I was in the car recently with a friend of mine. This friend and I can have some pretty serious and deep conversations and we are pretty honest with each other. While in the car, we started talking about books which led into me talking about how I read 10 pages of a recovery based book every day. And that discussion led into talking about my eating disorder.
We talked about how I feel pretty certain that this is something that I was born with because I remember episodes from when I was a toddler. I doubt it is learned behavior when it starts that young. And we talked about the progress that I’ve been making and trying to make to get myself into recovery. And then we got into a pretty interesting discussion about recovery means.
I’ve said in the past that having an eating disorder/food addiction is so different from any other addiction. This is something that you will have to confront multiple times a day for the rest of your life. When you are an alcoholic, you can go the rest of your life without alcohol. But you cannot survive without food. And I know I’ve had some feelings of almost jealously over friends who have recovered from other addictions because they can just avoid whatever they were addicted to. It seems so much easier than what I’m going through (although I know that it’s not the case).
When I attended the OA meeting with my friend, they talked about the idea of sobriety. Sobriety is a personal thing for anyone, but in OA it becomes even more personal since everyone has their own idea of sobriety. Obviously, you can’t be sober from food. So you have to pick the things around food that you want to avoid and doing that creates your sobriety. For some of my friends, that has meant no eating after a certain time, not eating a certain food, or only eating when it is on a plate and not out of a container.
When I was telling my friend about that idea, he asked me what sobriety/recovery would mean for me. And honestly, I don’t know. I know what I’d like to have my relationship with food be like but many of the things I want are not realistic. For example, I’d love to never have a binge or overeating episode again and to always be in the right calorie range. But everyone has a time every so often when they overeat. When you go out to a restaurant you can easily overeat.
But maybe I can change how I view those episodes. If I don’t let them bring me down and just view them as a normal part of life and can move on, that could be good. I don’t want them to affect me the way that they do now and if that happens maybe it could become a rare occasion instead of something that sets me off.
Beyond the idea of never having a binge episode again, I’ve never really thought too much about what sobriety would mean for me. That’s all I’ve wanted. But because of my conversation with my friend I did start thinking about habits I have or had and what I can change. And one of the biggest ones that I thought of was how I have not ordered delivery food in over a year and a half. Well, technically occasionally I order Chipotle from Postmates, but I don’t consider that delivery food as I can order exactly what I would have gotten if I went to get it myself (unlike when you order Chinese food or pizza and have to order more than what you know you can eat).
For a long time, I thought I’d never be able to be delivery food free and I have managed to do it much longer than I ever have as an adult. And I don’t really even think of getting delivery food when I’m hungry and don’t know what I want to eat. It’s nice having that out of my head and not an issue any more. So in some way, I think that since I’m able to get over delivery food (which felt like it could never happen) that I could also get over binge episodes. But at the same time I don’t want to put that pressure on myself.
I still really don’t know what my version of sobriety means to me. But realizing that I don’t know this has made me understand that I can’t get into recovery until I really figure this out. I need to sit down, set some goals, and make some more concrete plans. Even though I have been working on this, having this idea in mind is an entirely different game and I think it can only benefit me by working on it.