Celebrating With Abstinence
For over three years I have enjoyed the blessings of abstinence and recovery from compulsive overeating. How do I get through holidays and events abstinently? The answer is clear: no matter what the season, event or circumstance, abstinence continues to be the most important thing in my life without exception. "Whatever it takes," as we say in the rooms. We learn to follow spiritual principles and to live life on life's terms.
Societal pressure abounds with holiday celebrations. But for me, celebration is about maintaining solid and vigilant means of staying the course with my recovery. I don't waver from the way I live when holiday time is here. I've learned to replace comfort food with other comforts: relaxing with a warm bath; cuddling under my electric blanket with a good book; spending time with my sponsees; working with the various levels of program service; praying and meditating; spending time with my friends, family, hobbies, and music ministry; and expressing myself as a budding writer.
The habit of staying close to these truths and living out the Steps has helped me maintain my footing and stability. In my addiction, I always found reasons to celebrate with food. Now I celebrate with abstinence! This makes holiday celebrations a completely different experience. I can be available for others as well as take care of myself. I no longer live with the insane focus, pain and guilt of compulsive overeating. I can give thanks and celebrate this freedom daily, not just during the holidays.
Because I've forgiven others and myself, I have a deeper appreciation of God's amazing grace and love. I find ways to give that love, appreciation and understanding to others.
The gift of giving is tied in with service, and it keeps on giving year round. Nothing is more celebratory to me than seeing someone's face light up or getting an email message saying someone finally feels hope. It's not my doing, because my Higher Power is working through me in the lives of others, but I can be a messenger in recovery and help bring hope to those who feel hopeless.
I find joy and fulfillment and get back more than I give. My focus and lifestyle put me on a different playing field of a higher purpose for living.
Celebrating with abstinence rocks!
This article appeared in Lifeline, November 2010, p. 14, Copyright Overeaters Anonymous Inc.
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