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Feeding my need

Shedding pounds while shedding pain

I have often thought, where does my obsession with food come from. I grew up in a normal home, with loving parents, grand parents and close extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. It was a home filled with laughter and love and I was given every opportunity to succeed and thrive yet I made some strange choices.

I have always had this emptiness, this need to feed. I was extremely shy but pretended not to be. I was also the surviving eldest child of my parents, the first grandchild for both sets of grandparents and the baby in the family for my immediate aunts and uncles. I was given so much attention and I loved it.

My grandparents were the survivors from Holocaust Europe having lost so many family members and carrying so much sadness and a zest for joy and survival that is indescribable. They left their homes in Europe with very little and build up new lives from scratch in a country where they had to learn a new language, new skills and new culture. Building homes, communities with a determination to succeed and thrive, especially since they bore such a loss in their hearts. In my grandparents lived the happy memories of better times around food, the table and their connection to their lost lives and families. So much attention was given to planning for meals and events, preparing for them, serving them and enjoying them that it was almost a vocation. To such a degree that my paternal grandmother remembered dates by what she made, and who was at the table.

Every time they looked at me they told me to eat something. Food was the cure all for every ailment – sadness, pensiveness, loneliness, anxiety – food for the soul, they would tell me. We were never that wealthy always got what we needed and money was spent on food, entertaining, education and travel. I am manipulative I realized when I was young that if I asked for something material there was a 50/50 chance of getting it but if I said I was hungry the answer was always why don’t you have some of this or this. I developed a hunger for this type of attention. The type that warmed me from the inside out and filled me up from my toes up. I could feel it, I could stuff myself so much to the point of being uncomfortable – filled with love. People couldn’t believe how much I could eat but they also didn’t see how much I purged to be able to keep stuffing and filling myself. You see even though we had a lot of laughter we never discussed our feelings. Feelings were too painful, they would open up cans of worms of things that my Grandparents didn’t want to feel or think of. It was easier and more delicious focusing on stuffing down our feelings.

I used to tell myself that I love food, until I realized that I should love me. The food choices I made weren’t always the healthiest the fatty, salty, sweet each had a different affect on me, my brain and how I felt. My brain and body were at odds, as I was loving myself with food, my body was getting clogged, bogged down and beaten up. My health started to deteriorate, so did my relationships, my world got smaller and I had to make different choices. My body was collapsing under the weight I was carrying, the yoyo dieting, the extreme measure – the abuse. My life had become unmanageable, that was 18 months and 130 lbs ago. Today I’m blessed to be in recovery and I have come to realize that there are many ways to feed my soul, food is not one of them happiness, good health that enables me to enjoy the world around me and for this I’m grateful.

Shedding pounds while shedding pain

I was a slave & the message of Passover

Today my substance of choice is food, I am a compulsive overeater, an addict.  I have had many addictions, swapping one out for another but my primordial addiction is food, I am also many things I’m a Mother, sister, friend, wife and a Jew.  I wear many hats all of which, as an addict, I have to wear perfectly.  This time of the year is especially meaningful to me.  One of the things that I love about my religion are the imbued layers of meaning, traditions and preparation.

Passover cleaning goes beyond the physical and extends into the soul (Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky).  In preparation for Passover, as a traditional Jew I spring clean our home, my car and my office for all the remnants of chometz/ hametz, and replace our everyday crockery, silverware, pots, pans etc. with our Kosher for Passover ones.  I buy only kosher for Passover meats, fish, products and lots of fresh produce as I’m a cook and hostess.  Getting through and feeding a family over 8 days takes planning, preparation and stamina.

To me Passover is significant historically, metaphorically but also from a communal cultural perspective:

  1. Historically we should never forget our past – Passover reminds us of the times when we as Jews were slaves in Egypt.
  2. To commemorate this event Jewish people participate in and at a Seder where they recount the journey. This is a communal event that includes young and old and much preparation.
  3. Seder also means order, it also ensures continuity over time.  Doing things the same way at the same time.  No matter if you are a Jew in the USA, UK, South Africa or Australia we have a seder in the same way.
  4. Chometz/Hametz is the leavening that makes dough rise, we don’t eat it.
  5. For some religious Jews they only eat things that can be peeled and don’t use any spices other than salt, lemon, garlic, peppers. Going back to basics and alleviating all additives, preservatives and artificial elements

As an addict Passover has some other significant spiritual meanings to me:

