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Living an Abstinent Life through Halloween and the Holidays by Shanni B.

Living an Abstinent Life through Halloween and the Holidays by Shanni B.

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.


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