Posted by: innerpilgrimage | December 18, 2009

Abstinence From Compulsive Overeating Means Never Having to Say “I’m Sorry”

Abstinence from Compulsive Eating: 2 Months, 3 day (64 days)
Holiday Eating Season Countdown: 15 days

      I was so busy yesterday, I didn’t find a chance to post an entry. Between volunteering and baking for my son’s teacher presents, I ended up reaching bedtime very ready to go to sleep. I also was irritable, and I realize, today, that my irritability may have had a lot to do with my temporary amnesia when it came to giving over my faltering self-will to my Higher Power.

      I received my blue recovery coin on Wednesday and put it with my other recovery coins, not admiring it because we had to keep going at group. The last time I got a coin (the red thirty-day abstinence coin), I held it and looked at it and was both humbly grateful and surprised that I was able to get through 30 days with only a few difficult days. I ploughed through Thursday without looking at it, knowing that I would be facing off with dozens of cookies that night.
      I came home and began baking dough like mad. I was well-within abstinence before I started baking, and I sampled three small snowball cookies (also known as Mexican Wedding Cookies) and two snickerdoodles (sugar cookies with cinnamon sugar baked on). I counted them pretty high as cookies go. I just looked at the snowballs, and I think I estimated them almost right–mine are half-inch bite-sized cookies instead of the full-inch cookies, so they’re around 50 calories apiece. I estimated the snickerdoodles about right, since I was able to make about 48 cookies (the proper cookie count), minus the cookie or two worth of dough I gave to the dog for treats for being good. Better her than me.
      I had nearly 200 calories left over as wiggle room, so I made abstinence. Yet I feel guilty I ate any at all. They’re not off-plan, but they can be a trigger food. There was a cookie that got bent, and I almost ate it then set it aside. I gave it to my son in the morning, which was a bit of dirty pool.
      Today, there was a lunch for volunteers, and I had a half-cup of greek salad (no beans or cheese in it, just the dressing on cucumbers, celery, and tomatoes), a cup of rice (I didn’t eat all of because I used chopsticks, yay!), and a cup of steamed broccoli. For sweets (and they had petit fours and cupcakes), I had one fortune cookie. My supervisor brought in these beautiful, small chocolate-dipped strawberries, and I had one to both be polite and to try one. The strawberry, itself, wasn’t discretionary calories, but the third-ounce (or less) of dark chocolate on it was.
      And yes, that strawberry was worth the calories. I didn’t emotionally eat it (Hooray!), but I enjoyed it, and it tasted good. I was content with one (I attribute that to my HP), and I am pleased that I was able to be part of the celebratory lunch, even though I brought my lunch. My lunch is a salad waiting to be part of my dinner tonight.
      I know talking about food like I just did (listing what I ate), is considered a worrisome signal that abstinence troubles are brewing. For me, I get worried when I deal with food not completely within my plan or which has discretionary calories. Even worse, I worry that I will accidentally trip over a trigger food and end up in a personal struggle for the rest of the day (or for two or more days). I am reminded of my pre-abstinence days, when I would obsess about some food or another for days. I wouldn’t let it go; I would struggle until I gave in, shoveling it in with barely tasting it. It possessed me, it owned me, it was an obsession that made me hate myself. I sold myself out, never able to self-maintain my abstinence for longer than a day.
      Here I am, sixty days in, and I realize that even when I’m not giving my will up to my Higher Power actively, it’s still happening. I can walk away after one . . . most of the time. I am aware of what I cannot walk away from and I avoid those things–especially when I’m alone and can sneak eat. I know when I’m eating with a sense of sneakiness and stop myself. That habit, however, is where I feel that I don’t give it up to my Higher Power soon enough. I should have stopped at one snowball cookie and one snickerdoodle; I ate two more snowballs (knowing I had the calories) and one more snickerdoodle (almost two, but I decided I didn’t want to get so close to my discretionary calorie edge, just in case). I felt guilty eating the extra cookies, and I had a desire to keep eating that bent snickerdoodle. I mean, it wasn’t trash, it was just . . . not pretty. Not pretty enough to give away in a gift, anyway, I reasoned. I walked around the kitchen with it, trying to think of what to do with it. Dog? No. Husband or son? Both were asleep. So, I set it down by itself on a plate, away from the other cookies and made my plan–it would get eaten in the morning, before it had a chance to lull me with its siren song.
      If I had given my will completely to my Higher Power, I would not have come up with this most cunning and sneaky of plans. I would have let it go. I know I would have, because I have before.
      So, today I am thinking of my Higher Power, thinking about how I can mesh my life outside of the walls of my home. It’s a challenge as I start living outside, among the normal people. And, yes, it will be a very long time before I bake cookies again. The temptation of having the dough in the house is seriously sucky. I am going to have to plan for making half-recipes of dough when my husband wants cookies, so it will be consumed faster and I won’t be facing a bowl of cookie dough for days. After all, they’re normal eaters–not compulsive like me.

