Christian Singles: Which One Are You?

As I see it, singles fit into 3 categories:

  1. Those who don’t want to be in a relationship.
  2. Those who do want to be in a relationship.
  3. Those who don’t care one way or the other.

Looking at the first category of singles:

  1. Those who don’t want to be in a relationship.

This often happens when you are still struggling from the last relationship. You might be dealing with feelings of loss, sorrow, regret, anger and bitterness.  If that’s you, I commend you for not dating while you’re in this difficult state of mind and heart. I would encourage you to spend some time reflecting on your contribution to the problem.  If you think it was 0% your fault, I guarantee you are wrong.  After all, you picked this person.  Why did you pick him or her?  Self-honesty will be essential.

There are some great books that can help you with this.  I encourage you to investigate a 12-Step program or find a therapist to work through some of these issues. It’s not going away on its own.  It doesn’t make you weak or stupid if you ask for help.  On the contrary—seeking guidance can be one of the wisest things you can do to heal the feelings that bring you down.

If you think no one else is being affected by your negativity, you’re wrong. Ask for help.  It’s the fastest way to get out of the kettle you’re stewing in.

  1. Those who DO want to be in a relationship.

These folks are often frustrated with their singleness. They can spend a lot of time talking to God and each other about this dilemma. If you want to be in a relationship but it’s just not happening on your preferred time frame, there could be several reasons why.

Perhaps the problem is that your system isn’t working.  That’s the solution most look at first. They try online dating or another singles Meetup group.  Maybe they need to lose some weight or do something to their appearance.  Maybe they need to stop chasing women half their age or refusing to date men who aren’t earning six figures. Maybe. That’s a valid possibility. It’s definitely something to pray about and ask your close friends for input. Make sure you give them permission to give you the potentially brutal truth.

Then again, maybe  it’s God’s timing. You might be just where you need to be. You’ve worked through your past hurts and you’re really connecting with God these days. Those who know you well would agree—you are mentally, physically, spiritually and financially healthy these days. So it really chaps your hide when people ask “So why are you still single?” Good question.

What if you’re still single because God has someone specific in mind for you? Someone who is a really good fit. What if this person is not ready to be in a healthy relationship with you? What if he or she is going through the agony of losing a spouse to cancer? What if he or she is in the midst of a very messy divorce?  What if it is in God’s loving mercy that He is preventing you from meeting each other right now?  Will you turn this struggle over to God and trust that He has your best interest at heart?

The last and darkest possibility is that there is something in your life that is preventing you from being in a healthy relationship. Do you struggle with addiction? Do you turn to alcohol, food, pornography, gaming or drugs when life doesn’t go your way?  Are you drowning in debt?  Do you experience conflict on a daily basis? Are you stomping your feet at God, insisting that you’re not going to give up your dark indulgences or destructive behaviors until He brings you a spouse?

This is a tragically common scenario. When we are hurting and lonely, we want someone to comfort us and tell us that we are not the problem. Unfortunately, we are usually at least part of the problem. Even if it’s only 10%, we are the only part of the problem we can control.

Often God chooses to wait us out, refusing to give in to our demands until we relinquish that dark part of our hearts that we are holding back from Him. If there’s any possibility that you could fall into that last category, I urge you to go to God in prayer over the course of at least a month. Ask God if there is anything in your spirit that He wants to heal or remove.  Ask for His help to do this. It’s hard, and you won’t be able to do it without His help. 12-Step programs can help, and so can a good therapist. It can be scary and painful, but you will also feel incredibly transformed when you are free of this burden.

3.  Those who don’t care one way or the other.

There are some who say that they don’t care one way or the other.  Sometimes this is true because they are so busy with family, friends, work, and volunteering that they really don’t miss having a romantic interest 90% or more of the time. There are others who have come to a place in their walk with Christ that allows them to have peace regardless of their marital status. They truly never find themselves wishing that they had a spouse.  They are completely contented to be single for the rest of their lives.

Then there are those who SAY that they don’t care, but what they really mean is that ultimately, they wish they could be in a really healthy marriage with another devoted Christ-follower, but unless that shows up on their door, they are not pressing the issue. They have turned these desires over to God. It took me about seven years to get to the place where I was more or less content to be single indefinitely. Even then, there was an underlying sadness in my heart that I didn’t have a partner.

