I have diet notebooks in storage dating back almost 20 years documenting my food intake, calories, workouts and weigh-in results. Among all of the numbers are written prayers asking God if He would please help me lose weight and stay on this thing until I get to my goal weight. As I have said in other posts, I was completely clueless as to the fact that I was under the spell of food addiction and no diet could cure me. But back then, from my perspective, dieting was the only answer. Lose the weight and it’s all over.
From my current perspective I know that had God answered the prayer the way I had wanted Him to and took only the fat away, I would have missed out on every opportunity for spiritual and emotional growth that happens during the recovery process. And because I would have skipped that spiritual and emotional growth, I would have quickly found myself right back in the throes of my addiction, with all the weight (and probably more) back on my body. So my daily prayer request these days has changed quite a bit – I ask Him for the willingness to stay clean for another day.
My eating disorder did not just appear overnight so I had to come to terms with the fact that it was not going to just go away overnight. I had to stick it out, one day at a time, one craving at a time, one temptation at a time. I define the action of recovery as a series of good decisions; one after another. The decision to spend some time with God each day, the decision to stay with a food plan, the decision to exercise, the decision to choose a food that is better for your health over another, the decision to keep track of my food and communicate with my sponsor, the decision to go to meetings, the decision to do my step work every day.
As we’re stringing together these good decisions the lie that we are sometimes drawn into is that once we have remained “sober” for a while we can dabble in our old ways again. For food addicts like me that might mean eating some of those binge foods or entering those trigger environments again, because we feel like we are now in control and ready to rock. I remember once I thought I could “try” frozen yogurt when it had been on my “no” list. What was I thinking? I ate some after dinner one night and the next day I was having incredible cravings for sugar and carbs. By the end of that week I had collapsed under those strong cravings and relapsed. I had made one bad decision and it cost me.
There are no grey areas with this. You don’t take a vacation, you don’t say “just this once”. It is black or white – you’re either taking a step toward recovery or a step away from it. You either stop eating the binge foods or you stay in addiction. You either define a new meal plan or you remain a compulsive overeater. You either ask for God’s help daily or you try to white-knuckle it on your own and see how far you get. You either give up and die, stay miserable, and miss out on an amazing, full life or you do what it takes. That’s about what it comes down to!
Some of you may have given up because you’ve tried and it’s hard. I get it. It’s hard and it’s uncomfortable for sure. But it will change, I promise. As I have worked my 12-step program and made the choice to surrender this addiction to Him daily, He has healed so many wounds and opened my eyes to the world around me, a world that in my past life I was numbing with food.
Stay with it until your miracle happens. It will! God has amazing plans for you and I am sure they don’t involve food, misery, guilt, shame, anger and obesity. There is so much more out there for you than that. You just have to make that first good decision!
“For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11