31 Days Sugar Sober Recap (Get caught up on the whole series in under 10 minutes)

sugarsoberoctober

I have been so very blessed by those who stuck with me on this 31-Day blogging and Sugar Sober journey. If you’d like to read in more detail, the links to all the full posts are below.

But I’m also including a highlight from each day, so you can travel with me through 31 days in about 10 minutes.

Intro: The WHY behind this series: BE SOBER. There was no question what He was telling me. That my life, my purpose, my calling could go no further until the chains of addition were broken. That they forever would hold me back from reaching anything more. That already, imprisonment to my flesh had kept opportunities and relationships from becoming all that He intended. And my addiction is food.

Day 1: Beginning Again. Again.: There is a Chinese Proverb that says: “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now. I wish I could say that I got free from sugar and other addicting food habits 20 years ago. But I didn’t. So all I have is now.

Day 2: Ground Rules.: Sugar Sobriety, to me, means eliminating sweets, desserts, sweet tea, sugared drinks, donuts, anything frosted/glazed/sprinkled, sugared additives like chocolate syrup or sugar in coffee.If you are joining me on this journey, and you feel directed to make a different choice, that’s great. There are many paths up the same mountain, my friend.

Day 3: The Secrets We Keep.: Sometimes light creeps in little by little, so we can adjust. But sometimes it just blows the lid of the darkness and exposes everything all at once. Committing to this journey and the blogging of it feels a little like both. Everyone near me now knows Sugar is off the table for me. But the mustiness that lies deeper is getting the light one layer at a time.

Day 4: This Isn’t My First Sober Rodeo.: In the past, I would approach chips, or bread, or sweets, or a menu, or any other temptation of the moment as a “I can’t have that” … as if some food policeman was going to haul me to jail for breaking a rule someone else set for me. Frankly, having some other force tell me what I can and can’t eat just makes me want to give them the finger and eat an entire pizza. That’ll show them!! But what I realized over the last few days is that I HAVE A CHOICE! I don’t have to give my power to a list of Eat and Don’t Eat foods. I don’t have to give my power to what other people order and encourage me to eat. I get to decide what I want to put in my body and what I don’t.

Day 5: Resetting Your Taste Buds.: Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (Psalm 34:8,10)

Day 6: Saying “No” to What Holds Me Back; Making Room for a Better “Yes”.: I am finding, however, that every “No, Thank you” builds my muscle against the next challenge. Plus, I’ve had plenty of time for Yes, as well. Yes to feeling hungry and not having to fill it at all costs. Yes to feeling full and stopping without cleaning the plate. Yes to the quiet reconnection of my body and my soul.

Day 7: Tuesdays are Ok for Do-Overs, Too.: I wish I could tell you I made a healthy lunch choice. But I didn’t. I even upsized. And it wasn’t anything close to worth it. Maybe for Monday it’s enough to have noticed the way the enemy attacked. Scratched, but not fatally wounded, on Tuesday I will be better prepared for the battle.

Day 8: If it’s Worth Eating, It’s Worth Tasting.: Perhaps one of the biggest wastes in regards to the volumes of food I sometimes consume is that I don’t taste most of it.

Day 9: Pause. And Breathe.: I think rest’s an important part in the process. Giving my mind and soul a moment to rest and clear some of the clutter that can occur with an overabundance of information — no matter how good and purposeful it might be.

Day 10: Let’s Be Honest. This is Hard!!: And it will be hard. And you will wish it didn’t have to be this way. And you may even question if it’s worth it. And in some moments your honest assessment will be “No, it doesn’t feel worth it.” And you will think that breaking into a million pieces seems like a very strange way to make your life whole. But so many who have walked this before assure you it’s the only way. That letting go of yourself is the only way to find yourself again.

Day 11: Making Peace with the Word “Addict”: And when I finally came to terms with the truth that if I used cocaine or heroin in the same way I crave and consume food, that I would likely be one of those folks with sunken eyes, a destroyed marriage, and few job opportunities, I considered that perhaps Addict and Sober WERE appropriate and NECESSARY words for me as well.

Day 12: For When the First Tear Falls: Like Lazarus, I have been dead inside. Like Mary & Martha I have asked the Jesus weeping at my tomb of my heart, “Is it not too late? I have already begun to stink. This will be messy business.” And, like Lazarus, He calls me by name. Beth, Come Out. So I start to emerge from my stupor. Staggering, still unsteady, towards recovery.

Day 13: The Gift of Daily Bread.: Daily bread. Today enough for today. Remembering yesterday He gave me enough for yesterday. Faith that tomorrow will bring enough for tomorrow.

