Reflections on the meditation in 'Just for Today' by Narcotics Anonymous for April 26th... all my own words.
It starts with a few lines about how those dealing with addictions tend to have little self-acceptance. Looking at the havoc the addiction created in their lives there is difficulty to accept one's past and the self-image created by it, and self-loathing.
It's then stated that self-acceptance is easier when we see ourselves as 'sick' (addiction as an illness) rather than as 'bad'. Having more self-acceptance it becomes easier to take responsibility for oneself, the book says.
Then, it's said self-acceptance is achieved through the process of recovery: applying spiritual principles like surrender, faith, honesty and humility help relieve the burden of past mistakes.
I am also reading one of the articles I mentioned in my previous blog, 'Why Overeaters Anonymous doesn't work'. sheirakahn.com/articles.
In it, it is stated that the cause of eating disorders is a relentless inner critic. So that ties in nicely with the notion of self-acceptance: as I think self acceptance will help to overcome the negative impact of an inner critic.
My thought however is that in my case, I am dealing with food addiction, not so much an 'eating disorder' (I can wonder if all 'eating disorders' are really food addictions, but that is a question I cannot answer - all I know is that it's been helpful for me so far to look at my problems as food addiction rather than some brain disorder).
I think that a strong inner critic is definitely a huge problem. But I think the ferociousness of the problems I am dealing with (binge eating, cravings, etc.) is caused not or not only by an inner critic but by the fact that some foods are addictive. Bright Line Eating states that one third of all people are very prone to addiction, one third is not susceptible for addiction at all, and the rest of the people are in between those two extremes. If you are very susceptible to addiction (as I am) or maybe somewhat susceptible, it means that strategies suggested by diet guru's who belong in the non-susceptible group won't work for you.
So, my eating behaviors are abnormal and there is an obsession with food. So my eating is 'disordered' but the cause of that is the addiction, as I tend to see it, not a psychological issue like an inner critic.
However I believe it is still very useful to work on self-acceptance and to diminish the impact of the inner critic.
To (try to) see myself as innocent and inherently good and well-willing is important. To not speak to myself with harsh words, to forgive myself for mistakes will all add to my wellbeing.
If I understand the author of the article correctly, her idea is that to overcome an eating disorder, one should...
* Focus on balance not abstinence
* Learn to recognize and act on hunger signals from the body
* Heal the inner critic and learn to self-soothe and develop self-acceptance.
My own take on it so far is that I do need to abstain from sugar, flour and cocoa. Giving up those foods seems a lot easier than to try to eat them in 'reasonable' amounts.
I also wonder if I could ever learn to 'trust my hunger signals'. I truly cannot see how I can distinguish between true hunger as a cue to eat (and, even harder: satiety as a sign to stop eating) and the lies and fairy tales my brain tells me in order to get me to give it it's fix.
This may be a sign that I don't trust my body... if so, then for the time being I say 'so be it'. The alternative is endless confusion, internal conflict and war about when to eat what foods.