You might think that the biggest challenge of abstinence is finding the willingness to give up your favorite foods. It isn’t. The biggest challenge, I think, is the willingness to be conscious during all of our waking hours. We don’t eat more often or in bigger quantities than other people for the taste. We do it to get numb, to avoid the pain of our feelings, our circumstances, our knowledge and experience of the suffering of the world.
Most of the sugar and food addicts I know are deeply sensitive people who care about what happens to other people and to animals and to the planet. They knew this about themselves early in childhood, and because they couldn’t find a way to express this and be understood, they turned to numbing out with food, which sadly is more acceptable in many families than sharing our grief.
Many of us continue to not know how to be with these feelings or whom to share them with. Early experiences of rejection and even ridicule makes us wary of speaking up. But if we don’t, we run the very real risk of continuing to stuff those feelings down with food. So we need to develop one or two relationships with friends or mentors who can welcome our words and help us hold our sadness and suffering.
Who in your life might be such a friend or mentor?