If God has given you the freedom of bliss in truly not caring about being in a loving, committed, and sexual relationship (AKA marriage), that is truly the GIFT of singleness. God did not create most of us to be that way.  It’s a natural desire to have that deepest level of intimacy with another and disappointing when we can’t connect in that way. So what are you supposed to do if you’ve gotten your life in order and you’re still single?

Be still and know that He is God.

I know it sounds trite.  I know it’s not a satisfying answer. But it is the truth. Last year, I had two girlfriends who (along with me) decided that we would rather be single forever than subject ourselves to any more unsatisfying and limited relationships with the selfish and damaged men we had been meeting. We talked about our regret that we had much to give, but no one to whom we wanted to give it.

We began restructuring our lives in the most positive ways to reflect our change in attitude. While our deepest desire was to have a partner, we agreed that we’d rather go solo for the rest of our time here on Earth rather than to have to choose between integrity with God and keeping a man around.  We quit opening ourselves up (and dropping our standards), hoping that “maybe this one will be different.” We made more conscious effort to invest in our girlfriends. We decided to be happy where we were, and to quit putting off anything for “when/if we were married”. We travelled with our girlfriends, bought property, created new holiday traditions, etc. We invested time we would have spent with a love interest with each other, and that created deeper friendships which led to deeper joy.

The result was that we began finding community, companionship, contentment and peace. When we felt sad about our singleness, we took our feelings and complaints to God, who comforted us. Things really got much, much better for all three of us. Nothing else had changed—just our attitudes.

Then one day, M. had a call from an old boyfriend who had moved out of state over two years earlier to tell her he was moving back.  T. had a virtually dead eHarm.ny account, and out of the blue, she decided to contact a gentleman. Last of all, I suddenly found a long-time, dear friend surprisingly attractive.  Long story short, six months later, we all became engaged and two of us are now actually married.

Me and my dear friend and now husband, Jim.

Me and my dear friend (and now husband), Jim.

This is not to say that HORRIBLE cliché, “when you quit looking for it, that’s when it will happen”. I want to pinch people who say that. My point is that we had all come to the place where we had genuinely turned the internal battle over to Christ. Not just in WORD, but in DEED. We had quit hanging our happiness on a circumstance we could not control, and we found joy.  THEN we found romance.

So to recap, singles fit into 3 categories.

  1. If you don’t want to be in a relationship right now because you’re healing from the last one, please get some help (book/12-step program/counseling/etc).
  2. If you DO want to be in a relationship and it’s just not happening, take your frustration to God and ask for some insight. Ask an honest friend, too. Make adjustments if needed.
  3. If you are a bit ambivalent about dating in general, congratulations. When you can truly release the outcome to God, you’ll be a whole lot happier.
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The Nice Guy Test

Every time I hear a man moan about women not liking “nice guys” I want to say something, but usually don’t. Today I’m going to say it.

Dear Nice Guys,

I know you are frustrated that women don’t find you attractive and you love to say that it’s because we like “bad boys.” That’s a convenient mantra, but I’m throwing the b.s. flag on that play.  I consistently find four reasons why “Nice Guys” stay single.  The test at the bottom will help you figure out which category suits you.

The “Mr. Rogers” Nice Guy

The world's most famous Nice Guy

The world’s most famous Nice Guy

There is no disputing it: you ARE a really nice guy. Unfortunately, if I were to match you with a woman who is the same age as you, equally attractive, with an equivalent (often very introverted) personality, I’m betting that you would be mortified at the thought of dating her. You would tell me that you’re “just not attracted to her.”  The woman you want is typically younger and more attractive than you.  She often has a sparkling, outgoing personality and there are usually many men who are interested in her. You can’t compete with those guys, so she puts you in the “friend” zone.

The “Joey Tribiani” Nice Guy

The cute Nice Guy who is marginally employed.

The cute Nice Guy who is marginally employed.

