Friday, August 26, 2011
What Does Abstinence Mean To You?
My name is Charlie, and I'm a compulsive overeater.
I am in the fascinating and challenging process of re-defining my abstinence.
For the past year, my abstinence has been very clearly defined for me by the group with which I've been working the program, OA-HOW. I've written about that abstinence many times here on the blog, so I won't spell it out again tonight.
Before I found OA-HOW, my abstinence definition was unbelievably wishy-washy. It changed from day to day. I changed it without telling anyone. There was never anything... solid about it, so I never knew if I was abstinent or not. It was all about doing well or not doing so well.
I remember deciding that my abstinence would be simply this: Three meals a day with nothing in between. Even three huge binges would be fine. Believe it or not, I couldn't do it. That was my bottom. So far.
I think that's why I was so grateful to finally let go and let someone else tell me what I needed to do to stay abstinent. And I did it. For over a year. And my life changed dramatically for the better.
But now it's time to change again. I'm taking control back... or rather, giving control to God in a different way. I'm trusting God to help me define my own abstinence rather than simply submitting to someone else's definition.
I know it's time to do this, but I can't deny that it's a little scary for me. My addict mind is already plotting and planning... How could I eat some cake? What about McDonald's? Oh, how I would love a big Mexican dinner with chips and salsa. I can't go back there. I just can't.
What is your experience with/understanding of abstinence? OA's definition simply states: "Abstinence in Overeaters Anonymous is the action of refraining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while working towards or maintaining a healthy body weight." What's that mean for you? How's that working for you?