Day 14: Ignore Your Scale and Stop Focusing on the Weight: I REALLY need my mind and heart to understand that this is NOT really about the weight. This journey is too, too important to be distorted by math. And I’m too easily swayed by the numbers that indicate my gravitational pull to the Earth, but not the state of my soul.

Day 15: Pecking your way to a New You (aka The View from Inside the Shell)I am a moth cocooned. Seed breaking open in the earth. Match flame flickering on cave walls. A waxing crescent moon. A chick sodden in birth’s yolk, pecking her way out to a bigger life.

Day 16: Food as a Love Language: By the time I got married, I was already well versed in loving myself with sweets and other foods, so, naturally, I loved my husband with food as well. Loving him this way nearly killed him.

Day 17: Don’t Trade One Addiction for Another: So I am careful, this time around, while I am pursing full freedom from the power of food over me, not to just fill my needs with something else. Not even something “healthy.” Not even this blog. Not even you, my dear and precious friends. No, I do not want to trade one addiction for another.

Day 18: Making Our Escape — Together: One of the most unexpected blessings of these last days has been the grace of how God works. How he simultaneously hands me keys and calls me to drop them for my fellow captives. While also using their strength and stories to light the path for me.

Day 19: Even if Sugar is Not Your Burden, PLEASE Read this Post: I cannot run your race. You cannot run mine. It is marked specifically for each of us. And EVERYTHING that hinders and entangles must be cast off.

Day 20: A Letter to my Tastebuds: You don’t get to be in charge any more. The rest of my body wants a say in how we’re doing this food thing, too.

Day 21: The Little Things DO Matter: Some like to think God doesn’t worry himself with things like that. The little stuff. That He’s too busy with world issues and more important people. Truth is: that’s EXACTLY the things God concerns himself with. He concerns himself with the number of hairs on our head and today’s color of our eyes. He concerns himself with the condition of my heart and the way I give it away for a bite of something sweet.

Day 22: Working “The Steps” of Overeaters Anonymous: Step One is “We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.” Unmanageable. The word punches me in the gut. And “Powerless” comes right behind it with the uppercut. This even as I am trying to steady myself with the word “Recovery” — something I only recently have been able to consider I might need. Once again I must admit… I am not Ok. That I cannot do this on my own. That I need help. That I am out of control.

Day 23: Books worth Reading on this Topic. And others that are feeding my spirit.: I usually am reading multiple books at a time. Here are a few that have been stirring my soul during the month of October.

Day 24: If I Knew Then.(Why it’s Good to be a little Naïve before you start): I wasn’t ready. But I was brave enough to think I was. And maybe that’s how recovery starts anyway. Because if we knew in advance the pitfalls, the pain, the temptations, the disappointments. All the ways things wouldn’t go as planned. The two steps forward, one step back-ness of it all. Well, we’d probably never start walking.

Day 25: Addiction is a Beast (Coming to terms with being powerless): When I begin to think of food addiction as a foreign invader in my space (no matter how comfortable I have become with it), it is significantly easier to consider the need to exorcise it from my being in order to restore myself to health — in body, mind, and spirit. It brings me to a place where I am ready to say that I have no more control over my addiction than I would over an attacking lion. I cannot save myself. Praise God, I have a Savior.

Day 26: The Lions Circle. But I have a Good Shepherd.: “Be well-balanced (temperate, sober of mind, be vigilant and cautious at all times, for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring (in fierce hunger) seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 – Amplified) Fortunately, the sheep are never asked to fight the lions alone. That is Shepherd work.

Day 27: Letting God Lead (God is my 3rd Base Coach): He directs my actions. He is the guard at the gate of my lips. Saving me from myself. On my own, I might make decisions for the moment, not for the good of my long-term self. So I check in. I follow His lead.

Day 28: What Does God Sound Like? (The joy of discovering His voice): The sheep hear his voice and come to him; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  He walks ahead of them; and they follow him, for they recognize his voice. They won’t follow a stranger but will run from him, for they don’t recognize his voice. (John 10: 3-5)

Day 29: Escaping Temptation … There is always a way out.: Sometimes “Just Say No” works to push back the lions of addiction. Sometimes God gets creative with a way of escape. But there is always a way. If I take it.

Day 30: On Giving into the Scale, but Still not Letting it Rule Me: The number is lower. And that feels good. But it doesn’t change my knowing that the miles ahead are still many. And that numbers aren’t the best way to measure them.

