I used to love Thanksgiving. Seeing the cousins, being grateful for our fruits, saying grace the one time a year we prayed over food. But the best part was the food. I am a recovering compulsive overeater. This holiday wasn’t about Columbus or the Natives or the crazy elementary school program that, yes, they still put on in my neck of the woods! Its not even being thankful for my immediate blessings. It was about being allowed to binge on rich foods all day long and not stick out because EVERYONE is binging.
This is my 5th abstinent Thanksgiving. This means I still weigh and measure my meals and make sure I’m not ingesting wheat or sugar. I can have turkey. I can have potatoes. I could even have pumpkin if I so choose. And I can be free from the bondage of food. No feeling guilty. No feeling sick. No compulsive exercising after the binging. Freedom.
This is NOT because of my strong will power. It is not because I’m an ocd loony (although I totally am!) It is only by the grace of God I have been given true freedom from the cravings. All the many times I would diet throughout my life, I would either go off completely and still binge because its “Thanksgiving after all,” or I would be miserable and into the self-pity of “why do I have to be fat, why can’t I eat like she can and not gain weight?” Holidays represented a wartime within myself. Me and the food, me and the addict self. The guilt and shame and feeling of utter failure every year. I was never satisfied so I was never grateful. The disappointment in myself. My disease warped my pudding addled brain into blaming God for it all.
I found recovery in the 12 steps. I found God through recovery. I am learning emotional discipline and have developed a personal relationship with God that gets better every single day. I don’t feel lonely even when alone. I don’t feel left out even when everyone around me has a big family or can eat gobs of stuffing without gaining an ounce. I can truly say I am grateful. The promises in the word of God are realized and recognized for me today. I am satisfied.
“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord you God for the good land he has given you.” Deuteronomy 8:10