This one’s for all of you OA peeps out there…
I was at a meeting recently talking to another member (love you, J!) about the intersection of Abstinence and Food Plan, which I’ve written about on this blog before. Some member of OA follow a weighed and measured or very specific food plan to the letter, and that is how they define their abstinence. They need to have black-and-white boundaries around their food. But for many OA members (including myself), they are not the same at all. Eat To Live/nutritarianism is my food plan, but it is not my abstinence. I’m less Grey Sheet, more Grey Area. And if you don’t know what I mean, check out this link: http://recovery.hiwaay.net/foodplans/.
I was also thinking about how all of my sponsors have told me that my concept of a Higher Power will change the longer I stay in recovery (they were 100% correct, as usual. Thanks sponsors!). So if my concept of HP can change, then why not my concept of abstinence? Since we get to “choose” our own definition of abstinence, that definition could change for each of us. At first, “the action of abstaining from compulsive eating and compulsive food behaviors while moving toward or maintaining a healthy body weight” looked like this:
In other words, a diet. Right now, abstinence for me means abstaining from bingeing and purging, animal products, compulsive exercise, diet pills, restricting my food/skipping meals (AKA dieting) and eating to oblivion. Eating to oblivion can happen on ANY food plan I choose. It can happen with so-called “healthy food”. I can eat to oblivion with no oil, air-popped popcorn, it just takes a loooooong time. Eating to oblivion is an extremely dangerous (and unfortunately seductive) behavior for me. As I am in recovery longer, I am seeing the subtlety of the actual behaviors more and more. Mostly now it’s not as much about what I eat. It’s how I eat it. Mind you, there are some foods that I avoid because they just have an immediate drug-like effect once they are in my mouth (hello, vegan donuts). It’s not because those foods are bad (joking pictures aside), they just are drugs for me, like alcohol or cocaine. Before I went vegan, regular cow or goat’s milk cheese was like this for me, too. I am glad that I can be more flexible with my personal concepts of both abstinence and a HP as I continue to trudge down the Yellow Brick Road of recovery. There’s room for all of us.