  1. When Moses told the Israelites to flee many were terrified. Terrified of change and the unknown, some questioned if remaining as slaves wasn’t better?  They rationalized a terrible situation to make it a better option.  This is like me when I’m using, or getting the urges to use/ dealing with my cravings and or fighting going into or being in recovery.  Admitting that I have a problem and my life is unmanageable
  2. When the Jews arrived at the banks of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army in hot pursuit, it took an unknown man, not Moses to be the first person to step into the raging waters, which then as his foot touched them the waters parted and there was a clear path on land. This action took courage and kept everyone moving forward.  Starting my journey in recovery takes courage and I have to keep moving forward, step by step a slow process to the other side.
  3. Seder the order, reminds me not only as a Jew but also as an addict how there is a continuation, an ebb and flow when there there is order and structure, there is no confusion. Like in nature the day starts at dawn at sunrise and end in the evening at sunset, the seasons come and go.  I like order and I operate better within a structured environment, knowing what my triggers are and abstaining from them them, weighing and measuring my food, being accountable helps me in my recovery.
  4. Chometz/ Hametz symbolizes my ego. The leavening the puffing up of me.  My need to control everything and everyone in my world sends me into relapse.  When my world becomes all about me and I lose sight of the my spiritual connection, when I isolate and get into my head everything becomes about me.  When my ego and my will take over my Chometz/ Hametz my world spirals out of control and my twisted mind takes over and disaster ensues.
  5. Cleaning up and clearing out. Abstaining from elements that have become staples – bread, pepper, ketchup, corn syrup, corn, legumes etc.  Makes me appreciate them when I can eat them after 8 days.  The spiritual lessons that I get from this as an addict is:
  • To have a Kosher Passover abstinence is key
  • To go without certain things that I tell myself that I need won’t kill me, in fact I feel so much better without them.
  • Being a slave to my needs makes me enjoy my freedom even more.
  • Returning to basics – my house, my car and my body are clean. By practicing meditation and journaling my mind starts getting clean.

Going through these 8 days of thinking about slavery, being enslaved and living in my desert when I’m in addictive addiction.  Today I’m extremely grateful for how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to share this time with my family as a clean person, to have a roof over my head, to have healthy clean food in our refrigerator, jobs to pay for it and my health.  I was granted another day to do the next right thing and it feels awesome.

I am truly blessed that I was given freedom from slavery had the courage to venture into the unknown, through a sea of turmoil.  Work my way through the desert and arrive at the promised land ~ living a healthy and happy life ~HeidE

I was inspired by an article I read, read it here or below

Recovery and secrets – blah, blah, blah!

It’s said that “we are only as sick as our secrets” – so here’s mine!!!

Today I am having a difficult time with the whole “recovery thing”. It’s not that I’m going to use (even if my brain thinks I want to – tricky thing the brain is), and it’s not that I’m going to stay in this feeling all day, but for the moment – recovery seems hard. I don’t always want to do “the next right thing”, and “see the best in everyone”, and “find the blessing in the situation”. Sometimes I get angry or upset or sad and I need to remember that that’s ok too – as long as I don’t sit in it for too long. Recovery HAS taught me that if I share how I feel, look at what I’m grateful for, and help another addict, it will keep me from using…and that if recovery was easy – EVERYONE would be doing it. So it’s not easy, but it’s certainly well worth it! But like I said…today I’m having a difficult with the whole “recovery thing”.

Stay strong, ~felice~

Weight Of The World

At a fork in the road?  Carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I am a compulsive overeater food addict.  In the past I would rather eat my feelings and I was miserable, obese – 120 lbs heavier, sick, tired and overall really unhealthy.  Today I’m healthy, happy, blessed and grateful to be in recovery. I’m now able to eat to live not like before where I was living to eat. I am able to do so many more things and enjoy the moment instead of obsessing about the food. What’s eating you? 

#recovery #addiction #gratitude 

My food cravings nearly killed me

I have been fastidious about eating clean, keeping to my eating plan and doing all those things I needed to do except surrender.  I have been in relapse mode for the past 2 weeks, I have been craving, obsessing and I know I have triggered my addiction, my allergy.  My downfall is  my ego and the space inside my head, I struggle with the concept of surrender, asking for help and being honest with myself and my emotions.  It started 3 months ago, with cinnamon Altoids.  For many this is not an issue for me this became a trigger, developing into a need to feed – I need to have something crunchy.  It started with eating one every now and again to eating one regularly, when in my car, when at my desk then it became eating 3 at a time, finishing a box in 2 days and a general escalation a need developed.  I also didn’t realize that need for crunch started triggering my cravings.  I started thinking of other snacks, nuts, fantasizing about potato chips, fresh breads and other starches and really obsessing over food again.

