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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Communication through Abstinence.

Being an over eater (OE) is challenging and trying to find ways to be abstinent is even more difficult because there is no way to simply STOP EATING. We (OEs) learn through a trial by fire method sometimes, we have to try and try again to find what foods we can and can not eat. Sometimes, unfortunately, this can lead to an unexpected binge which sets us back at day one. Not only that but admitting to someone that you are unable to eat like a normal person is very hard as well. It is not like food is a *drug*. Food has never (and will never) be illegal. Food is not something commented on often by people with addictions or in recovery, even. Recovering as an OE is a challenge and I am blessed enough to have a partner in my recovery.

As you all know Ben is my best friend and partner in life. He and I met almost a year and a half ago and have a very easy relationship. Ever since the first day we met we had a simple understanding of the compromise relationships required, as well as the vast importance of communication. Even though Ben is an incredibly shy person-he works hard to ensure that communication between him and myself is seamless. Likewise, though I am a woman and I would rather be passive-aggressive by my stubborn Irish nature, I know that Ben loves me no matter what I am going through and he will always support me. This theory has been tested, tried, and passed more than I care to admit-and still we are capable of such incredible things.

Last year Ben and I were both doing really well on our individual programs. We only got to see each other once every week (3 days out of 7 on the weekends) and so we did our best to be together every waking hour of those days. We cooked a few times together, we ate at his parents quite a bit, and we went out a lot. It made sense since he was only here certain days and it was easier that way. Then when we planned to spend Spring Break together last year I had a whole plan of us eating delicious meals at home. Well... I have a tendency to lean toward the *GOING OUT* more than the *STAYING IN* (this gets expensive and very unhealthy). We went out every single day that week. *sigh*

Then late in the spring Ben and I moved in together and started enjoying our life together throughout the summer. And during that time... we went out... A LOT. Ben estimates that we ate at home roughly 6-10 times since we moved in last may. THAT IS BAD! (That doesn't include re-heating meals or quick things like eggs and bacon) We had a problem.

I have always known that I have a problem with food. An unhealthy relationship and dependency on the stuff. I LOVE food. I love food more than I love my own life-which is proven by the fact that I have eaten myself to an obese state with many pending health issues. I was pre-diabetic when I became primal... and I think at any moment, if i let myself, I could get there again. As a matter of fact, after letting myself eat out so much and enjoy an ice cream probably 2-3 times per week I was leading myself right back to where I started. Unhealthy, unhappy, large, and depressed. I couldn't figure out what to do. So I started going to meetings.

On October 8, 2011 I went to my first Overeaters Annonymous meeting. I was scared half to death. Not because of the set up-I get it a lot of people in my family have been through, or are going through, recovery. More so I was scared of what I would have to do. I knew that admitting I was a COE would mean I would have to go through a lot of growth and recovery. I also knew it would be hard to go home to someone who was also suffering from the disease if they didn't understand where I was coming from in my program. Overall I was scared half to death.

I got started on the steps and have gotten through step 3 and am now... admittedly... dodging step 4. I am not sure what is holding me back. There is nothing I am afraid to admit. I know what my list will have on it already... I just don't feel secure yet. Maybe I am jumping ahead to step 6 LOL and trying too hard to think of WHO I will tell... Who knows-and who cares... that is not what this post is about.

Ben also joined OA (I asked his permission before posting this blog entry). He has been abstinent for 15 days (WOO HOO GO BEN). It is not easy for either of us, but it is 10 times easier with a partner. At any given moment Ben and I can have a meeting together if we are struggling. We speak the same language (and I don't just mean English). We can communicate with each other in such a smooth way that it isn't even a challenge. There is no fear when I am telling Ben something I feel might disappoint him. There is no anger ever in our words. Ben and I have NEVER gotten in a fight, and usually I would be concerned for people who have never fought. Isn't it normal for people to fight or argue? Yes. It is. But that is because that is how they communicate when there is something holding them back. Ben and I just never get there because we are constantly talking about how we feel. We communicate more simply than most people and that is because we never stop.

Last week I could feel that Ben was anxious or upset about something, I can almost always tell with him... sometimes it is just a headache other times it is something much worse. He was bringing up how when we are "Done" with this 21DSD thing we can eat some things again right?... We talked about it for a long time. It took over 2 hours of communication on and off. Some of it frustrated, some of it just comments here and there. Eventually I was standing in the kitchen and almost started crying and explained to Ben that him being abstinent and being a part of this healthy lifestyle WITH me is like the greatest gift he has ever given me and if he is constantly wondering when he can get back to the old ways then it will make it harder for both of us. For us it has to be an all or nothing thing. This is an addiction.

Then Ben took a moment and realized that that is exactly what was happening. His insane brain (The one that is addicted to eating, food, over eating, binging and worst of all sugar and potatoes) is constantly trying to tell him, "well this is just temporary it's only days, maybe months until you can get your fix again." Ben then looked at me and said "I am abstinent and I want to stay this way. I know I have been trying to talk myself into things, trying to find ways to sneak out and get food while you're not home... that is the sign that it is the insanity, the addiction, talking and not anything worth while."

I am so happy and grateful to have my perfect partner in my life.

One last thing. Today has been a REALLY hard day for me. I am having problems with a virus that I have (May be discussed in a later post) and I am really really being tempted by bad foods. I don't know why 15 days in the cravings are gone... it is all mental now. This is how it was handled:

From me to Ben:
 I am really struggling today. At your moms house (we went over to visit) I wanted to raid every cabinet and find something to eat that was bad for me... I don't know why.

Have you had days like that?

It was really hard!

Ben's Response:

I have had days where I was like "well i can just go to hy-vee and get __________, cook it and then no one would know...", but then I sit there, wait and think... "Why do I want that? I know its not cause it would taste really good, cause I guarantee it won't, cause you've done that before and afterwards it really didn't, so it's not that. Is it because you need food? Well... I'm not really hungry, if I am there is food i can eat here... K, so Why? Cause I'm addicted to certain foods and my brain really wants to trick me into eating those things... but I'm working on getting smarter and stronger then my tricky side of my brain to be able to stand up to him and go 'NO, YOU DONT NEED THAT' and 'STOP IT BRAIN' "
So, yes, I've had days like that.

He is totally working this program... together-we have a super power. Together-Ben and I can conquer anything.

Thank you Muffin! I love you so much!



  1. You are beautiful. And honest. And I so appreciate it. This post made me think. xoxo

    1. Thank you Tara <3 Thank you so much!

  2. yours and ben's realizations in this post are amazing. y'all are so right - most people do a 30 day whatever and just use it as a 30 day countdown to going back to their old ways.

    you are strong for recognizing your struggles. realizing that they're not black marks on your character, just opportunities for improvement.

    thank you for sharing your stories. you and ben have a good thing going and i have no doubt both of you will find the path you need to take.

    much love.

    1. Thank you for such a sweet response Batty! :) We are so grateful to have you in our lives. Thank you for commenting on this. Our struggles DO help us become stronger people overall! :) AND a stronger couple!