      I’m Jess and I am a compulsive overeater. There’s a little wallet card entitled Pocket Reference for OA Members that has a small bit of text that’s in italics, almost an afterthought. It really hits home about my fundamental issue with forgetting that I have the Eight Tools of Recovery and my Higher Power to keep me abstinent:

      “If you remove your body from the truth, when you are ready the truth is nowhere to be found. But if you continue to bring your body to the truth, then when you are ready the truth is waiting for you. And that truth–the promise of recovery–is in every OA meeting when we join hands, pray together, and joyously, lovingly encourage one another: Keep Coming Back!” — From Overeaters Anonymous, Second Edition, pp. 25-26.

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Responses

  1. congrats again on your blue coin!
    it is VERY hard to bake anything and not have some of it. i totally know where you are coming from feeling as though you have somehow cheated, but please keep in mind that you are only human. i have been told by many friends who are “normal” eaters, that they too have bites/eat things that you and i would consider cheating. (i don’t know about you, but hearing that put things a bit in perspective for me and made me feel good.) so that means we are being normal by having a cookie or two. in the big picture, imo, the really important thing here is that you were able to stop yourself whereas before you wouldn’t have. you worked it in your calorie count, no harm done, cut yourself some slack.
    on another note, please tell me how you created the link in purple “pcoket referece for OA members”. i’m trying to do that (want to mention an old post of mine in a current post) and can’t figure it out. oh technical blog wizard, please share your secret with this totally non-tech blogger!!! : )

  2. Thank you for reminding me that “normal” eaters do actually eat things besides salads and bran cereal! 😉 It’s odd that if I eat three cookies instead of two, I feel I broke abstinence, even when I haven’t. Eating the three small cookies and the two big ones made me feel like a compulsive eater again, even though I was in my plan and I stopped when I started reasoning why I ought to gobble up that bent cookie last night. I made abstinence.

    I just feel like my intent wasn’t entirely in the right place, and it frustrates me when the compulsion feelings surface at all. I just have to remember they call it “recovery” for a reason.

    How I get the purple text:

    It does it for me. I use the HTML text editor box to enter my journal entries. When I use the link command (you know, the a href= inside the two carats), it just does it. No idea why it’s purple, but it’s cute. If you do want purple text, there is a way to change font color using HTML commands. There are lots of websites which teach how to use HTML.

  3. trust me, i have been there with the guilt myself. truly though, i have
    learned, that a slip here and there really does not make a difference in the
    bigh scheme of things. and yes, we are in recovery, and sadly, will
    probably never be 100% normal, though we will try our damndest.

    so do you just type whatever the link is? do you just copy and paste the
    link in? i’m so dumb when it comes to this stuff. if it’s copy and paste,
    what exactly do you copy? for instance, if you were going to refer back to
    an older post of yours, would you copy the url in the browser or would you
    copy something from the actual text on your site? please explain it to me
    like i’m in kindergarten! : ) when i go to write, my text box tabs are
    “visual” or “html”. ugh, i feel like such a dingbat when it comes to this
    stuff!


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