March 16th, 2010

shtay behind my aura!

one year

March 16 is my "abstinence date." I've now had 365 days back-to-back of real abstinence.

Since it's a little unfamiliar term (Jon's practicing abstinence? does that mean he's not getting laid anymore?) the simple analogy is: abstinence is to overeaters what sobriety is to drunks.
Get it now? Ok, neither did I twelve months ago. For the last year (8,763 hours in fact) I have been abstaining from the behavior of compulsive eating.

Instead of eating when I'm angry, lonely, tired, scared, bored, happy, sad, anxious, eager, drunk, or "no reason at all" I eat 3 meals a day + 1 optional snack before bed, with nothing in between, one day at a time. It's 3-0-1 For at least the first month that was my basic rallying cry that I had to repeat like a mantra until I really came to hear it in my bones. three zero one! And some days, that's all I go back to: three meals a day, with life in between, one day at a time.

That's the basic formula I've been blessed to follow for a year now. That's not eating compulsively, but rather very deliberately. That's it. That's my abstinence, the equivalent of my sobriety.

To help keep that structure strong I have added some support elements in a fairly simple fashion. Collapse )

So it's working. What does "it's working" look like? Physically it's been quite helpful, as I've lost 130 pounds and have—other than an old back issue and this surgery thing—so many fewer health concerns than I did (I have not yet started an exercise program. I'm not kidding.) Spiritually and emotionally I've gone through a ton of changes—and I'm feeling so much better. I have a renewed outlook, new confidence, stability, and sanity. I don't eat to avoid or hide my emotions, I just practice feeling them, expressing them, and letting go. I don't eat for any reason other than hunger and that it's eating time (thankfully, these two coincide about 5 hours from the previous meal). I have a new lease on life.

In some ways abstinence has been the equivalent of four full time jobs (full time job = 2080 hours/year) and it's the bottom line thing for me. I know that sounds like a pretty narrow scope, a pretty short horizon but so be it. I'm alive and I'm getting better at living. And thank God too, not a moment too soon. I've been helped by so many people—I know I haven't done it alone. Which is why it's such an incredible gift: it's been done to me as much as something I've done. I've participated in it, but I sure haven't done it all—or really feel like I've done any of it—on my own. It's like the whole world, from the Creator on down to family, friends, and some near-perfect strangers all got together and said: let's give Jon a gift he's really going to love. And then gave it every day. Day. Day. Day. Thanks everybody, that's a tremendous gift and every day that goes by, I feel the reality that I'm worth it, and for that I'm even more grateful. One whole year gone by.