As a recovering emotional eater of 17 years with OA, I have learned a few things about myself during that time. When I attended 12 Step meetings on a regular basis, I used to introduce myself as having a tri-core addiction: bad relationships(codependency, compulsive spending and binge eating.) Wow! So, I have had my work cut out for me.
I am very pleased to say that through diligence and hard work, I am in a mutually happy and committed healthy relationship. In fact, this August we will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. If you have heard of the saying, “You have to kiss a lot of toads before you find your Prince Charming”, well, then you know part of my “story”. Having a great marriage and relationship just “didn’t happen”. I am fortunate that I met a man who also believes that. He works on our relationship equally. Has it been easy? No! Has it been amazing? Yes! Has it been worth it? Absolutely.
There is a school of thought that life presents us with lessons which we are “destined” to learn until we Master them. I am inclined to agree with this based on my personal experience. Some may call this “karma”. Some may simply call it “life”.
As for food and money: these are works in progress. I have been in serious debt (try $65K or more) in the past on more than one occasion and I did not have the means (or I thought that I didn’t) to be able to see my way out of that thick forest. I have also been so deep into my compulsive eating that I didn’t know what true physical hunger was.
Presently, my finances are extremely restricted because we are living on one income and my husband is self-employed. Since I have been down this road before (more times than I care to admit), I have learned a few things about how to navigate through these “uncertain waters”.
So, where do you start to “tame these beasts”? You start exactly where you are at today.
First thing you do is clarify your situation. How “bad” is “bad”? Not being able to buy your favorite latte from across a busy coffee shop counter is not a “financial crisis”. It is an inconvenience but you will survive.
If you are having trouble paying your basic bills then you are where I have been.
1)Don’t panic. If you are in a state of heightened emotions you are usually more prone to make mistakes and sometimes these can be costly. For example, do not think that living on credit cards is a good idea. It isn’t because if your income takes a downturn and you don’t have any way of paying those monthly committments you will have two problems instead of one: endangering your credit and your peace of mind.
2)Live within your means. This sounds simple but for most of us who have been accustomed to filling up the “empty spaces in our soul” with “stuff”, whether it is material goods or extra food, this will turn out to be liberating at some point in our journey.
3) Go through your monthly “expenses” at least every 3-4 months. I have been doing this for several years and I still find things that I really don’t need and can live without. The final determination is that “expense” worth my peace of mind? If I can answer that truthfully with a “Yes”. If I can’t live with that expense and still have peace of mind, it goes.
4)Declutter your closets, your kitchen, your garage and most importantly your life. In the past 16 months, I have donated close to 2 dozen large lawn Hefty bags of large sized clothing and other “material stuff”. Surprisingly, my walk-in closet is still quite full. I plan on giving away every larger size as I continue to lose this extra weight. I am leaving no back door for me to regain that weight.
5)Do not “define” yourself by your “stuff”. This is really scary for those of us who like to “keep up with the Jones”. Initially, we will feel insecure and “unsettled” because then we will have to ask ourselves an important question (that we have been avoiding all along anyway)” Who am I really?”
How do you begin to take a handle on your finances? Start with these simple steps I have listed here. I have more to say on this topic but this is enough for now.