Tag Archive: compulsive overeating


Amendment to my POE

Weight is not valueDear Sponsor,

I got on the scale yesterday and discovered an undesirable weight change has crept upon me. Since I haven’t weighed in several months, I am not greatly disturbed by this discovery, but I am prompted to make some changes in my daily Plan of Eating (POE). My daily calorie intake goal had been 2150, due to my continued weight loss at the standard 2000. Since that no longer seems to be the case, I am dropping to the standard 2000 until things level off.

In practice, I plan to eliminate:

  • the half serving of raw almonds from my typical lunch (75 Kcal.)
  • one half serving of almond butter from typical dinner (100 Kcal.)
  • though the above represents 175 calories, I am committed to reducing the daily target by 150 calories, whether the “typical” meals are on the menu for any given day or not.

I haven’t written much lately, but great changes are taking place regarding my personal development. I was recently reawakened to the existence of my character defect of wrath as expressed by outbursts of rage, harsh criticism, and verbal condemnation. While addressing this defect in prayer, I was convicted that is is correlated to my habit of judgement, for which I am responsible. When I look at these and the way they correspond to my progress regarding food and weight, I am reminded that I cannot control my weight, but I am responsible for my food choices. When I make healthy food choices according to properly administered limits, there is a corresponding body weight change. I cannot merely pray that God remove my excess weight while eating whatever I want whenever I crave it, and neither can I stew in my hateful judgement and expect God to remove my character defect of wrath. I have some habits to change. So, I am addressing each instance of judgment much like I would a craving for food, cigarettes, booze, or any other toxin. I recognize it as judgement, turn from it, turn to God in prayer, and relinquish the craving to His care and control, offering the outcome to Him. So far, it works when I work it.

Another development in my life is the halfway mark in Nursing School. I would never have imagined it would be this difficult. I don’t know how much of my problem is that I am an adult learner returning to school in middle-age, or just that I have become an unteachable know-it-all who refuses to learn the new language of Nursing Academia. I can’t control the first option, but I have full control over the second, so I repeatedly pray that God will make me teachable, that I will study the right materials with focus, retain what I need, and be able to recall with clarity the answers I am called upon to know. I have been counseled by professors that I “overthink” exam questions, but I don’t really understand how overthinking can be a bad thing. I guess what they mean is I over-create details that aren’t written, or imagine what-if scenarios that aren’t articulated in the perfect vacuum of an exam. In my previous career, second and third guessing was routine, any possible outcome or precipitating cause had to be explored, and life balanced on my ability to anticipate the unimaginable. Now, in the world of the Nursing Student, my hyper-vigilance is considered an attention deficit, one I have to rein in or else. As a matter of fact, this very blog post represents a digression from my studies.

Because of that, I can’t really go into detail about the other personal development, but it’s huge. It involves the recognition of abuse in my life, forgiveness offered, and amends being lived out. I really must tell you about it soon.

 

(prayer) Holy Father, make me teachable. Relieve me from the bondage of self, especially as it relates to wrath, and help me cease this habit of judgment since it only serves to alienate me from Your children You put me on this Earth to serve in love. Thank You for progress. Thank You for grace. Help me live so saturated in it that, when I open my mouth or hands to share, Your grace is all that flows out. May Your will be done in every aspect of my life as it is in Heaven.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)

“Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11)

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Photo credit: Woman's Day

Photo credit: Woman’s Day

Confession time! The transformation of recovery isn’t complete when Self keeps taking charge.

For the last couple weeks, I have moved, for the most part, into a guest bedroom in my house, partially to study without disturbing my precious bride, but mostly to hide from disappointment. I have repeatedly told the one who loves me that I was giving her “space to have her own way.” The truth is I have grown increasingly impatient, even intolerant, with her decisions lately. I have judged her actions as being based on her whim and emotion, when they are more than likely only lacking what I would deem an appropriate level of consideration of my own will, wish, and way. Either way, I am using isolation as a shield for disappointment, whether the expectations that feed it are realistic and fair or not.

