Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 84 Thoughts about abstinence

I did not struggle with abstinence when I got sober. I had cravings that I had to deal with, quite a few in the first months, but I had been a terribly sick drunk--daily vomiting, nausea, headaches--and I learned from an early sponsor to play the memory tape of that sickness any time I felt the urge to drink. When a drink sounded good, I'd play out the whole tape: drinking one, drinking a bunch, waking up sick, hungover, miserable, and unable to stop again. My aversion to that has been an extremely useful tool.

Abstinence with food is a much trickier situation. As I've said, I'm not finding it hard to abstain from wheat, dairy, and soy. I even sent back some asparagus at a restaurant today because it had come with a pat of butter on top (I'd asked for no butter). Not eating those things is keeping it simple for me. But I'm still learning what hunger is and what hunger isn't and I don't think I'm abstinent in the OA sense of the word:  free from compulsive eating.

I wasn't miserable before I got on this food plan. I felt okay. I didn't feel great and I do now. But I don't have the same tape of remembered horrors to play out that will keep me from another rice cake with almond butter or an extra helping of cashews. It's the future possibilities that are the issue (health problems from obesity) and that's a different kind of carrot and stick to hold out in front of me.

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