Sunday, June 14, 2009

Surgery as surrender

Having once been married to an alcoholic and having attended Alanon for many, many years, I've learned a lot about addiction. I know that we are addicts because we are addicts. Environmental issues can impact the predisposition of our genes, but once our addictions are triggered, we are addicts because we are addicts.

I also know that in order to recover you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. You surrender your will to God and become willing to do whatever it takes, to go to whatever lengths it takes. For an alcoholic or drug addict that may mean going through rehab, going on meds to treat depression that could drive them back into addiction, working the 12 steps constantly, going to 90 meetings in 90 days, calling a sponsor and being sponsored, and never ever touching another drop of alcohol because once they start they can't stop.

In a very real sense this surgery represents my surrender. I will always have to eat to live. Everytime I pick up food it can trigger my addiction. Having attended many Overeater's Anonymous meetings, I can testify that very few people are able to permanantly keep their weight off. Only those who are capable of being really anal seem to succeed. Weighing, measuring, checking every ingredient, counting carbs, calories, points, filling out food plans. These may all be good things but I'm not capable of them--at least not for long. Just the thought of doing these things gives me a panic attack. I hire people to do my paperwork and attend to details because I'm so bad at it. I've accepted my ADHD as a gift and I no longer try to be good at what I'm not good at. I do what I'm good at, which is being a highly flexible, very creative, gifted teacher. I generate ideas like confetti. My lesson plans are barely a guideline.

By having this surgery, my stomach will become the weigher and the measurer. I can follow the simple food guidelines which will take me from clear liquids to 1000-1200 calories a day of healthy food without having to make food plans the rest of my life. Unhealthy food and too much food will make me very uncomfortable. I'll experience satiety--a completely unfamiliar feeling. And I'll be reprogramming the addiction center in my brain.

It won't be easy. I'll still be triggered by the sight, smell, and taste of food. The surgery will be a jumpstart on food sobriety, like going into rehab. I'll still have to surrender my food to God every day. But with my body cooperating instead of fighting it, I stand a much better chance of success. This is the length to which I am willing to go to acheive food sobriety and better health. This is my surrender to God. If your stomach offends you, if it causes you to stumble, if its an obsession that takes you away from being able to love God above all and your neighbor as yourself--tie it off.