Have you ever felt like you just can’t take any more? The food is out of control, the boss wants more than you can give, your mother in law is enraged with you, and the dog just chewed up your favorite shoes? And we have this horrible coronavirus that is keeping us indoors and isolated as well.
And this is a sacred week for many of us. Palm Sunday was on Sunday, Passover starts on Wednesday, and Good Friday and Easter are this week. This is a special time to celebrate your growth, take note of what progress you have made, to reflect on how far you have come, and to choose what you want in your life next. This is the time you want and need to focus on who you are, who you want to become, and for some of us, to find a deeper more rewarding spiritual path.
Meanwhile, your current life schedule is upended with children at home, worry about elderly friends and family, changes in your job situation and a thousand other things.
And your mind is whirling a thousand miles a minute with the negative thoughts we know you can’t handle. “You are fat, stupid, ugly. You cannot even keep the DOG under control. You are gonna get fired, then you won’t have the money to pay your bills! You can’t even control your weight! Following a food plan is useless for idiots like you! You will never be able to do this!”
How do we handle these scary and difficult situations and keep our food plans in order? And be able to do some of what we really want in our lives?
Number 1: Let’s pause and admit to ourselves that this is a scary and difficult situation, and we will have to be extra focused and careful.
Number 2: If you can get through this Coronavirus crisis abstinently, you will KNOW that you can do ANYTHING abstinently.
Number 3: If you compromise your abstinence or recovery program at this time, you will have a lot of information to look back on, see where the problems are, and work on fixing them in time for the next problem. But your recovery will be slowed and compromised. And withdrawal is awful!
Number 4: We make the internal commitment to do what needs to be done to stay abstinent. It is an attitude shift, a rock bottom surrender and decision.
Number 5: We take action. What could that be for you?
Maybe a grocery trip.
Maybe ordering your food and having it delivered, so you don’t need to go to the grocery and look at those other foods.
Maybe reevaluating your program to look at what you really need.
Maybe sponsorship, step work, online meetings.
Maybe drawing new boundaries with family members.
Maybe there are some things at home that you have wanted to do for some time and haven’t got around to yet: they could be pleasant or not, but you’ve been telling yourself you need to do them. Now is the time.
Now let’s look at all this stuff in your mind. Where did this come from and what is it?
The first thing I want you to notice is that whoever is speaking is NOT YOU. If it were, it would use the pronoun “I”. So, who is speaking? Is this a memory from a bad experience? Is there a person who used to speak to you that way? Is there a live person that talks like this to you now? Maybe you should get that person some boundaries. Or assign him/her another job. Ask the questions. Who are you? Where did you come from? What do you want? Then take action to manage the feeling or solve the problem.
And spirituality. There are four spiritual dates here in one week. And we need to stay home. Could this be a good time to sit down, relax and do some spiritual work? We need to bring ourselves in closer to whatever keeps us abstinent and sober; call it God, Higher Power, Yahweh, Inner Core of Wisdom, whatever you name this; do what needs to be done to strengthen that relationship.
And reach out to other people for support. To support them and to let them support you.
Now the food. This is the most important thing you need to focus on. We as a nation are so used to eating high calorie over processed and nutrient free foods that it seems natural; we turn to them for comfort. Because of your situation, your desire for those foods may be higher than normal, and if others in your household are indulging, it makes it more difficult for you.
Make a careful grocery list. Plan out what you will eat for meals and snacks, then add in what the others in your family can eat.
Or call your grocery and have them deliver your order. Then you don’t need to see that stuff you don’t want in your house.
Don’t buy your binge and drug foods; if they appear in your house, put them in a closed container in a cupboard.
Weigh and measure all your foods, and be glad you are able to do that.
If you eat something off your plan, get right back on track at the next meal or snack. It is not acceptable, for you to “throw in the towel” and say, “I will get back on Monday”.
Now is the time you need to stay focused and follow your food plan.
When others are eating binge and drug foods (and don’t they crunch well), leave the room if you need to.
Insist that they clean up the crumbs and put the food in a closed cupboard.
Do not use food flavored candles, lotions, or “sugar free” gum or mints.
When you are tempted, call a friend or your sponsor. Or take out your journal and write what you really want food to do for you; then ask yourself if it is worth the pain of relapse and withdrawal.
Or have a conversation with your Higher Power and let him/her have it!
This is a sacred time; don’t miss it. Use it to make the changes you really want to have in your life.
I’m here; call if you need me; and join us on Thursday on Zoom for the meeting.
Grace and blessings and healing to you,
And join us on Thursday evening for our Zoom call! 7-8:30 pm!
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