STEP ONE, PART 2
My name is Shlomo and I am a food addict and compulsive overeater.
In the previous post on step one, I shared about my body's abnormal
reaction to trigger foods. Now I want to share about my mind's abnormal
reaction to reality.
The physical disease of addiction affects my mind, which means that it
affects my thinking processes. My thinking and my perception of the
world around me is all twisted up and is called "stinking thinking"
in our fellowship.
One of the major manifestations of this is denial. Denial does not mean that I know I have a problem and deny it. That is called dishonesty. Denial means that I don't realize I have a problem even though the evidence of my life is hitting me over the head. At most I think it is some other problem or someone else's problem.
If, for example, I answer as honestly as I can the 20 questions, that should help me identify my trigger foods. And if some types of foods star in most of the questions and I conclude that I don't have trigger foods, but maybe I have a problem with food in general - that is denial. I honestly don't realize what my problem is, although all the evidence is in front of me.
The same thing happened to me with hard cheeses which contain a rather high percentage of fat. When I joined program, those cheeses were not part of my trigger foods. But as I said before, my disease is progressive, which also means that foods that were ok before, may turn after a time (usually some years) into triggers. That is what happened with those cheeses. But even though I worked the program, I didn't realize what was happening.
I began eating larger and larger quantities of those cheeses, and could not see that I had a problem. I gained weight and could not see that the cheeses were causing me to binge. It was my sponsor who noticed I had a problem. But still it took time and effort to get out
of the denial, and realize that I had an additional binge food. I could never have done that alone. That's why sponsors are so important. We sometimes think we can manage alone, but we cannot. I need the help of my fellowship friends, and I need the help of my sponsor to circumvent my stinking thinking and perceive the real situation.
So again my friends, I urge you to get a sponsor and share whatever you are
doing with him.
Remember even a simple thing like not identifying one of my trigger foods can keep me in the clutches of the disease and prevent me from advancing on the road to recovery. I cannot do it alone since I don't think straight. Especially were food is concerned. Trying to get out of denial by myself is like trying to lift myself by pulling my hair.
Another important manifestation of my twisted thinking is my obsession with food. Obsessive thoughts are thoughts that fill my head to the exclusion of everything else. My obsessive thoughts about food were that I can eat like other people, that I can take a small portion of a trigger food, that I am not really addicted to food. This obsession convinces me to begin taking the first addictive bite that causes cravings and eventual binges. This happens even when my body is clean of trigger foods and I don't crave them at that time. People who are not compulsive eaters don't have this obsession with food. Therefore if they are sensitive to a certain food substance they can decide not to touch it, and live without it for good. I cannot. My obsession will always convince me to return to my trigger foods. And eating them will always cause cravings and lead to bingeing. So I am trapped in a vicious cycle with no way out and no hope. I am defeated by this disease. When I realize and feel it deep inside me, I am ready to embrace the solution offered by the 12 step program.
The Big Book sums it up beautifully, in the following quotes:
"... the main problem of the compulsive eater centers in the mind rather than
in the body." page 23.
"At a certain point in the eating of every compulsive eater, he passes into a state where the most powerful desire to stop eating trigger foods is of absolutely no avail." page 24.
"The idea that somehow someday he will control and enjoy eating his trigger foods
is the great obsession of every compulsive eater. The persistence of this delusion
is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death." page  30.
1. If you still don't have a sponsor get one. Don't give up. Just grab hold of one and don't let go.
2. Go over your trigger food list with your sponsor. Discuss with him how you decided
what are your triggers. I suggest you follow the motto "WHEN IN DOUBT DON'T." It is much better to mistake some harmless food for a personal trigger than to assume
that a personal trigger is a harmless food. If you find it impossible to decide on your trigger foods than I suggest you adopt the full list of probable triggers presented in the previous step one share.
SUBJECTS FOR DISCUSSION AND SHARING:
1. Share about how the denial aspect of the disease affected your life.
Do you think you are still in some form of denial?
2. Share about your obsession with food and how it affected your struggles
to control your eating. Do you think that after identifying your trigger foods you can control your eating?
Have a nice day.
Shlomo, Step Leader
WTS 2002 Study, 1st Quarter