I sometimes see very nice men who struggle to support themselves.  At midlife, they are just squeaking by, and often require the help of friends and/or relatives to do so. He has many good reasons for this, and more than once I’ve heard that it’s not his fault. If he’s rejected by a woman, he claims it’s because women are so materialistic. Of course, the women he finds attractive are usually fairly financially secure and at a good place in their careers.  Funny how it works that way.

The “Ted Baxter” “Nice Guy”

Anchorman Ted Baxter from the Mary Tyler Moore Show

Anchorman Ted Baxter from the Mary Tyler Moore Show: “Lou, women should LOVE me.  I mean, LOOK AT ME.”

I’ve met many men who think of themselves as great guys. They are financially and physically fit, and attractive, too. They can’t figure out why women aren’t interested in them.  They claim it must be because they are “too nice.” Here’s the truth of it: we see something really upsetting in your personality.  We sense your deep anger issues, massive ego, or figure out that you have a tiny, hard little heart that demands much and loves little.  We figure out that you are selfish and unkind and we won’t stay with you.  But you refuse to see that about yourself, so you just call us all crazy or say that we only want “bad boys” or claim that we want someone richer.

The “White Knight” Nice Guy

I'm a huge fan of chivalry, but are ALL your ex-girlfriends a mess?

I’m a huge fan of chivalry, but are ALL your ex-girlfriends a mess?

I do know some nice guys who are attracted to women who are in many ways a good match for them.  The relationships work for a while, but eventually fall apart. Why? Because she’s a damsel in perpetual distress. She might be a great gal in many ways, but before too long, her alcoholism begins to create problems. Or perhaps she’s a single mom with a psychotic ex (or family member) who has a way of continually damaging her life. Or she’s really smart and capable, but (emotionally) severely damaged. He invests years into a relationship with a woman who will never be fully able to love him in return, yet he feels guilty about leaving.

Nice Guys: do you want to be “right,” or do you want to be in a great relationship with a woman who accepts and loves you? Find a few women who you can trust to be honest with you and try the following exercises:

#1: Have them go to a dating website and select 10 women they think would be an equal match based on looks, personality, and other data listed in the profile. Would you date those women? I did this exercise with a friend of mine, and he decided to give up dating rather than date women who were in his “range.”

#2: Look at your financial and living situation.  Would you be excited about dating a woman who is in the same position and for the same length of time?

#3: Without telling them WHY they are doing this exercise, ask your female friends (NOT your mom) to put the following positive character traits in order from the most descriptive (1) to the least descriptive (10) of you:

  • Handsome
  • Kind
  • Successful
  • Generous
  • Intelligent
  • Thoughtful
  • Frugal
  • Hard-working
  • Loving
  • Strong
  • Decisive
  • Loyal

If “kind, generous, thoughtful, loving, loyal” are at the bottom of the list, you may be a great guy in your own mind, but to the women you seek to attract? You’re kind of an ass.

#4: Ask friends who have known your exes to review your last 10 years of relationships. What do your friends see as the reason these relationships ended? Was it because of her infidelity, instability or addiction?

Do you want better results? Get some honest women to help you figure it out. Or you can just “Be Right” in your own head and continue to blame all of us shallow women who only like bad boys.

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Falling in Love With Doctor Who

I watched Dr. Who on PBS once in the 80’s.

This is what Doctor Who looked like in the 80's. No wonder I had no interest in the show!

This is what Doctor Who looked like in the 80’s: Columbo’s creepy cousin and a Will Ferrell SNL sketch, only without the funny parts.

It was so painfully lame, couldn’t get through the entire episode.

Thirty years later, I decided to give it another shot. “Season 1” (according to Amazon Prime; the show actually started back in 1963) with Chris Eccleston surprised me, and by the end of “Season 2” I found myself falling in love with the Doctor. For those who are not total geeks, consider my reasoning:

  1.  The Doctor is brilliant, and I find intelligence incredibly sexy.
  2. The Doctor is extremely capable.  No matter what the Universe throws at him, he can figure out a way to make it all work out and get himself (and usually his companions) to safety. I also find this intoxicatingly sexy. 
  3. The Doctor is a man of integrity.  Even when it rips his heart out or threatens his life, he does the honorable thing.  Rarely (The Waters of Mars, in particular) does he violate his own code of ethics and do what could potentially hurt others. This makes him trustworthy in my book.
  4. He is a man of action, curiosity, and eternal optimism. He is a leader. Dr. Who never spends an episode in his sweats, watching football or playing World of Warcraft.  He never tells his companion, “You are overreacting and the Earth will be just fine. Now move!  You’re blocking the T.V.!” 

