so much has been written on this subject i hesitate to even address it, but i've never heard my little rituals taught or spoken on before, so maybe they might help other people who struggle with addictions or compulsive behaviors??
today is day 1599 of my abstinence. tomorrow will be 1600 days linked together, but for today, just for today i commit to my abstinence.
the first thing i did was realize that it can only happen with baby steps. when you have a mountain to climb looking at the whole thing is far too discouraging. and i work better with tiny little steps that bring me victory - and then the victory spurs me on to another tiny step.
my first step was to eat three meals a day. i know for you without food issues this sounds so basic and stupid. duh. but for me i would always skip breakfast, always. i was too busy, not hungry, whatever - so by forcing myself to sit down and eat breakfast i was taking control of my food/appetite first thing in the day. ritual is important, it builds rhythm and starts to build positive habits to replace the negative destructive ones.
i did that for 2 weeks. then the next move i made was to limit myself to those three meals and a snack. and this was when it began to be more difficult. so i broke the day down. i would pray from the time i opened my eyes "dear god, please get me to breakfast without binging", and if i had to pray that prayer 10x i did. and at breakfast i prayed "dear god, thank you for getting me to breakfast without binging. now please get me to lunch without binging." and again, every time i was tempted i prayed, changed what i was doing if it was too hard or went out on the porch (or outside at work) to get a breath of fresh air, and prayed. then at lunch, well, i think you get the picture. breaking up the day into 6 sections (wake-breakfast, breakfast-lunch, lunch-dinner, dinner-snack, snack-bed, bed-wake) gave me manageable portions in the day, and small victories to power the engine of my recovery. one day at a time.
that's all i kept telling myself. i can do this just for today.
once those two weeks were up i headed toward chocolate. i knew it was a trigger food for me, and that when i ate it it was like a drug, i became emotionally affected by it, i knew it had to go. so, just for today i can not eat chocolate. i ate everything else (candy and junk food i wanted as part of my meals) but i didn't eat chocolate.
this was the most difficult part. i couldn't watch commercials, go shopping or have anything in the house. you need support, really strong support at this point in your recovery. my husband did the grocer shopping for me, and i watched tv with the remote in my hand. i cried, i spit and i prayed. once i got it out of my system though it wasn't as awful as i thought it would be. it's never easy, but it did get easier. when i did have to go into a store i would sit in my car and pray "dear god, you know i have to get these 3 things. please get me in and out of that store without buying anything not on my list and binging."
i maintained that for a couple of months before i addressed the sugar. and i did the sugar in the exact same way.
once i was able to get rid of the sugar i had serenity.
this for me was not about loosing weight, not about diet, not about getting thin. it was about recovery, healing and mental health. if the other stuff happened it was a side benefit. i wanted to create something that could be maintained for the rest of my life.
please know that i was in a support group and counseling during this time. i eat for emotional reasons - not because i'm hungry. those reasons are the causes of my addictions. my need to self comfort came from an ugly place of loneliness and anger, fear and self-loathing. shame and loneliness are my two biggest triggers.
it wasn't until my second abstinence (when i got pregnant with my son i wasn't ready for it and 'fell off the wagon' and we moved at the same time to a horrible little town in nowhere ontario canada) that i was able to deal with a sexual abstinence. i will explain that process at a different time.
this abstinence i currently have consists of no chocolate, no sugar (i do allow myself an occasional muffin or piece of banana bread, jello salad at a pot luck - but they don't cause me to binge) daily reading/devotional time with god and no masturbation/pornography.
(yuck, i didn't like having to type those last two words...)
i think i'm going to have to bite the bullet tomorrow and start to blog about my sexual addiction. please pray for me. i know that this is necessary, but it is mucking up a bit (okay, a lot) of shame, and as i stated above shame is a big trigger for me. i have been struggling with my food (not off limit stuff, just portion sizes, etc.) since addressing the more difficult subjects). thanks.