Last night, while I fell asleep alongside her for a change, my mind and mouth were engaged even in the twilight of wakefulness. In the mental fog where the lies that support justifications begin to buckle under the weight of truth, I had some profound thoughts that escaped by way of mumbled, almost hypnotic, verbal expression. I confessed to my precious bride that, more than anything else, I am afraid of her. Not that I am afraid of her intentions or convictions, but that her intellect is not behind the wheel. After acknowledging my fear that her emotional navigation would run us, or more accurately – me, amok, I was forced to acknowledge that isolating myself from her to prevent injury puts my own emotions at the helm of my life, and so, constitutes me becoming the monster of which I was afraid.

The last thought I remember uttering before drifting off was that she is worth whatever pain I may experience, whatever it takes. As I recall what Christ endured for His Church (Ephesians 5:25), I am reminded that I have “not yet suffered to the point of shedding (my) blood” (Hebrews 12:4). I have not done everything I can. I have avoided pain by disengaging. I have behaved according to my own self-interest rather than sacrificing myself “as an act of worship” (Romans 12:1) giving preference to those around me. “As a dog returns to his vomit” (Proverbs 26:11) I have put Self on the throne of God yet again!

“Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…” (AA, 62).

Holy Father, rescue me from the bondage of self!* I have wandered back into my old cage, and it is dark and lonely in here. Deliver me so I can be relevant to those You have placed in my path, and that You, not me, may be glorified. Make Your light shine on me and reflect onto others, that they may be attracted to You and discover for themselves that You are able and willing to deliver us from our prisons, no matter how comfortable we have made them. Empower me to do Your will only always. Through Christ our Lord, amen!

 

* (a variation of AA’s Step Three Prayer, Alcoholics Anonymous, page 63)

Ground Zero

  
The connection between me and addiction was reaffirmed yesterday when a class assignment brought me into the rooms of an AA meeting. Though I already attend OA meetings regularly, attending this meeting as a clinical assignment, forced me to look at things from a different perspective. By listening to unfamiliar people, with a different addiction, struggling with the exact same manifestations of self will run riot, I was reminded, again, that I have a cunning and baffling disease, and that no matter how much progress I make, I will always need a Savior. I’m watching a stupid television show, and one of the characters who is addressing a woman in rehab, said the following:

“Your kid… She’s your ground zero.”

I thought of my daughter and the rest of my Step 8 list, and was overwhelmed with grief and remorse. I have lived the best amends I know how, and I still do not think I will ever make up for the damage I have done. The uncontrollable nature of the way I have lived my life has been as destructive as a terrorist’s bomb, and my children are my ground zero.

The harm I have done is reason enough to step outside my pursuit of self satisfaction. How can I seek to please myself, when I, myself, have done so much damage?
God, every broken, incomplete, inadequate thing I am is yours. Please put me back together and make me useful to You!

inequalitySome of my most pivotal revelations come when I’m busy talking, and such was the case at a recovery meeting I attended recently. I was in mid-share when it occurred to me that at the heart of my mental illness is an erroneous equation: imperfect equals worthless. If you factor out this faulty formula, you conclude that anyone who assesses value to the imperfect is therefore either incompetent, misguided, or worthless themselves. Since I know better than anyone my own imperfection, I am, according to this mad science, worthless and so is anybody who says otherwise. This makes relationships with anyone difficult, since any other people who hold me in any esteem whatsoever are, as I have just proven, imbeciles; and because I am too faulty to be relied upon for any emotional support or camaraderie.  This is the hub on which my self-pity wheel turns and on which my reward and punishment party wagon rides.

The clickety-clack of this wobbly wheel sounds like this: You deserve to eat what you want. You deserve to die a lonely death…early! You’ve had a bad day and need ice cream. You’re celebrating so we’re having a cake with your name on it. You’ve done well, and have won an edible prize. You made poo-poo in the potty and get candy! Maybe it does go back that far, but there is something wrong with my value estimator. Good behavior gets rewards! Ask Mother, my teachers, Santa Claus, my bosses, even (dare I admit) my misconceptions of God. I remember gagging just a little when I heard someone parrot that trite adage: “God don’t make no junk,” because I blamed Him for the mess I was, and there was no doubt about it – I was junk.

