Thursday, January 6, 2011

What is a commitment?

My friend Carole commented yesterday on the posting about chocolate in the mail by saying that she was in awe of my commitment and in some despair about her inability to stick to her resolves (Carole, I hope I'm pararphrasing you correctly). So today and yesterday I've been thinking about some of the things that might be contributing to my commitment to not eating dessert.

First, I did a lot of deep personal work to get to this place. I'd been in this conversation with my spiritual director for about three years. It wasn't as if I just got disgusted one day and swore off dessert. I learned many things in my deep conversations with Anna. And I gave up my true love, ice cream, about 6 months earlier. So I prepared myself sort of bit by bit and addressed some of the deep emotional reasons for my behavior. I don't know if I would have had this kind of success without all of that work.

Second, I knew I was ready. I didn't have to talk myself into anything. I didn't do it from a "should" but rather from a "want to." The "want to" was not "I want to not eat sugar"--the "want to" was "I want to not live in shame and guilt around what I'm eating." The shame and guilt I felt around the quantity of unhealthy sweet foods I was eating was eating me, and I wanted that to stop.

Third, I knew there was emotional and spiritual healing that could happen if I could get sugar out of the way. I'd have to let go of the rest of my numbing behaviors to create space for that all to happen, and sugar was the most immediate first step.

Fourth, I have more than 20 years of 12-step work around abstinence under my belt. That has given me some very valuable tools.

I don't know if my path is helpful to others. I just know that this is what has worked for me so far.

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