Day 31: The End of the Beginning and the Beginning of the End: But something about anticipating that I’ll be trotting up and down those steps until it simply becomes a natural dance makes it easier to forgive myself when the inevitable re-learning happens. Down, but not out. Not ever again.

The End of the Beginning. And the Beginning of The End. (Day 31: Sugar Sober Series)

What size shirt do you need for the event?” 

I cringe at the question.

Not only because it feels vulnerable to speak my size into the space. But because it’s not a question about today. The event is not until April.

And I panic. What size will I be six months from now?

I’ve been burned on this one before. Last summer my parents, husband, and I all volunteered at the US Open golf tournament in Pinehurst. It’s a huge undertaking, and volunteer information was collected almost two years in advance. It was more than 12 months before the Open when they asked my size for uniform shirts.

I made a projection that I would be smaller.

And the calendar changed, but my size didn’t, and I had to exchange the “fantasy” shirts for the ones that would actually fit.

I tell myself it’s different this time. I think it is.

Because back then I only had a hope that something would be different. But it was always too far in the future to gain any traction. Until it was too late.

And now? Well, now I have 31 days of Sugar Sobriety under my belt. And a dedication to freedom from addiction. And a surrender to God’s power in me instead of counting on my will-power alone.

I request the smaller shirt.

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I think it’s a little ironic that the stages of a 12-Step program are called steps. Because a “step” infers a moving above, moving past. And this month has not felt like that AT ALL.

I wonder if it will really be more like juggling. A new ball thrown into the mix, challenging my coordination and my dexterity at each stage. Because I’ll never be “done” with accepting my powerlessness. Surrendering to God isn’t a Mark-it-Off-the-List event.

Each step, while building on the other, will likely stay in continuous motion for me for the rest of my life.

It’s not that I worry about dropping the balls. I am fairly sure that is bound to happen from time to time. I am confident there is grace for that.

But something about anticipating that I’ll be trotting up and down those steps until it simply becomes a natural dance makes it easier to forgive myself when the inevitable re-learning happens.

Down, but not out. Not ever again.

And so here I am at the end of the beginning of Sugar Sober. 31 Days. Both doing it and writing about it. Mission Accomplished. And that feels pretty darn good, I admit.

But so, too, is it the beginning of the end. The end of struggling silently and ashamed. The end of self-medicating followed by self-deprecation. The end of addiction’s unbreakable hold on me.

The end of battling alone. The beginning of letting Him take charge of even my food.

My beginning and my end. With the Alpha and the Omega.

Yes. I think that will work.

 

p.s. I simply cannot express what it has meant to me to have so many of you joining with me, cheering me on, and sharing your thoughts over these days. It’s a blessing I never even considered until it happened. But you guys made it happen, and I am so grateful. October is over, but the journey is not; neither is my calling to keep telling my stories. All the ones He entrusts to me, so please come back and hang out with me more and let’s keep walking each other home.

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sugarsoberoctoberIn response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October while I stay sugar-free. You can read previous posts HERE. To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email. Feel free to Tweet your own experiences with #sugarsoberoctober as well.

PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences. Like any road, sugar sobriety is one more easily walked with friends. I do my best to reply to every comment.

I Gave In… and Weighed In (Sugar Sober Series)

Even as I wait for the digital numbers to appear, I question my motives.

I said I had no intention of getting on the scale during these 31 Days. But here I am on Day 29, wondering if my pants are lying to me or if they might really be looser due to pounds lost.

What if there’s no change? Or worse — a larger number than October 1. I hadn’t thought about that.

I think I’m feeling some difference in my body. Why isn’t that enough?

What am I trying to prove to myself? That these days have not been wasted?

My mind already knows progress has been made.

Weight dropped from my pride. My callousness getting smaller.

I’ve lost my “me do it” attitude and released the fear of sharing my story.

My worry that I’m forever trapped by addiction is lighter. The measure of my anxiety passing buffet restaurants smaller.

I realize I am holding my breath for these seconds that feel like hours.

The number is lower.

And that feels good. But it doesn’t change my knowing that the miles ahead are still many. And that numbers aren’t the best way to measure them.

So maybe it’s Ok that it matters some. As long as the scale is only a messenger and not a master.

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sugarsoberoctoberIn response to the 31 Daily blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October while I stay sugar-free. You can read previous posts HERE. To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email. Feel free to Tweet your own experiences with #sugarsoberoctober as well.

PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences. Like any road, sugar sobriety is one more easily walked with friends. I do my best to reply to every comment.

Food on the Floor: And other Ways of Escape (Sugar Sober Series)

Tonight, it was my husband who saved me from myself.

