View Full Version : Fighting for Your Abstinence & Sanity w/ Friends & Family
01-11-2011, 04:42 PM
I am struggling with a situation at work. I am posting it under this section of the board because my work life is much more community/family atmosphere than a work atmosphere. I currently live and work with up to 15 other women at a time. Part of my compensation is room and board, including food. Part of my expectations as a community member (even as a staff member) is to share in one community meal per week with everyone. Since I begin my abstinent journey in June of 2010 I have experienced a great deal of confusion, anger, jealously, contempt, etc. around the food that I eat. There are some who think that I am silly for making the choice I have, and others who are envious because they would like to eat the way that I eat and/or experiences the promises of the program. Several of the clients my organization serves (2/3 of the women I live and work with are clients and 1/3 are staff members) have started to eat abstinent food.
Today everything came to a head and our community dinner, and the fact that I and two of the women bring our own food was brought up in our weekly staff meeting. There was a lot of frustration that I and the other women did not have to eat what the client and/or staff prepared for the meal. I equaled my abstinence to a diabetics inability to eat sugar or a vegetarians inability to eat meat. I also explained my frustration and thoughts on force feeding people something that they do not want to eat. I think that part of the issue for people is that they want to maintain a community environment and on the other side they are envious of the food that I am eating. I would eat the food prepared for the entire community if it was abstinent, however in general there is not one part of the meal (even the salad) that is prepared abstinently.
I feel like I am rambling right now. I am just becoming aware of how warped our societies view is on food. I am frustrated that I am coming up against such a huge wall for wanting to take care of myself and for supporting women in their choice to take better care of themselves. This situation has shown me how important my abstinence is to me and how much I am willing to give up to maintain it - my work, life, friends, etc.
How does everyone else maintain their abstinence and sanity when the main support systems (outside of people in recovery) in your life are not supportive of your choices and your new way of life? It seems backwards to have to fight to be healthy within an organization/community that was formed to help people better their lives.
01-11-2011, 05:14 PM
well im not sure what you wrote cause im a little bit slow but once i started changing the way i eat people started to respect me because before i would eat a lot of junk food and everytime i would put something into my mouth like a doughnut or something sweet my mom would yell at me and tell me not to eat it. so for years i started to hide my food in my room. my dog started to tell on me by following me real close and stiffing out the food so that's when i realized i had a food addiction. i told my mom since i found this site that i was going to try to abstain from eating all kinds of meat and stick to eating just fruit and veggies. she said that she would like to go on the diet with me. now i feel like i have support. before my mom was too embarrased to go anywhere with me. now that she sees im trying she treats me better.
if i understood you correctly i would think that you shouldn't have to be forced to eat anything you don't want.
01-12-2011, 05:32 AM
Welcome to FAA Online Support, jrodgers!
And congratulations on your abstinence this past 6-7 months; that is a wonderful achievement.
I was not abstinent at the time, but I did have a job once as the Manager of the overnight shift in a home for teenage girls with emotional and behavior problems. The girls cooked a community breakfast, served it, and cleaned up afterward each morning while the staff (including me) helped them stay on target. We all ate together, as you are describing in your situation for your weekly dinner.
I also have the experience of early 12 Step recovery (it's been many years in recovery now) from alcoholism. At that time, I worked with a team and we occasionally went to lunch as a group, about 10 of us altogether. I still had that mentality that it was sociable and necessary to be part of the drinking crowd, which this group did. I remember that first lunch when I said "no" to a drink. A guy on my team sitting next to me started really pressuring and pushing me to have one. I didn't want to share the fact with him and the team that I was now a sober, recovering alcoholic and it was a bit tough standing my ground. Not that I was tempted to have a drink, but I felt extremely uncomfortable with his insistence. I had a real moment of clarity with him, though, as he was doing this... I saw that the problem wasn't that I wouldn't have a drink; the problem was him!
This is how I feel about protecting and taking care of my abstinence too. I know that this is life & death for me. What I am doing (following the suggested FAA food plan, as the physical part of my recovery from food addiction) is non-negotiable. The people I see in social situations have seen me come with my own food. They have also known me for years when I weighed twice the amount of a normal person my height. Not everyone knows I am in FAA (some do, though) but I feel that taking care of myself is my business and my duty. What one FAA member said to someone who was giving her the kind of grief you are describing, is: "What is it about me taking care of myself that bothers you so much?"
