Monday, February 22, 2010


This week was the beginning of Lent.

Since I grew up in a religious family, Ana and I used to use any excuse to fast. It was like a free day without any pressure – no one expected me to eat, so there was no pressure to pretend.

Fasting has presented a much greater challenge since I went into recovery.

Here is the understatement of the year: I’m in a much different place spiritually and mentally than I was back then. I’ve changed faiths for starters. I broke off my friendship with Ana and Mia.

But I really wanted to participate in the season of lent this year. The idea is to give up something you really like (often a favorite food) and focus on growing spiritually and praying. It’s also traditional to fast on the first day of lent.

On Ash Wednesday this week, I decided to give fasting another go. A few hours in – the familiar feelings. The hunger pangs I used to look forward to and consider a success. The oh-so-familiar taste in my own mouth. The blurry disconnect. It was all so easy. So familiar. I slipped it on like a favorite, old pair of jeans.

But you know, I think the scars run too deep. I did that for too long to have a good mindset about it.

While I didn’t feel the need to relapse this time, I couldn’t help but start seeing the world the way I used to. Seeing food as poison, noticing others’ weakness for eating, and feeling a little worthless.

I floated down the aisle at Ash Wednesday service in a blur. The priest placed the ashes on my forehead saying, “Remember, O man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” This reminds me that my life is just a breathe – a moment in time that is passing

I’m playing my own body guard now, and I’ve decided that it’s not safe for me to fast from food. In a way, I think I’m becoming a better body guard to my own recovery – learning things that put me in harms way and avoiding them – even if it does make people judge. I don’t think I really should ever let my guard down. Recovery is not a state of being, it is a daily journey.

I think next time Ash Wednesday rolls around, I’ll be fasting from something non-food related like TV or the internet. Probably I’ll go for something that puts a little more silence in my life.

I’m just not there. And that’s okay.

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  1. That's definitely a good idea. If it might make you relapse, and you would be unhappy with that, then certainly avoid it. I just want you to be happy!

  2. Don't do anything you feel uncomfortable with, and if fasting makes you unhappy don't do it. It's a good plan for next year. I really think you are very strong and an inspiration, I'm just not where you're at yet, xo.

  3. That's a good idea, I'm Jewish, and we have a few big fast holidays, but I think I'm going to stay away from them this year...any kind of hunger usually sends me into slipping for a day, so could mean a full blown relapse. But you seem to be at a really good place in your recovery!

  4. Of course it's okay. Alcoholics shouldn't have drink when a toast is called at a wedding just because it's "what you do". We all have to be responsible for ourselves and not make silly decisions.

    Glad you saw how damaging that could have been.

  5. It seems like you all have a really supportive community here – do you agree?

  6. Wow :) your honesty is inspiring. I am happy for you.