Some of you old-timers know that I am in recovery from eating disorders that were pretty severe at times. My old joke is that, as one who has suffered from both anorexia and binge disorder, I am an all-or-nothing type of gal.
While my daily diet might wax and wane between healthy and "Hey! Cheetos!", I have been much more vigilant about looking for the signs that my eating disorder is rearing its head. One of the things I chose to do was subscribe to the Hazelden Foundation's email encouragment, "Today's Gift." While it's geared mostly towards recovering alcoholics, I have found that four days out of five, there's something in the wisdom for me.
I've been struggling a bit. "Slipping" is not a word I like to use. When my eating disorder had me in some of its tightest clutches, I would tell fellow addicts that I had "slipped." None of us were truly recovering, but we liked to fool ourselves into thinking that we were by throwing around platitudes like, "It's okay, nobody's perfect" or "It was just a slip; you can recover from it if you start right now." Or, my favorite, "Be gentle with yourself."
Today, this was the email from Hazelden:
A common rationalization about not making the program goes like this: "Harry over there slipped ten times before he made it. So what if I slip a few times?"
What is overlooked is that the last time Jack slipped, he slipped into a coffin; the last time Bob slipped, his baby son burned to death in a crib because of Bob's negligence, the last time Ann slipped, she got strychnine poisoning and became blind; and the last time Jim slipped, he tried to kill his wife and nearly did.
We're not playing games here. This is a matter of life and death.
Have I stopped slipping?
Now, I know some of you are reading this and thinking, "Hey. This has nothing to do with me. Besides, isn't it a bit overblown? Doesn't it just apply to alcoholics and drug addicts?"
Stop. Think. Have you ever been scared that you were headed to an early grave because of the way you were eating? (Or, as the case may be, weren't eating?) Sounds like our hypothetical Jack.
The point I'm trying to make is this: Those of us who have stalled (me included), or who have lost and regained the same ten pounds over the same ten years, or fool ourselves into thinking we're "being gentle with ourselves" when we soothe our emotions with food, have GOT to stop. Now. Before it ruins our health and our lives and our families.
For me, I have decided that - just for today - I will eat healthfully. Just for today, I will shun the junk food and the fast food and the extra helpings. Just for today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.