If people in your community are envious of the way you eat, and yet are unwilling to eat that way themselves... then, I'd say that's their problem! After all, two of the other women did make the choice to eat as you do. If others don't make that choice, it could be that you are dealing with food addicts who are seeing their disease in the mirror of your budding recovery. No active addict likes that when they are not ready to deal with their issue!!
Would preparing an abstinent meal for the one community dinner each week be an option? Food addicts can't eat non-abstinent food in safety, but everyone can eat abstinent food safely! Maybe they could have a dessert and an extra side dish (mac & cheese, for instance) to offer those who want it. If you don't have the authority to make that decision, could you take whoever does (director?) into your confidence and explain your wishes for the Community Dinner to offer food you can have yourself, you and the two other women? Just a thought....
In the meantime, it does get easier to deal with people because of growing in experience and recovery. I hope you are addressing the other two sides of food addiction~ the emotional and the spiritual. We do that with our sponsors by working and applying the Twelve Steps of recovery in our lives. "Consider the source" sometimes helps when I realize I'm dealing with someone who's perhaps sick in their own right. And it's also helpful to have a look at it from their viewpoint: they are preparing a meal and perhaps feeling rejected by you and the two others in some way. "Reject my food: reject me!" kind of thinking, maybe? But then, how about also coming back to our own side of the street? For instance, what is it about me that is so disturbed by what others think of me? Do I need their approval? If it were a matter of life and death, could I let go of needing or wanting their approval?
I have a suggestion for you, jrodgers. If you would, it would be nice if you could come back to FAA's Online Support and let us know how you are working through this. Not only is it a tool for your own recovery to share your experiences (and strength, and hope) with others, but it might very well be just the thing someone else needs to see for their own recovery.
Keep up the good work with following your food plan and protecting your abstinence, jrodgers. I'm so glad you're part of FAA with us! Keep coming! :P
01-13-2011, 03:48 PM
Thank you for posting here on the FAA Online Support. My name is Diane and I am a food addict who is very grateful for my FAA abstinence one blessed day at a time. I have been in FAA recovery for the past five years. There is no doubt, I ahve never known a gratitude like this for my own life.
I would like to take this blessed opportunity to share a few things with you which I have learned since being in FAA recovery:
* I have learned that the FAA primary purpose is to "stay abstinent and help other food addicts to achieve abstinence." As grateful as I am for sponsorship and the FAA fellowship, I have learned that my recovery is my responsibility. It is my responsibility to "maintain" abstinence one day at a time;
* It is none of my business what other people think of me - I must learn each day to stay on my side of the street - to do what I need to do for my recovery because I am worth it;
* I had to reach my bottom. I had to surrender to those addictive foods that were killing me (step 3) - turned my life and my will over to the care of the God of my understanding. Nothing changed until I did this and I must do this each day - one day at a time;
* I cannot make anyone else abstinent. I have learned in FAA that we do not promote - we set by example and say prayers for other food addicts that they will reach their bottom and have the daily willingness.
These are just a few suggestions I share with you which I have learned and continue to learn. Let me now share with you what my FAA recovery journey has done for me one day at a time. In terms of the physical recovery, I have lost over 200 lbs., I am no longer on (5) pills per day for my diabetes. I no longer experience sleep apena or neuropthy. And thank you God, I no longer take panic attacks and can leave my house to go anywhere I need to go. (I was homebound for the better part of 4 years).
In terms of the emotional healing, I can look at the FAA promises and be so very grateful for the way so many have come to past for me in the past five years. (Please refer to the FAA promises on the FAA website www.foodaddictsanonymous.org (http://www.foodaddictsanonymous.org)). I am able to move forward in life without the daily insanity that I experienced when into the addictive foods.
In terms of spirituality - The personal belief of the God of my understanding. Being one who never worked the 12 steps, I have found this tool to be a gift and continue to find this tool a blessed gift. There is something in our FAA green book I would like to share with you: The coolective history tells us "abstinence alone will not last on our own; When we do what this program prescribes; It works and it lasts; WITHOUT THE SPIRITUA SUPPORT AND GROWTH, RELAPSE IS INEVITABLE..."
Do this jrodergs for yourself - I look forward to connecting with you. I welcome you to e-mail me Queens4463@aol.com
I remain forever grateful for the FAA fellowship,
Powered by vBulletin® Version 4.2.0 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.