Friday, June 3, 2011

Incorporating nothing into your day

Wednesday night I had dinner with some women friends. Several years ago we were part of a circle of trust where participants convened to ask questions of someone seeking clarity on an issue. The work was very intense and helpful at times. We hadn't seen each other all together in 3 or 4 years. After all the initial greetings, we went deeper and Anna shared her 3-year journey of recovery from food addiction.

Anna's been thin all the time I've known her and so I fell immediately into that trap of "You? You can't have food issues. You're thin." Of course, I didn't say this, I just thought it and then caught myself. Food addiction isn't about weight, it's about emotional and spiritual needs that aren't getting met in healthier ways.

Anna belongs to a 12-step group, Food Addicts Recovery Anonymous (not Overeaters Anonymous). She referred to it as a Nazi group, as the suggestions of other 12-step programs are requirements here. It's a strict program of abstinence (in Anna's case, sugar and all flour) and other activities. While the food abstinence has been challenging and helpful, the most significant change that Anna has made is another of the program's requirements: 30 minutes of quiet time a day with no activity.

She said this has changed everything for her. She is calmer, happier, more open in her relationship with her spouse, kinder to her clients and friends. Of course, the program is multi-facted (journaling practice, meetings, sponsorship, working the steps) but of all the things she does, this has made the most difference. Out of that quiet has come a meditation practice and a spiritual connection she didn't see as possible.

Something worth considering.

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