Dave Begins: “I’m an addict, my problem is Dave and my drugs of choice are excessive food intake and exercise avoidance!!!”

Reader Responds: “Hi Dave and welcome!!!”

I want to take this opportunity to wish you a Blessed and Merry Christmas!  May your Christmas be full of joy and serenity and hope!

If you’ve read any of my journal entries from 2009, you know that it has been a really rough year for me and one that can’t end soon enough — one day at a time!  My mother died at 6:00am on New Year’s Day.  My closest female friend died on April 16th.  I nearly died of an allergic reaction that sent me into kidney failure in late June.  Then in mid-August I came down with the painful condition known as sciatica (on my left side).  I guess after a year like 2009 I at least deserve to be referred to as a “survivor”, huh?  😀

I thank God for the grace I’ve needed to cope with the drama of 2009 — one day at a time.  God’s grace is always a precious gift and I hope that I always feel gratitude when I experience it (not to mention always realize when God is pouring out His grace on me to begin with — rather than assuming I’m “making it” on my own, when indeed I’m not).

Because I’m afraid that the grief of my mother’s loss will be overwhelming on Christmas day, I’m going to PLAN (in writing) my food choices for tomorrow ahead of time.  I may need to revise my plan, but AT LEAST I’LL HAVE A PLAN. WHY is PLANNING IMPORTANT (especially at stressful times)?  Because “those who (consciously) fail to plan are actually (subconsciously) planning to fail” and (the bottom line is) I don’t think nearly as  clearly when I’m under stress (Who does?), especially when it comes to anything to do with food.

I love my momma and I miss her more than words can even begin to express!  But NO amount of insane eating will ever bring her back to life in this world.  She suffered much in the several years leading up to her death and I can find at least some sense of peace believing that my momma is no longer suffering.

Do let you "sophistication" get in the way of your recovery! This "simple" ONE DAY AT A TIME concept DOES work, when you work it!

Don't let your "sophistication" and "intelligence" get in the way of understanding (and using) this simple One Day At A Time concept!

So how did you do with your food intake on Thanksgiving? I pleased to report that I ate moderately!  Then again, why wouldn’t my eating be just fine on a holiDAY? After all, a holiDAY is just another DAY.

I’ve found that one of the many awesome things about 12 Step recovery is that it works just fine EVERY DAY of the year.  “Even on a holiDAY?”, you ask. To which I respond, “Yes. Even on a holiDAY…Since a holiDAY is just another DAY.” Which means that when we have a program of recovery that helps us to eat sanely — one day at a time — it makes NO matter which “day” we’re following our program. Weekday or weekend day. Groundhog’s Day or a rainy day. Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years.

Our program of recovery (which is based on working the 12 Steps, as adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous) will work just fine on any of these days. Of course, we don’t work the 12 Steps in insolation — we work them while DAILY connecting to God and to other addicts.

When we feel overwhelmed by the stress or difficulties we face on a given day, we always have a right to work our program of recovery in incriments of LESS than just one day a time

We start with a commitment to eat sanely for just one minute.
Then we make it through five minutes.
Then we put several of those five minute incriments back-to-back and all of a sudden we’ve made it 30 minutes.
Then we find ourself making it through one hour.
The next thing you know, we’ve made it through 12 hours.
Double the 12 hours and you’ve made it one day.
And we only work at our recovery NO MORE THAN one day at a time.
And this concept and approach works quite well every day.

For more thoughts to help you work through unique challenges of the food-obsessed winter holiDAZE, be sure to check out this journal entry that I wrote in back in November 2007:

I haven’t mentioned this elsewhere on my blog, but in February 2006 I was diagnosed as being a Type 2 Diabetic. Diabetics are much more likely than non-diabetics to develop other serious health problems, including heart and kidney disease.

Garden SaladKeeping in mind my health history,  coupled with my addictions to both OVEReat and UNDERexercise, I am today committing (one day at a time) to make the following small (but I think important) changes in what I eat and how much I exercise. These changes are well within the guidelines of my Weight Watchers’ POINTS food plan and directions given me by various physical therapists over the years.

One day at a time, I commit to…

— Stop eating french fries and onion rings.   They have virtually NO nutritional value, regardless of the type of oil in which they are deep-fried. And I surely do NOT need the TON of SALT that fast food restaurants (especially McDonald’s) pour on their french fries!

— Start eating MORE green vegetables,

— Eat a garden salad three or more days per week.

— Start eating/drinking MORE Vitamin C-rich fruits.

— DO physical exercise for at least 15 minutes each day, every day, NO MATTER WHAT!

— Eat fish and white meat MORE often, while eating LESS red meat.

Am I “excited” about making any of these changes? NO WAY!!! I’m just being honest (“Nothing ever changes until it becomes what it is.”) AND am seeking God’s grace to make these changes.

“God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannont change…the courage to change the things I can…and the wisdom to know the difference — even when I do NOT feel like doing these things. In Jesus’ name. Amen!”

And what if I don’t PERFECTLY adhere to my commitment? Then I have another prayer, known as The Serenity Prayer – Part 2, to pray:

“God, grant me patience with the changes that take time, an appreciation for all that I have, a tolerance for those with different struggles and the strength to get up and try again . . . One Day At A Time. In Jesus’ name. Amen!”

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!