got an email today from a blogger friend in relapse. i'm sharing my response here in case it might help anyone else:
relapse is terrifying and i hear/feel your pain/fear. please know that i am praying for you as i type.
unhealthy recovery groups are sometimes more of a hindrance than a healing space. i am so sorry for that. our group is so small and it's taking quite some time to get things to a healthy place. we're the only one in a 90 minute drive radius, so it makes it hard when it's not scratching where i itch - but i "keep coming back" because i know that it's the place i need to be.
one of the things that helps me is to pray that there will be ONE THING that i can get from each meeting - just one thing - and i pray for that and the ears to hear it (i do this with my therapist too - actually even in conversations with friends too) - god just give me one golden thread to follow here - and make it shiny enough for me to see it - and then help me follow it to where you want me to focus.
i figure that if god can use a donkey to speak his truth he can use anything in my life to speak to me if i'm willing to listen.
baby steps for me are the key to my recovery. finding one right thing i can do, give up, set aside for a couple of weeks so that i can get some victory and momentum going. cold turkey & extreme measures NEVER work for me - if i have to give everything up it's easier to throw in the towel.
first i pray to be willing to be willing - and god answers that prayer. then i make a list of my binge foods - what is the chemical & emotional triggers that are setting me spinning? then i pick one - for me it started 9+ years ago with chocolate - i knew that was my biggest trigger and caused me the most shame. i was eating a box of little debbie swiss rolls by my self (in one sitting) each and every day. so i took chocolate off my list - i still ate sugar (actually zebra cakes each and ever day at the beginning) - just to get the chocolate and it's chemical dependence out of my system. i didn't shame myself for the zebra cakes - they weren't part of my current abstinence - it was a baby step. when i was able to get about 3 months under my belt i made another choice - the victory from being able to succeed at something (anything) meant that i wasn't as big of a loser as i had felt before i started - and that victory moved me to take another baby step. i have had 9 years of tiny baby steps - all based on victories, not shame and not extremes.
extremes are self defeating. they are dieting. and i am as compulsive about dieting as i am about eating. i cannot diet. diets rip each and every food out of our system - and i believe that we were meant to enjoy food - communion is a good thing.
the other thing that i have found out in this past year is that i am probably hypoglycemic - and that not eating filling, regular meals at regular times was causing me to need to snack. by eating 3 very filling, varied meals - lots of proteins, complex carbs and fruits & vegs - and i mean lots - my meals are not diet meals - i am full after i eat every meal - no dieting for me - it allowed me to make it to my next meal with my blood sugar intact. i think that for most of my life that panicky feeling that comes when my blood sugars dropped caused me to binge and break my abstinence.
i think that most oa's shame themselves for enjoying a real meal and still worry about what others think about what you put on your plate. i have stopped worrying about that - i know my body - and it's working. it's almost like i have kicked in my metabolism to it's proper place. i don't eat empty calories - and i don't eat my binge foods - and i do eat with relish everything else - and i enjoy it - and my body feels good - and my brain feels good and my emotions feel good.
something has clicked and i like it. it's not a food plan that works for everyone and they would probably kick me out of a meeting for saying some of this - but i don't think god intended for me to despise food - it is one of my basic needs, and it's something that is used to bring community and wholeness to people - i think that making food the enemy really goes a long way in defeating most oa-er's - it doesn't need to be my best friend any more - but it definitely doesn't need to be my enemy either. i'm not fighting the food anymore. i feeling my feelings (most of the time) :D and trying to learn from them.
figuring out why some foods have an emotional hook to them too has helped me greatly. binging on cookie dough was more about the fact that it brought back the memory of my grandmother coming to visit and make cookies with me - nurture me and care for me, and that my parents were always on their best behavior and that we felt like a real family during those times - that's really what i was hoping cookie dough would give me - it never did... but finding out why that had it's hooks into me helped so much. figuring out ways to nurture myself, to find other women who nurture me - and to take that lack and that want to god and allow it to be lack has helped that food to loose it's power of me. and i know that when it's calling to me again i can use that as a flag to remind me that i'm low on my nurture tanks and need to do some good self care and some interaction with healthy, nurturing people.