This past week I remained “food sober” along with having an important learning experience. I have long understood that my alcohol recovery has little to do with drinking and more with living life on life’s terms. However, with compulsive overeating (coe) what and how much I am putting in my mouth can take on a greater weight (no pun intended) in recovery, at least early on, than the living life on life’s terms.
I participated in an interesting discussion on FB this past week where folks discussed at what point an abstinence is considered “broken” and one starts counting days over again. I was pleasantly surprised that the overriding response was that in coe recovery, a person can end up replacing one compulsion (overeating) with another (counting days, weighing and measuring food, counting calories, and so forth).
I find the insights I experience in coe recovery seem at a more core or visceral level than in my previous 30 years of alcohol recovery. A key lesson I picked up from my past three months of coe recovery is that the cravings to binge eat or consume sugar have little or nothing to do with my hunger, what others around me are eating, and often, how well or not I have planned my food for the day. Cravings to binge have everything to do with where I am at emotionally and spiritually.
This past week I had a higher stress level than I would like, did not read as much recovery literature, wrote less, and I began to push the boundaries of my plan for eating. And like in AA recovery, I believe that coe relapse is a process and not an event. I am grateful to have drawn on that understanding – not just so that I continue toward my goal weight, but to better live life on life’s terms.
I find this understanding particularly important because when I reach my goal weight in the next month, that is where the real recovery will need to engage on a completely visceral and gut level. Then, weight loss definitely takes the back seat, and even more recovery becomes about dealing with the isms of which coe is only a symptom.