I wanted another large tea (unsweet, of course) on my way home. And if I’m going through a drive-through. I might as well pick up a cheeseburger, too. I was starting to get hungry. And it had been a hard day.

I counted out enough change from the bottom of my purse for the treat. No trace of it on a debit card that way. My own secret indulgence.

Not sugar. But addict behavior, nonetheless.

And then he called. My husband’s ringtone coming from the passenger seat.

I am only a block from McDonalds.

And by the time we finished the conversation, I am nearly home and already past every fast-food restaurant.

This time, my husband’s voice became my way of escape.

But it’s sometimes been a missing debit card. A broken milkshake machine. Power outage. Going back for a 2nd helping and finding it already gone. Food falling on the floor.

God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Sometimes “Just Say No” works to push back the lions of addiction.

Sometimes God gets creative with a way of escape.

But there is always a way. If I take it.

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sugarsoberoctoberIn response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October while I stay sugar-free. You can read previous posts HERE. To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email. Feel free to Tweet your own experiences with #sugarsoberoctober as well.

PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences. Like any road, sugar sobriety is one more easily walked with friends. I do my best to reply to every comment.

What Does God Sound Like? (Sugar Sober Series)

I have become pretty comfortable using language that I “heard from God” or “The Spirit said to me…” But they are not words I take lightly. I know many people struggle with discerning when The Spirit is speaking to them. Some wonder if it’s even possible.

And if God is to be my Shepherd, my Coach, how do I know what He sounds like?

First, let us be assured that we CAN know His voice. That He desires that we do, and that He will keep pulling us closer until we know that we know that we know it is Him.

For a shepherd comes through the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice and come to him; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  He walks ahead of them; and they follow him, for they recognize his voice. They won’t follow a stranger but will run from him, for they don’t recognize his voice. (John 10: 3-5)

I have learned, over time, that hearing from God, for me, often involves goose bumps, tears, or other emotional reactions. When my HEART is pierced by a message, it’s usually The Spirit.

It also has a hush to it. Even if it comes through loud and clear, His voice silences the others. Everything else vanishes. It’s almost slow-motion.

One of my friends told me she sometimes hears a game-show style “ding, ding, ding” when she’s supposed to pay attention. I love that.

Because God is so very personal, you will hear Him in your own way, so I asked some other friends to share their insights. Perhaps you’ll find yourself in one of these.

* The voice is always a good thought, idea, or word. It usually comes from left field. Something that comes in (even interrupts) your thought process. He speaks in dreams, through others, and situations, and, of course, His Word!

* God always sends me a song when I’m going through hard times. The song might be sung at church, the radio, my music channel, or I might wake up singing it. I’ve learned to pay attention to a song that I wake up with…it will usually speak to a certain situation during the day.

* God speaks to us in ways very specific to us and in terms we understand. It isn’t the voice of James Earl Jones, but it sounds like me (my voice) yet smarter and wiser. It is a direction, revelation, encouragement, hope, conviction (not condemnation). It is courage, boldness, or abandonment. It is the opposite of a flesh that would otherwise give council to guard, protect, attack, quit, defend, judge… The voice of God in me is not selfish or self-centered. The voice of God always benefits someone other than me. Yes, it’s through dreams, visions, other people, but also it is in me, in my inner most being — my gut if you will. I know the character of God therefore I know the voice of God. And He is way nicer than I am!

So how does this work when it comes to approaching God with each decision? Even each food decision.

For me, God has set some basic rules. Eat only when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. He sets other standards that aren’t moment-by-moment negotiable — like staying Sugar Sober for these 31 Days.

But most everything else is situational and individualized.

It may sound absurd, but I do, in fact, look for his signals on very specific food choices.

A Diet Coke today may not be suitable tomorrow. Which is the better breakfast choice — oatmeal or chicken biscuit? It depends. Where should I go for lunch? Should I have a second helping?

I ask, and He is faithful to answer.

Then the decision is not about nutrition or diet plans or the knowledge of men — it becomes only about one thing.

Will I obey?

Please don’t get me wrong. God is not a Magic 8 ball to which I can ask a question and shake for an answer. He’s FAR TOO INTIMATE for that.

But He DOES speak. About Every.Single.Little.Thing.

When we listen.

 

How do you discern God’s voice? Please share in the comments, reply on Facebook, or send me an email. 

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sugarsoberoctoberIn response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October while I stay sugar-free. You can read previous posts HERE. To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email. Feel free to Tweet your own experiences with #sugarsoberoctober as well.

PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences. Like any road, sugar sobriety is one more easily walked with friends. I do my best to reply to every comment.

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