There is where I was at Step One: admitting that I was powerless over my problem and that the way I was living life was never going to work. I gradually became able to accept that if God says one thing and I feel another, the chances are God is more likely right than my feelings. After all, I had proved it with my food choices, and I could see it in my selfish defects too. My way is poison compared to God’s way which always brings life more abundant. I figured that “act as if” phrase just might fit me if I wore it on this particular point. Acting like God is right instead of me turned out to be the most pivotal change in my life. When someone turns that abruptly and goes the opposite direction, it’s referred to by a number of phrases: doing a one-eighty, an about face, or this one that sounds familiar to the religious circle – “repent.” I’d been a Bible-thumper for decades but was missing the repentance that is supposed to follow knowledge of the Giver of grace. I was the forgiven debtor of millions who beat his neighbor over a nickel owed (Matt. 18:21-25) and I believe it was because I was so convinced that, as an imperfect – and therefore worthless – person, I had to somehow make myself appear less worthless than everyone else so that I could at least, in that way, assuage some of my painfully disappointing worthlessness. Does that make sense? I doesn’t to me either, but I believe it to be a logical explanation of my insanity.

The truth is that if we believe we can be perfect on our own then we have made ourselves our god, and God is not in charge. That’s a disappointing experience, because I’m even worse at being a god than I am at being a human. The whole idea of a higher power is that mine ought to be higher than me, not even worse at his job than me, so I needed to terminate me from my position as my own higher power due to unquestionable incompetence. Once I let God have His seat on the throne of my life and really started trying to do what I understood He wanted rather than what I wanted, things began to turn around and fit almost like they were designed to go that way by a highly intelligent Creator. Amazing!

It turns out that God never expected me to be perfect, but He did design me to crave perfection so that I would seek Him out. You see, only He is perfect, and He shares Himself with those who seek Him. He is also a bit of a mosaic artist, taking the shattered pieces of my life and arranging them perfectly to suit His grand design so that every torn edge and ragged shard has a place and a purpose. Nothing is wasted, and none of it was ever junk!

Dear Father, today, help me to remember that You are the Creator of creation, the Breather of life, the Redeemer of broken things, the Orchestrator of circumstances, and the Source of all hope. With You in charge, I have nothing to fear. If you forgive, who, including me, can convict me? I choose to live in Your grace rather than my wrath. Thank You for freeing me from me. Please do it again tomorrow.

Day 1,705 or Day one?

I feel like I’ve relapsed totally. Last night, during an emotional tirade, I fussed at my wife and then went to bed, disregarding the fact that I had not yet eaten my last planned meal of the day. When I remembered it, I said to myself, “Forget it, I’m not eating!” which is dangerously close to my abstinence phrase, “Forget it, I’m eating!” and I can see how the two are related in the lives and recoveries of some of my friends who restrict food intake. To make matters worse, once I did go to sleep, I dreamt of every imaginable self-indulgence, starting with cake and ending with an extra-marital affair. I woke up afflicted with guilt and shame, and it took a while to remind myself I had not actually done any of the things for which I was feeling guilty, except for the harmful fit that started it all. By the time the artificial guilt eroded, I had completed the personal inventory that makes everything my fault, so generally my guilt was never really assuaged but redirected at the defects that ignite outbursts of rage in an otherwise peaceful home.

Since my abstinence does not say anything about restricting, I will not consider this a “day one” but I need to acknowledge that I am a hair’s breadth from relapse if I do not do something about my spiritual condition.

Dear Father, today, keep me aware of what I have done, but wash me clean of it. Help me remember the atrocities of which I am capable so I can be vigilant against them. Protect me from the spiritual forces that war against me, and help me to stand up against my own internal battles that tend to weaken me to any outside force. In my weakness make me strong. Secure my insecurities so I can be gentle and selfless in my relationships. Do not let me suffer needlessly, but bring purpose to any pain by making me teachable, and to Your discipline I submit, Lord. Thank You for loving me enough to be patient in re-creating me.