    I almost want to cry, just looking at this picture of David Tennant in "The Waters of Mars."

    Just looking at David Tennant in “The Waters of Mars” makes me want to cry

  5. The Doctor is a man of deep feelings, though he does have a hard time conveying it with words.  David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) does such an amazing job of conveying these feelings with his facial expressions alone.

Here is the inherent flaw that comes with loving or traveling with Dr. Who:

David Tennant as Dr. Who, standing in the rain after returning his memory-deleted companion, Donna, to her grandfather.

David Tennant as Dr. Who. I would have shown happy photos too, but they aren’t as poignant

Time Lords are nearly immortal, so they age at an excruciatingly slow rate. Companions can only be with him for a little while. Even if she doesn’t get killed, mind-warped or sucked into a parallel universe, she will eventually grow old and die. She is destined to leave him, and the more he loves her, the more it will hurt when it’s time to say good-bye. The relationship is always doomed to fail.  This is what hooked me.

I give an A+ to writer Russell Davies for the way he handled the end of Rose Tyler in “Journey’s End.”  SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read this if you haven’t watched it yet! Davies did what we all long to do when we realize that someone we love is inherently flawed.  He created a way to remove just that one aspect that makes it impossible for Rose and The Doctor to be happy together.  Then he leaves them in peace in the alternate Universe without a Tardis.  Rose gets to have what so many of us deeply crave: to have the one we love without having the critical flaw that makes living with/loving him (or her) insurmountable.

What if we could take the person we loved most and removed the fatal flaw?  Imagine him without the addiction or her without the insanity.  Imagine being able to remove the anger or depression or compulsive behavior from the person you loved so deeply it nearly crushed you.

Of course, I can’t.  This is why I have become so attached to Doctor Who.  I, too, feel alone in the Universe, continually struggling to do the right thing.  I long for adventure with a companion upon whom I can depend, trust implicitly, knows me intimately, and stays with me forever.

Isn’t that what we all want?

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus is now available at Amazon.com. Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!

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Feminism vs. Biology: Smackdown

I am a child of the late 70’s.  Watching my extremely traditional (child of the 40’s) mother get walked on routinely by my father hammered home the point being made by pop culture in those years: The only way a woman gets respect is to behave like a man. I took this to mean that I was to be aggressive, sexually frivolous, and earn as much money as possible. Being vulnerable was the ultimate faux pas.

On the other hand, while I despised the fact that my Mom didn’t seem to get a vote in our home (our world revolved around my father and his word was ultimate), she was and is an amazing human being with the most remarkable capacity for love I have ever known. She made me (and so many others who have been blessed to know her) feel incredibly valued and loved.  At the age of nine, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior (in a very sexist church) and began reading scripture on my own as a teenager.  All of this added another confusing layer to my understanding of who I would be expected to be once I reached adulthood. In my 30’s I finally got this all straightened out, but during my adolescence, it certainly contributed to my brewing hostility toward “traditional” gender roles.

Be tough!  Be strong!  You don't need anyone!

Be tough! Be strong! You don’t need anyone!

There are now more women than men enrolled in college, and women are increasingly becoming the primary wage earners in the family.  We have been taught to be strong, and to demand what we want.  Yet there is a powerful undertow we are trained to ignore that desires a relationship where we can be vulnerable and feel protected.

At the same time, men were taught that to be loved, they must be docile, “good little boys” who wait for mommy to fight the battles and solve the problems.  This goes against their biological drive, as well. A boy in today’s public school system can be expelled for defending himself from a bully.  He learns that he is not to fight back.  After suffering the initial humiliation of getting beaten up, he is taught to wait for his mommy to “follow proper procedure” with the authorities.

What a cutie you are!  Good boy!

What a cutie you are! Good boy!

