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My journey of freedom from food addiction continues long beyond 31 days, and I continue to blog about that (and other things) here at Trading Good for Grace on a regular basis.
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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.