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Hi. Auds here, sober and abstinent one day at a time, by the grace of God, this fellowship and my own effort.

For some reason I am hearing a lot about abstinence this week. I suppose that my higher power wants me to think about this incredible gift that I have lightheartedly given back so many times. Just for today I know that without my abstinence I don't have a life.

When I am ruled by my disease, I cannot leave the house. I need to be near the refrigerator. I cannot think straight when using. I am angry at myself; therefore, I am incapable of intuitively knowing how to handle situations which I handle well when I am sober and abstinent. When I listen to the whispers of my disease I block out the voice of my Higher Power. The how dare theys' intrude, and the oh just a little won't hurt becomes rational thinking.

The problem is that, for me, there is no such thing as just one and anger triggers bingeing. So just for today abstinence from sugar, trigger foods, eating in between meals, alcohol, and rage is the most important thing in my life without exception.

The program tells me that my recovery is dependent on my spiritual well being. I believe this is the basis of recovery. I need meetings to hear stories of where I have been and do not want to revisit. Rage, terror, and low self esteem are the gifts of addiction. Serenity, faith, the ability to handle situations which used to baffle me and self worth are the gifts of recovery. Why then would I ever relapse, or even think of any substance as worth using if I were going to lose the gratitude and the life I am enjoying at this moment?

The answer is simple, I am a compulsive overeater and alcoholic who is only one bite or sip away from a drunk. If I go to enough meetings I will hear the things that remind me of the reasons that I don't want to listen to those seductive whispers from my disease.

If just for today I deny my disease, the pleasure of saying no gets easier. If I truly make a commitment just for today to do two things I don't want to do, I feel self esteem when they are accomplished, no matter how inconsequential they are. I start by tidying my house, and filling the dogs' water bowls. Then most days, I walk for an hour in God's beauty in company with my sister's presence, my Higher Power, and my dogs who support me and entertain me. I return home to my breakfast and my computer, or garden. These things fill me with joy and peace. I want this state of being to continue so I want to abstain from the substances which take this serenity away from me.

I want to walk into rooms with the winners and be one of them. They are important to me. I want to look them in the eye and smile. I want to spend time with them hearing what my Higher Power wants me to hear. I want to laugh about shared character defects, and shared victories. I want to remember what relapse feels like.

I have found over the years that there is a comfort zone in eating what I plan. I don't plan (as I once did) to starve myself. I don't confine my eating to rabbit food, although I like rabbit food and eat a lot of it. I love veggies, but I don't restrict my food plan to low calorie and tasteless food. I have found that just for today I can measure my portions of non-trigger foods so that I feel happily fed. I drink a lot of tea and having taken trigger foods and alcohol out of my food plan I do not plan just for today to restrict my caffeine intake or restrict my food plan to include trigger foods of others.

My food plan is just that ... mine. When injury requires me to look at weight gain without loss of honesty in my abstinence, I have to pray for the willingness to delete certain foods which although not a trigger food are conducive to weight gain. I do not consider that I have lost my abstinence, that is a slippery place for me. A place where those seductive thoughts of my disease tell me that I might as well binge as I am no longer abstinent.

When these thoughts intrude I go for a walk, to a meeting, to my literature, or to my computer where I will get the strength to delete a food or merely reduce portion size. I will get back out the measuring cup knowing that my eye has lost it's perception.

When tempted to stay home I will go to a meeting where I hear victory over honest struggle. I hear honesty and recognize my progress not perfection. I believe we are supposed to pray the Seventh Step prayer which doesn't say take away all my shortcomings but rather says please take away those character defects which make it impossible for me to carry out Your will.

So for me just for today I will try to do the next right thing. I will get myself to places where I will hear what that next right thing might be. I will abstain from my addictions so that I will hear what is said. Just for today I will not imagine any good result from indulging my disease. I will share with my sponsor or another human being what my burdens are today. Then I will hear "how important is that, or I think you can do that dear."

I will trust that my higher power will guide me today to say and do those things that are right. I will pray my simple prayers, help, thanks and let me intuitively know how to handle things.

These are the acts which make my recovery possible and just for today I pray to my higher power for the willingness to do them.

As usual take what you need and leave the rest. This brings hugs and love from me and my Higher Power.

xxoo Auds

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