This Spring, I led a half-day workshop in Phoenix focusing on the similarities and differences between working the programs of Overeaters Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. Such discussions necessarily bring up many paradoxes, conflicts, and questions about modification and flexibility. During the afternoon, I was asked how things changed to make me more flexible with my food plan. I knew it was important when I cried at the podium before the answer came out of my mouth. I explained simply with tears streaming, “I stopped being afraid.”
So, I am writing a new book that will cover what happens in ongoing recovery to help us relax while still having a healthy respect for the difficulty and danger of getting too loosey goosey. How do we walk the middle path confidently, fearlessly, and respectfully? We’ll be looking into self-talk necessary to keep us on the path.
At the Phoenix workshop, we discussed avoiding the Dead Zone. That is when we stop seeking emotional and spiritual growth. We lose that recovery glow and instead choose to rest on our laurels or complain that this recovery way of life is just too much work. We may give up seeking our own personal truth and instead move into just following orders, going along, or silently sneering. A return to compulsive overeating is not far behind.
To Lose the Fat Risk, We must Live “At Risk”
Even though ongoing recovery helps us stop fearing food, we still need to stay somewhat afraid in order to keep a finely tuned edge. We need to extend comfort zones, trying on new ways of being. It’s like when the yoga teacher asks you to stretch just a little further into your own sweet discomfort. Resting comfortably in the barcalounger decreases your world and can head you back into self-destruction. The actress Helen Hays advised, “To rest is to rust.”
In life, as well as with food, I balance vulnerability and risk. I stay primed like an animal in the wild, alert and trusting my instincts. This keeps me attentive to my disciplined food plan and continuous weight maintenance.
Our battles are more internal than external, but equally challenging. We continue to gain more insight and awareness about our approach to moderate eating and how to lead an extraordinary life in a culture so steeped in addiction.