Halloween is the start of many other joyous holidays to come. I’ve heard in the rooms that the holidays can be a triggering time for some addicts and alcoholics. For the Food Addict, it is a time of year where our program is tested the most.
I celebrated my birthday at Turning Point a few months back, and someone asked me if I was going to eat cake on my birthday. I answered no, I was on a food plan. The person asked if I missed eating sweets or had any desire to eat cake on my birthday. Theoretically, maybe; but I know where it leads every time. For me, I cannot eat a piece of cake, or for Halloween, a piece of candy. The ingredients in that cake or candy have such a power over me that it is unexplainable to most normal people. I will either eat more, starve myself for weeks to punish myself, or purge it. The result is the same though; an unexplainable amount of self-loathing that would be sufficient to last a lifetime.
The Big Book describes alcoholics seeing others drink normally with impunity, and I have absolutely felt that way watching people eat candy or other things during the holidays. Sometimes it still baffles me to watch others eat normally when eating is such a huge deal to me. Or it was. Through OA, Turning Point, and with the help and guidance of Registered Dietician, Lori Herold, I was able to receive a meal plan that was designed for my body to where I do not have physical cravings. Today, I eat a meal and don’t think about food until it is time for my next meal. When I got abstinent, I could not imagine going through Halloween, Thanksgiving, or birthdays without sweets because it was “normal” to do that on those occasions. I can tell you though that it is possible… or at least in my experience… it is possible. I can also tell you that, in my years of compulsive dieting, I definitely was not eating candy on Halloween or anything for that matter.
Now when I have cravings, I put a lot of trust in my meal plan. I know that my meal plan is designed to give me the amount of nutrients I need and not make me too full or too hungry. Everything is just right. If I trust my meal plan and trust my nutritionist, there usually is not a need to eat outside of my meal plan. Hunger can arise during these times, but I have learned the difference between physical hunger and emotional hunger.
If I were to create a perfect answer, because I am a perfectionist, I would say that acceptance is key. Today I accept that I am a food addict and when I eat certain things, I behave in self-destructive and dangerous ways. Today I accept that I am powerless over certain foods, and that in order to survive I must abstain from them because it is a matter of life or death for me. Today I know that I have an obsession over food and over my body that only God can remove. When I obsess and watch others with impunity while eating that one piece of candy, I ask God to remove those obsessions and negative feelings from me. This frees me of self and allows me to be of service to others.