The complaint I hear most from men about single women is that we are hard and controlling.  The complaint I hear most from single women regarding eligible bachelors is that they are weak and passive. Culture pressures us to override the best of our gender’s natural inclinations in order to embrace the very worst exhibited in the opposite sex.  It is madness, and it is creating misery in the singles community.

Many men complain that women only want “bad boys,” when the truth is that we want men who take the lead, and are confident and assertive.  Yet these are exactly the traits they were raised to think were bad and would result in them being punished.  When they behaved in a confident, chivalrous way around masculine women, they were scolded. If they met a woman who interested them, they were hesitant to take the lead and pursue her for fear of being accused of harassment.

Women often think that men only want “bad girls” when the truth is that when a man is looking for a wife, he wants a woman who is (sexually) extremely cautious. Yet everywhere we look, we see that the women who get the most attention are those who dress and behave in a sexually provocative way. When we took a stand for sexual purity, the objects of our affection usually vanished. If we’re going to being single for any length of time, we’d better be pretty capable of protecting and providing for ourselves.

So much of our behavior is driven by our perceptions of what the opposite sex expects of us, yet our perceptions are far off the mark.  Yes, there are women who want passive men over whom they can rule, though she may say that she wants him to be her “partner.”  Yes, there are men trawling for consistent hook-up sex who have no interest in anything more, though they will probably lie about their intentions.  If we cave in to the pressure of these skewed beliefs, then we will only see that which we expect to find.  When we make the decision to exhibit the very best natural attributes our genders have to offer and refuse to settle for any less in the opposite sex, we will begin to see more of that as well.

When we behave honorably, we can be honest with ourselves and others about our true desires. When we make the commitment to serve God and our higher natures, we will find greater satisfaction in our romantic relationships.

I’ll be writing more about what this looks like in the real world in blogs to come.

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus is now available at Amazon.com:   Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!

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Litter Bug

I am very blessed to live in a nice middle class neighborhood with a great trail system, which I run twice a week.  I run past a small marsh, thick with cattails where the redwinged blackbirds like to perch.  The trail then curves up through natural grass, dotted with native shrubs where the bunnies scatter, distracting my dog from our mission.  We continue toward a small park where I often hear the squeals of happy children.  Then my dog and I turn left and run beside a field thick with alfalfa, bumble bees busy on the rich, purple blooms.  This leads me to the small lake where many others are also running or walking with dogs and friends.  One lap of the lake and we return by the path that brought us.

This is the view I enjoy on my morning run.

This is the view I enjoy on my morning run.

This run is good for my body and my soul.  It helps reduce my stress levels and gives me time to soak in the beauty God created for us all to enjoy.  I deeply breathe in the scent of whatever is in bloom at the time, whether it be crabapples, lilacs, alfalfa, or Russian olives.  From the dam, there is a stunning view of the front range fringed with the ancient cottonwood trees billowing green below.

The one sadness I experience on my run is the volume of garbage that litters my beautiful trail.  A little is to be expected as toddlers pitch empty baggies and juice boxes from strollers, used tissues fall from pockets and empty chip bags sometimes blow out of park trash cans. But where the garbage is most prevalent is nearest the road, not far from the Taco Bell.  Here I find a plethora of fast food wrappers and mashed cups, smashed cigarette boxes and booze bottles.

The first few times I ran, this sight brought all sorts of judgmental thoughts to my mind of reckless kids from our neighborhood, sneaking away from home or school to smoke weed, get drunk, and binge on burritos in the low areas of this beautiful place.  I’ve seen them doing it. I also thought critically about the parents of these kids.  This really marred the emotional benefit of my run, especially since the litter was most visible as I was nearing my home.

After a couple of weeks, I decided to take a different approach.  Instead of focusing on WHO did this and WHAT should be done about it and WHO should be held responsible, I decided to quit thinking pointless, negative and judgmental thoughts and instead, to just do something about it.  Since I always bring a little bag to clean up after my dog, I decided to start bringing a bigger bag and fill it up at the end of each run.  I’ve also considered sending an email to Taco Bell headquarters and let them know that 75% of the litter on our beautiful path has the Taco Bell logo on it. Perhaps they will start sending employees out to pick it up at the end of each shift.  Maybe not, but it’s certainly worth asking.

