Saturday, March 6, 2010

Progress, Not Perfection?

Charlie, compulsive overeater.

::Hi, Charlie!::

I struggle with black/white thinking. I don't want to do it unless it's perfect. That's why I slip again and again and then say "what the hell" and dive into relapse.

Yesterday I ate a "perfect" breakfast and a "perfect" lunch. Then I worked out... met a friend for racquetball. Good, good...

Then, my family went out to Outback Steakhouse. First I had bread. Then bacon cheese fries. Then a beer.

Now, is that a slip? Do I start over? Normally I would say YES and dive into dessert. Last night I said NO and didn't have any dessert even though my family had cheesecake and brownies and ice cream. Then this morning I had a great breakfast and went to an OA meeting. Then I had a great lunch, and now I'm drinking black coffee and writing this post.

That's not perfection, but it is progress.

What do you think? Am I still abstinent? Do I "start over" on my days or what?


Jess said...

Wow, this is the second time I've been in a situation where someone's asked if they were abstinent. I'm going to give the same answer:

"Only you know, for sure, how you did. Eating how you described would have broken my abstinence because my food plan is calorie-restricted and [the fries, which *I* would have binged on] would have put me over my discretionary calories for the day. I can’t make a judgment on someone else’s food plan because that would put my personality before OA’s principles."

Ms. PJ Geek said...

I struggle with black and white thinking too. I agree that it's hard to judge someone's abstinence and only you can do that with your sponsor's help . There were definitely a lot of really good parts of your day and it sounds like you really relished so much of the time.
You faced the challenge of eating out with family, I'm guessing randomly, which for me is a shaky thing. I typically plan out what I'm going to eat or at least I look up calories to plan other options and then I feel pretty comfortable eating out. The lack of structure on the weekends is also a challenge for me. I planned out my food this weekend and included 2 meals out which I got exactly what I wanted in the calorie range I wanted to use and didn't feel deprived.

Since your freshly working on your definition of abstinence , maybe you and your sponsor can discuss how to count the days. I encourage you to discuss and plan for how to approach meals out and define what options you will allow yourself so you don't look back on a situation and feel like it was good in one way but a failure in another.

WillingWill said...

I think I have little to add in the way of helping answer the questions that you posted, however, I do feel that it is something that you, your sponsor and HP may receive intuition on looking at what happened.

For me, I was a champion dieter prior to OA. I spent money, time and my life on trying to find the "perfect" way to eat what I want, lose weight and not feel bad about what I was doing. Of course, I never found it and when I started working the Steps, I gave up the search.

Today, I work the steps, have a food abstinent since 2007, sponsor others and am sponsored as well.

For me, as a sponsor, as well, I have come to the understanding that our food plan is a tool, as it is described in our literature and abstinence is refraining from compulsively overeating. For me, compulsively overeating was not going over a certain amount of was the action of continually feeding myself with food...good food, bad food, healthy food, natural, food and more food...that is what I was doing before program.

Today, I have a perfect abstinence (3 meals a day w/ 2 snacks) on an imperfect food plan (calorie range), so I know what I am doing with my food and what it is also doing to me, as well.

Being a champion dieter, for me, and I don't speak for anyone else in or out of program, but for me, if I were to base it on a calorie count, I would always feel as if I am fighting something, but again, that is because for me, as a former dieter, that is what it comes down to.

If someone has never dieted or it is not an issue for them, then they could use calories to define their abstinence and I wish them well...but for me, it had to be something else.

I also read the Plan of Eating (Dignity of Choice) pamphlet from OA which also helped to provide some clarity for me as a member of OA.

Regardless of whether you decide to start over or move forward from here and incorporate what took place into your program, I wish you well and remember, one day here is better than a minute out there alone.


Locked Professional said...

I agree with Jess only you know what abstinence is to you. For some if they looked at my food plan they would say no way you can't eat that! With me its about mindfullness and if I don't eat mindfully (even if its coffee or hot chocolate or a salad) I know it and that is not abstinence for me.
The realization, stopping and writing are using the tools that keep you going. I am really new to this but I love the encouragement and success I feel from watching others succeed. You saying no to me is a success

Anonymous said...

I was just asking myself this question a little over a week ago. I ate something that I was unhappy with, and then I said, I'll count today if the rest of the day goes well. It didn't, so I didn't. But you stopped yourself...For my abstinence is not scarfing down unplanned food with abandon. I KNOW when it's a binge. I just don't always admit it to myself.