This past week has had its share of challenges, including my birthday a week ago today. I am not sure if I mentioned it in my first update, but I go to Celebrate Recovery (CR), a Jesus-centered, 12 Step program every Friday night. Along with the usual addictions, CR offers support and accountability to people who have issues such as food. Like any other addiction, people who have food issues define their “sobriety” to help them manage food. I began by eliminating bingeing on stuff like tortilla chips with salsa and sour cream, then I added overeating in public, like at Bible studies where desserts and other snack food is offered. Up to this point, I have been able to manage myself fairly well using those boundaries, but I have reached a point where I can tighten those boundaries to make my sobriety even healthier.
Last week was good, though. At my birthday lunch I had an omelet and home fries, with a slice of apple pie that my sister made for the occasion for dessert. I managed to keep it between the lines.
Yes, that is me in a restaurant with two enormous slices of cake last Sunday afternoon. This is a food addict’s dream lunch, although I had a chicken souvlaki wrap with fries before the two slices of cake arrived. I originally just wanted the carrot cake, but the waitress said they were having a 2 for 1 special on desserts, so I also chose the chocolate fantasy cake. This looks really bad for my sobriety, but I ate the carrot cake as I had intended to do on my second birthday lunch with one of the pastors from my church. I took the chocolate fantasy cake home, where I had one section of the cake the following day and realized I needed to find a venue to share the rest of it. On Tuesday I regularly meet with a small Bible study group at my church. I brought the rest of the cake to the Bible study and it died an honorable death at the hands of a couple of women in the group, and myself, of course.
Last night was my regular Wednesday night Bible study at the church. Usually there are a number of temptations that could scuttle my food sobriety. Although it has cooled off now, the last week or so has been really hot and I just couldn’t get my mind around doing too much cooking. So, I decided this would be a pizza night. The Bible study sells pizza slices for $1 each. I bought two, then sampled some of the snacks. I am not sure what some of it was, but it looked like raw fish on thin crackers. It was awesome and healthy. I added two cookies to that and felt like I had honored God with my choices. Honoring God means that I do not eat in excess of others or draw attention to myself with my food choices.
When I have attempted to control my food in the past, I have declared that certain foods were bad, unwise, unhealthy, but in reality, food is just food. It does not have a moral value apart from what we may give it. Chocolate cake is just a food item. It is no more moral or immoral than celery or onions. The moral connection is the value that I attach to it because I have trouble controlling it.
As I thought about my sobriety this week, I also realized that I was snacking at home and I needed to bring that to a stop. In the heat of the summer I wanted ice cream. I knew that if I bought a 2 liter container of the stuff I would be inclined to sit and eat the entire container, maybe not in one sitting, but I didn’t trust myself to dish it out in reasonable portions. So, I bought ice cream bars in packages of four. This was a reasonable compromise. I had the bars each day at lunch for a dessert, never for a snack, as any time is a good time for a snack and I could see myself eating three or four bars in a day as snacks. This worked well, but I don’t need ice cream bars for dessert. Another habit that I needed to eliminate is eating desserts in coffee shops or restaurants when I was there by myself. If I went to a coffee shop just to get out of the apartment and be in a social situation, what I call social solitude, because I am not meeting a friend or going to a social gathering, but I want to be in a social setting, I would often order a dessert. This was not only unhealthy because I was doing this far too often, it was expensive. So, I have added no desserts in coffee shops/restaurants when I am alone.
One other thing for which I am very thankful today. This past week I experienced another major episode of depression. Often when I am depressed, I tend to eat or binge, but this past week, I realized that bingeing on tortilla chips or other junk foods would not make me feel better. It is only be God’s grace that I made it through this week.