Abstinence, Not Punishment
By abstaining from compulsive overeating, we are doing ourselves the biggest favor imaginable. We are literally saving our lives, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We should never think of abstinence as punishment. Eating too much food and the wrong kind of food was the real punishment.
Each day we plan three attractive meals consisting of foods, which we enjoy. We do not exaggerate our efforts to make the meals enjoyable, since we do not want to reactivate our former obsession with food. At the same time, we choose foods, which appeal to us and do not punish ourselves with boring, unappetizing menus.
The refined sugars and carbohydrates with which we rewarded ourselves in the past are no longer a reward but poison to our systems. Overeating any food punishes us through loss of both control and peace of mind. We maintain abstinence from compulsive overeating in order to take care of ourselves and feel good.
By Your grace, may I maintain abstinence.
I am powerless over food. By myself, I am unable to control what I eat or manage my life. Thanks to OA, I have found a Higher Power by which I am learning to live a new life.
So that this Higher Power may live in me, I surrender myself. No longer do I try to live by my own efforts; no longer do I try by myself to control what I eat. Since I am powerless over food and cannot manage my life, I give myself to God as I understand Him and ask that He live through me.
When I surrender, my Higher Power takes over. Then, instead of being weak and powerless, I become strong through His strength. So very simple. I wonder why it takes so long to learn? The only requirement is, in the words of T.S. Eliot, "a condition of complete simplicity, costing not less than everything."
May I remember that without You I am powerless.
If I allow myself to feel deprived, sooner or later I will overeat or react with negative emotions. I am a human being, a child of God with the same rights as all of His other children. I have needs and preferences, which, if denied and repressed, will surface in a destructive way.
If those around me are eating a special meal and I eat leftovers, which I do not particularly like, I will feel deprived. I may become bad tempered and I may overeat later to compensate. I do not need to have what others are eating, if it is not on my food plan, but my meal should be pleasing to me. I do not need to have and do what everyone else has and does, but I can recognize my desires and preferences and satisfy them when doing so does not injure anyone else.
By overeating, I deprived myself of good health, peace of mind, self-respect, and an attractive appearance. By abstaining, I am making amends to myself for the deprivation. By working the program, I am learning how to satisfy my legitimate needs.
I trust You to supply my needs.
Time past is gone forever, and we can never go back to it. Even our disease progresses forward. We cannot expect to control it by a return to measures, which may have worked for a time in the past. Those methods eventually failed, and trying them again will only bring us to the same point of failure.
The only way to avoid repetitious failure is to move forward creatively as our Higher Power leads us. Each day is a new creation, and each day brings new lessons and opportunities. We build on what is past, but we do not need to repeat it.
Moving forward involves risking what is unknown. The old, familiar rut, depressing as it is, is a known quantity. Moving out of it requires that we have courage and that we trust in One who knows and cares. To move on, we must act. Insights do not produce growth until they are accompanied by specific actions.
May I risk new actions as You lead me forward.
Often we are bound in unhealthy ways to parents, husbands, wives, children, and friends. When dependency and manipulation are masked as love, it is difficult to cut the cords that bind us. By ourselves we are unable to break free.
Listening to other compulsive overeaters helps us to see our own situation and ourselves more objectively. Working the steps builds emotional and spiritual maturity. Abstaining from compulsive overeating gives us the perception we need to see unhealthy relationships for what they are. Our growing self-respect motivates us to make changes.
We ate because we were too weak to face our problems. Now that we see where we have been manipulated and where we have manipulated others, we need the strength to cut the cords of unhealthy dependency. This strength comes from our Higher Power. Since we recognize our complete dependency on Him, we are no longer weakened by pseudo dependencies on those close to us. We learn to relate to them positively, out of God's strength rather than our own weakness.
By Your power, may I cut the cords that bind me.
REFLECTION FOR TODAY
Something to reach for, something to work toward, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, or a purpose for taking care of myself physically, mentally and emotionally - they all add up to goals. When I was in an emotional upheaval, goals were something which other people had - people with education, looks, money and talent. But certainly not me. I did not realize goals were personal guidelines which I could use to improve the quality of my life. Any part of my life that needs to be changed is an opportunity for goal-setting. Physically I could have a weight loss goal, a quit smoking goal, or a physical fitness goal. Mentally I could have a goal to change an attitude, a goal to broaden my interests and increase my knowledge, or a goal to read a good book every week. Emotionally my goal is for serenity, which can be gained by learning to "live and let live" and to roll with the punches.
MEDITATION FOR TODAY
Help me see a real need for change and to pick a goal and go for it.