This past Friday night at 9pm, I was 355 Days 21 hours before my 1 year clean looking forward to getting my medal.  In fact I had mentioned this anniversary at home group meeting the week before.  I was blase and almost arrogant, as though it was a given, so close – guaranteed? I relapsed 4 hours, 240 minutes before celebrating 1 year clean.  The nature of my dis-ease is do detrimental and so severe that I hurt myself.  I’m an addict, a compulsive overeater, my downfall is my disconnect between my head and my heart = my obsessive mind and my drug of choice.

Heid that’s so innocuous you say.  Maybe but let me put it into perspective.

  1. I’m not hungry but I’ve developed a habit that went from counting cashews to eating a 5 oz bag every 2 days.
  2. Over the past few weeks I have been more irritable, disconnected and restless with extreme anxiety.
  3. Yes it’s protein but I have previously been hospitalized and almost died when my colon developed an ulcer and perforated from Diverticulitis.
  4. The past few times while indulging my impulses I haven’t enjoyed the food but I couldn’t stop.  I was using food to self soothe it started with liking the affect, almost getting high, feeling good.  Then it wasn’t feeling good anymore.
  5. After I fed my obsession, my compulsion I felt terrible, I was guilty and ashamed and I treated myself worse than I would ever treat anyone else.  Psychologically  I berated myself and I beat myself up.
  6. I spent Friday night, Sat, Sun and Monday in bed as I was in extreme pain and discomfort, praying to G-d to alleviate my pain and suffering and toying with the idea of going to the hospital.  I’m now on an extreme course of antibiotics and still recovering.
  7. After this binge, I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday remorseful.  Feeling terrible, berating myself, feeling worthless, feeling ashamed.
  8. I didn’t ask for help or call anyone.
  9. I can’t do this on my own in my own way anymore.
  10. I needed help and I didn’t ask for help because I thought that it would make me less than, make me weak, make me vulnerable and open me up to hurt.  So I took it on myself to become my worst enemy and hurt my best friend – me.

My problem is a disconnect of my head from my heart .  This is not my first binge but it is my first real awakening, that my ego is a problem.  I can’t keep doing things the way that I have in the past, relying on my feelings, relying on my reasoning, listening to me, my thoughts, my reasoning on my own without help.  Honesty – if I was honest with myself I would have noticed the progression that’s happened over the past few weeks.  I started snacking before going to sleep, my mind is so warped and my addiction so strong that I can justify to myself why that’s ok. Even though  I’m wasn’t hungry, because I had eaten dinner not so long ago.  Even though I didn’t want to but it becomes a need, a compulsion that I have to feed.  With all addicts it’s a thought that starts as a whisper and ends up as an all consuming scream that I chose to feed.   My head and heart are so disconnected that I felt compelled to start feeding my addiction, increasing my cravings and eating nuts as a snack before going to sleep.  The truth is feelings are not facts, when there’s a battle of emotion over intellect my emotions win, my head lies to me to feed my addiction because I am an addict., I have momentary lapses of reason and that’s why I do crazy things.  Why else would I do things to harm myself, think that it was okay and justify my actions and behavior afterwards. The question I have to face is do I want to be happy and healthy or right?

I always thought that being right made me happy how insane is that.  I want to be happy and healthy and I promise you over the past few days I have not been either.  In fact I’ve been miserable and sick.  Being in recovery for me is the answer, being in program, asking for help, relying on a higher power other than myself to help restore me to sanity because experience and my past behaviors have shown me that I can’t do it on my own. Acknowledging that I’m not perfect nor do I need to be is key to regaining my health.  It is my humanity that when I tap into it that helps my recovery.  When I tap into what’s eating me – acknowledging out loud when I’m scared, anxious, unhappy, bored and discuss it with another human being is when I stop isolating and using.  When I go to meetings, stay connected, use my food plan and tap into my higher power that I can stay free of obsession.  Being spiritually connected is key for my recovery being truly grateful that I have been granted another day is truly a blessing and being kind to myself is essential.

I may not be perfect and I am disappointed that I couldn’t celebrate my one year clean.  I fought back tears at the meeting on Monday night when I insisted on doing the coin presentation and congratulated a fellow addict on their 1 year clean but I am responsible for letting my ego get in the way and for picking up and for using.  You see my relapse may not seem like a relapse to others but it was to me.  What do you think?  Heid E

For all who struggle we invite you to join us for our free recovery meeting.  Participate in person if you are in SE Florida or call in via phone. Sunday mornings 9-10 am EST to accommodate our international friends. Share with anyone you know who is struggling and Register here.

My mind is a minefield




ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS AND THE ADDICTIVE PROCESS. Any activity, substance, object, or behavior that has become the major focus of a person’s life to the exclusion of other activities, or that has begun to harm the individual or others physically, mentally, or socially is considered an addictive behavior.
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