Great topic, don’t quit before the miracle. My mind went not so much to the issue of quitting before it, but to the miracle itself – and the fact that I am abstinent today is indeed a miracle, and I’m not using that word lightly. By miracle I mean that something happened to me by a power greater than myself, that there is absolutely no way I could have ever achieved it by my own devices. No amount of willpower, discipline, wishing, hoping, chastising myself… would ever have relieved my obsession continuously.
I emphasise “continuously” because I’m like the alcoholic in the Big Book who quit for a few months – on self-knowledge, on motivation, whatever, and then gets caught out and without even thinking takes that first drink… and a few hours later hits himself over the head, baffled and defeated, not understanding what had happened. I had no continuous defense against the first bite. I would start to feel better, relax my iron grip on myself – because there is no way I can keep an iron grip on anything for the rest of my life – and there I went, baffled because the condition hadn’t gone away after all, and the phenomenon of craving hit again.
Two miracles happened to me, personally. I know it’s not the same for everyone. But for me, there were two distinct miracles once I completely and utterly admitted defeat and was ready to do anything whatsoever to be relieved of my condition:
- The craving was removed.
At the end of my eating days, I was deadlocked in an absolutely rigid, inescapable pattern. I would be able to diet for two weeks, starting on a Monday. I would get through the first weekend. Sometime around the end of the second week, craving would develop. I would resist it, sometimes for days – and when I talk about craving here, I’m talking about an absolute obsession with one particular food (probably different each time) that would be on the forefront of my mind every waking minute, everywhere I went, in everything I did. I could not outrun it, and it would not go away. That particular food was there, and no matter how desperately I tried to make it go away or out-wait it… it never did go away, until I broke down. It literally wore me down.
When I became Greysheet abstinent, I abandoned myself to the programme entirely but must admit that I didn’t hold much hope beyond two weeks. But the miracle was that this inescapable craving never happened again… there is absolutely nothing I did or could have done to make it go away, it was relieved by a power greater than myself.
- I was given a continuous defense.
Before I entered the two-week wheel I was on for so long, there were sometimes periods of perceived sanity: not that I ever ate like a normal person, but that I didn’t binge, either because I was on a diet or was filling up my belly with “non-caloric” vegetables until I literally could stomach nothing more. There were long periods of low-carb dieting, which meant that I avoided the physical trigger; however, my mind is not normal and so I was overeating on allowed things. I am an overeater by nature, whether or not I have sugar. But what I’m saying is, whatever diet I was on or perceived sanity I achieved for a while, there came the inevitable downfall. Sometimes even unintentional, just a bite here or there because I could handle it. Like the man with whiskey in his milk. Then a second. And another. I was exactly the same! I may have had a defense within myself for periods of time (although the more my condition progressed the less I was able to hold on), but the defense always failed. Always. I’m only human, after all.
But a power greater than myself has been keeping me safe for 2 years and and 3 months or so now, and I trust that this will continue. There is no way I could have accomplished this in my own power for this length of time.
Now, I believe that the first miracle was one that needed to happen to me because I was in this deadlock. But I have seen people recover who have had to white-knuckle their way through early abstinence, trusting that the craving would eventually go – and it always does. Sadly, I can’t give anybody what my higher power has given me. It’s just not up to me. I didn’t ask for it, I didn’t pray for it, I just received it. I was desperate. So I have no insider tips, ways to “get it”… just pray and believe that there is indeed a power greater than ourselves who could relieve our insanity, and would, if he were sought. (that’s a Big Book quote).
But I do believe that the second miracle is the one available to every single recovering compulsive overeater. After all, that’s why we are told to throw outselves onto a higher power of our own understanding – the programme doesn’t work without that, because no power of my own could relieve my condition. I have no question about that in my mind.
So, for today, I don’t eat no matter what… may the miracle continue! – and I trust it will as long as I don’t take my own will, my own power, back.