In one of my favorite movies, a character quips that addiction is “a three-fold disease: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years!” No doubt for most of us food addicts, the three major winter holiDAZE pose a major challenge to our recovery effort!

Buffets Offer A Special Challenge

Many of us find ourselves surrounded by food this time of the year. All sorts of party and dinner invitations can make the temptation to overeat even more intense than it is the rest of the year.

And what about those “food pushers”! You know the kind of person I’m talking about. They regularly remind us that “different rules apply” to any and all holidays. We MUST overeat, indeed we are EXPECTED to overeat on these days! And if we don’t overeat on holiDAZE, then something MUST be terribly wrong with us.

My recovery journey has taught me that NO food addict “must” overeat on any holiday anymore than any other addict “must” give in to his addiction on these special (and often times very stressful) days. Our addiction takes no time off for holidays and neither should our recovery effort.

Here’s a list of ten reminders that help keep me on track at all-you-can-binge buffets, holiday parties and even when surrounded by even the most obnoxious food pusher(s):

1 — I have the right to say “No.”

2 — With God’s help (and the support of other addicts) I can make my “No.” mean “No.” and be consistent sticking with “No.” Remembering to pray before, duing and after food-centered events helps me connect with God. Having the phone numbers of other addicts on my person helps me connect with other addicts when faced with temptation. Therefore PREPARATION IS ESSENTIAL when placing myself in stressful (let alone tempting) situations.

3 — “No.” is a complete sentence. Therefore I do NOT have to justify, rationalize or otherwise explain my decision to say “No.” to excess amounts of food.

4 — I have the right — without explanation — to remove myself from the immediately proximity of people and places that threaten my recovery. If an explanation is “owed” it can be made LATER (e.g., like when I’m in a better spiritual/emotional space).

5 — Without apology, I believe that I have the right to take care of me, one holiday/one day at a time.

6 — Having a well-balanced, nutritionally-sane food plan makes my recovery effort EASIER: I know what my boundaries are and my boundaries are reasonable.

7 — If I can’t remember how MISERABLE I felt after I had my last food binge, then I probably have at least one more binge ahead of me!

8 — “Insanity is doing the SAME thing over and over while expecting DIFFERENT results.” Therefore what am I prepared to DO (“DO” = action) DIFFERENTLY when presented with circumstances, people and places that have defeated me in the past?

9 — Failling to plan is (subconsciously) planning to fail. What is my plan? Write it down! Share it with another addict!

10 — Holidays last just 24 hours — just like every other day of the year. And I have a God and a program of recovery that works amazingly well when I WORK (“WORK” = action) it, just ONE (HOLI)DAY at a time!

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