body has become biochemically dependent on a particular substance and needs that substance in order to function “normally.”
As with all addictions, food addiction is a brain disease. For food addicts, changing what and how we eat takes much more than good intentions, strong will, or even therapy. Once a person is addicted to certain foods, those foods actually change the brain in ways that make abstaining from them very difficult — even for those who desperately want to stop.
In the case of food addiction, the body has become dependent on certain foods or eating behaviors. The most common addictive foods are sugar, flour, high fat, high salt, certain grains, or a combination of these. The most common addictive eating behaviors are bingeing, purging, grazing, and volume eating.
At SHiFT, we know that it’s possible to become and remain sober and abstinent. We’ve helped thousands of food addicts find recovery and watched with great joy as their lives SHiFTed from hopelessness into Sobriety, Hope, Freedom and Transformation.
The best way to celebrate National Sober Day tomorrow is to stay or become abstinent. One day leads to another which turns into long-term sobriety. And that is certainly something worth celebrating!
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