I am a sugar addict. Much like an alcoholic can’t stop at one bottle of beer but will drink until he either finishes the entire six-pack (or passes out); I can’t stop at one cookie, but will eat until I finish the whole box. After years of yo-yo dieting and miserably failing at trying to control this destructive behavior, a few years ago I finally joined Overeaters Anonymous (http://www.oa.org/). It’s a great program and I learned that it’s not about the food at all—it’s about my inability to deal with my own feelings. When I’m stressed, angry, hurt, or scared, I have intense cravings for sugary foods, especially baked goods.
For nearly three years, I didn’t eat any sugar. Then in February of last year, I was dealing with temptation of another kind and I allowed myself to cave in to the sugar cravings. It is now five months later and I am up nine pounds. The majority of my clothes are uncomfortably tight and I am miserable whenever I wear them. I get depressed each morning when getting dressed, having to choose my attire based on what still fits. I have been here so many times in my life and absolutely hate it. Most of all, I hate feeling out of control of my own choices.
People who don’t have addictive tendencies don’t understand this concept, but for anyone who’s dealt with compulsive behavior, you know it far too well. If I’m halfway through a glass of wine or a margarita and I start feeling woozy, I will not finish it, no matter how much I paid. That feeling never comes when I’m eating sugar. The only thing that stops me is knowing that others are watching and must be horrified at what a pig I am making of myself. Then I will begin concocting plans to eat more without anyone seeing me. This is not the thought pattern of a healthy person; it is the thinking of an addict.
Mornings go well and I generally make great choices. I start by going to the gym or running, then I have a healthy protein drink. Lunch isn’t too bad, but after that, I begin to unravel. I’ve trained myself to choose wisely when I’m doing the weekly shopping, but lately I’ve been allowing myself to make special trips to the store for my drug of choice:
Thanks to OA, I know how to deal with this behavior. I can go to phone meetings that are held throughout the day, I can read the book of meditations or the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, I can call someone I used to know when I was involved in the program, and I can start keeping a food journal and send it each day to someone who knows what’s going on with me. Unfortunately, for the last five months, I have felt this rebellion welling up inside of me. I know it’s good for me and it was incredibly effective in keeping me from my crazy binge-eating behavior, but the addict inside of me just doesn’t want to do it.
It is morning now and, as usual, I am making good choices. I have asked a good friend to start receiving my food journal at the end of each day. Today, I am committing to be abstinent from binge eating. Today, I am committing to sending a log of everything that goes in my mouth to a friend who will hold me accountable. Today, I promise myself that I will behave in ways that show love for my body. Today, I will turn to God with my troubles including all those feelings that I don’t want to deal with.
Today, I will make wise choices and behave in a way that will make me proud of myself by day’s end.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” — Matthew 6:34 NAS
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