It’s been a couple of months of my new ritual. The trail continues to get littered, but I’m proud of myself for getting in the game instead of just complaining about it. I no longer feel as angry at the end of my run.  I imagine other single parents (like me) who struggle much more than I do. Maybe they work two jobs and can’t be home as much to teach the kids good manners.  Maybe they are diligent parents but the kid is rebellious. I decide to give them the benefit of the doubt. They are doing the best they can and the kids are temporarily knuckle heads just like I was as a teenager, but in different ways.

Picking up a bag of trash takes an extra 30 seconds out of my day and when I see my neighbors on the path, they smile at me with appreciation.  Perhaps one day they will bend over and pick up a bit themselves. Regardless, I am setting a positive example and making a small difference. I am proud of who I have chosen to be in this world.

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus is now available at Amazon.com:   Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!

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Camping with a Hyperactive, Guilt-Prone Brain

I love the idea of camping more than I actually enjoy the process itself.  As a kid, it was completely awesome because my parents did all the work; I just played in the river and ran around in the woods.  Now that I’m an adult, I have come to see that there’s a whooole lot of preparation involved to get to the place where you can just relax and enjoy it.  The day before the trip, I was totally stressed out.

I got there early and secured our favorite campsite not far from the Vail valley. I pitched my tent, settled the dogs and cut the firewood. I was just sitting down to rest when the others began to arrive. Friday evening, we had a great fire complete with wine, steaks and grilled vegetables. The stars were out and it was just beautiful.

Relaxing in the riverSaturday morning, most of us went for a hike I’ve always wanted to do:  Hanging Lake. We came back to camp around 1:00, and pulled our chairs down to the shady river’s edge. We had a great time relaxing as we dipped our toes in the icy water and sipped wine.  After a couple of hours, someone suggested another short hike. I really wanted to stay at camp and do absolutely nothing, but felt weirdly guilt about not going. I jumped in the truck with the others.

By the time we arrived at the trail head, we could see the gray clouds beginning to form in the west. In Colorado, storms can move quickly, but after driving 20 minutes up the steep and winding road, we were committed.  Half an hour into our hike, the clouds were black.  We turned back, and had just gotten in the car when it began to pour. It was then that I realized that David had driven into town and only Stacey had been left at camp. We’d left her alone to deal with battening down the hatches before the downpour.

Stacey is incredibly competent and responsible. I had no doubt that she would be able to handle it, but I felt terrible for leaving it all to her.  Fortunately, David hadn’t gone to town after all and he’d been able to help out. They’d done a great job, so we grabbed some goodies and headed for shelter.

"Uh-oh. I think we have a leak."  "It's okay!  We have tequila!"

“Uh-oh. I think we have a leak.”
“It’s okay! We have tequila!”

We had the best happy hour in my tent there beside the river, in the pouring rain.

It was crowded and smelled like wet dogs, but we had a great time swapping stories and laughing about our dysfunctional childhoods.

It didn’t stop raining until 8:00, and we didn’t eat until 10:00.  That was a drag and I will definitely plan better in the future.  Cleaning up in the muddy, pitch black night was definitely the low point of the trip.  It rained all night and was still lightly misting when we woke the next morning.  Stacey taught me how to get a fire started in the rain and we warmed ourselves for a while before packing up for home.

One of the things I like about my girlfriends is that we all bring different qualities and experiences to the party.  I always learn something. This time I definitely learned that less stuff is more fun.  I also learned that more planning is less stress. Next time, I’m going to coordinate the food better so there’s not so much redundancy and we can team up for cooking, cleaning and fire duties. I’ve decided to adopt a new rule: whoever is cooking dinner can’t leave for a hike after 2:00 in the afternoon. I think that will give my hyperactive brain an adequate excuse to lay by the river and do absolutely nothing all afternoon. Who wants to join me?

My book, Dating, Sex, & Jesus is now available at Amazon.com:   Please “like” the Dating, Sex, & Jesus Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DatingandJesus for fun and interesting content and book excerpts in your feed. Thanks!

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Off the Wagon

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:

My kryptonite

My kryptonite

Lofthouse cookies. Heaven help me if I get home hungry and there’s a box on the counter.  Forget about making dinner—I’m mowing them down right now.

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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