It's been a while since I posted, but I am still alive and well, working my program one day at a time. My back-to-back abstinence date is August 10, 2010, and - last I checked - I had lost 41.2 pounds from my most recent high of 232.2 pounds (June 5, 2010), 26.2 of that in the H.O.W. program.
I'm writing today from the Nashville area, where my family is staying with my wife's brother and his family. We drove here on Wednesday, and then yesterday, we drove up into western Kentucky for Thanksgiving dinner with my dad's extended family. Lots of cousins, aunts and uncles, and my parents. We drove back here to Nashville last night, and we'll head back to Oklahoma tomorrow or Sunday.
I want to write about Thanksgiving. Specifically, How I Survived Thanksgiving Dinner With The Family. I wrote this brief reflection in my journal this morning:
It was a good day in so many way. Oh, there were triggers, let me tell you. There was my Aunt C.'s lemon meringue pie, for instance, a pie I have always binged on. I'm talking since childhood. To the point that she would bring it "just for me" because she knew how much I loved it. Oh how I love that pie.
And then there was the whole host of other Thanksgiving-type food... you know, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, turkey and ham, chicken and dumplings, etc. Nothing new here. But so tempting. And these are the types of foods and the kind of occasion that would have, in the past, caused me to decide to "just give myself a little treat" and "start over tomorrow." How many times did I do that?
Not this time. And I knew I wouldn't. As I told many of my program friends in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, I wasn't worried about slipping, about losing my abstinence. I was worried about how to stay abstinent without drawing undue attention to it. I was worried about how to stay abstinent without hurting Aunt C.'s feelings when I refused her lemon meringue pie. I was worried about what to say when people asked why I wasn't eating.
Well, first of all, I was strategic. My wife and kids and I turned it into a game. First, location. We chose spots in the far corner, far away from the buffet tables. Next, "act as if." I grabbed a plate, got in line with my 9-year-old daughter, and filled a plate full of food for her, walking along as if it were mine. Then I started "taking orders" for my family... potatoes for J., ham for Z., macaroni and cheese for E.... and I walked through the line, amongst cousins, uncles and aunts, filling a plate with all these orders. I took it back to the table, offloaded a bunch of it onto their plates, and then sat with a very messy plate - remnants of the food I had brought back for them - in front of me. I got up many times, grabbing this and that for people, getting myself another cup of Diet Coke, grabbing napkins for people.
And you know what? I won the game! Not one person noticed I wasn't eating. Not one.
As I drove away, I was talking with my wife about the day, and it occurred to me that not only did no one notice, no one cared. Not in a cruel or insensitive way, just as a matter of fact. There were nearly 40 people there, and everyone was into what they were into... No one was paying attention to the food I was or was not eating. In fact, only one person commented on the 40 pounds I've dropped since I was there last Thanksgiving. People were concerned with their own kids, their own situations, their own plates full (or not) of food.
I used to think I was the center of the universe. Yesterday was one of those ego reducing experiences this program talks about. I'm grateful today that I can humbly go about the business of remaining abstinent, I can do what's right for me and I can be of service to others.
God, I offer myself to Thee, to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love and Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always. Amen.