Russell Brand is a comedian who is a recovered heroin addict and speaks out on the importance of an abstinence-based recovery program.
In one interview about the recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Russell states “There is a predominant voice in the mind of an addict that supersedes all reason and that voice wants you dead”.
This really struck me. Abstinence based programs have been incredibly helpful for people kicking everything from sex, gambling, and shopping to cigarettes, alcohol and drugs.
But what is a food addict to do? It is not possible to abstain from food permanently. It is not possible to avoid all situations where food is served. And it is not possible for the body to survive and thrive without food.
Perhaps ideally we could relearn to eat in a sane manner. We could learn to be able to be around all foods and even have them in the house and yet eat only an appropriate amount of the ones known to be bad for our body.
But for years I knew from experimentation that I could not have a healthy relationship with food due to my addictive nature. So eating a raw food diet became my form of abstinence. As long as I stuck to 100% raw I was on the wagon. And I knew it was important and I was able to do it for up to 2 years at a time, for about 8-10 years of 100% raw total over the last 2 decades.
I really haven’t found a way to do 80% raw long-term, though I’d like to. I can do 100% raw. Or I can do food addiction. There is a middle ground, but when I find it, it seems to disappear out from under my feet slowly, or sometimes suddenly, like quicksand. It just feels like shaky ground.
And yet even on a 100% raw diet I think I must be either physically or emotionally depleted as I seem to only be able to do it for 2 years at a time. I feel great on 100% raw and yet when I first go off I eat lots of peanut butter and cheese which I think shows a need for protein and minerals, and maybe B12.
I think if I did more greens and nut loafs I’d do better and get enough protein and minerals on a raw diet. And I have to discipline myself to eat some fermented foods for B12. It is just discipline either way. And that’s something I lack around food. I just don’t make feeding myself well a priority. Isn’t that strange in my line of work! The Programs have a balanced diet and if I would follow the menu plans regularly I know I’d be fine but I have not been taking the time.
What is the answer? I’d like to say doing a 3-week raw diet (maybe starting this Monday with the group) to reset my body and get out of my addict’s brain. Abstinence.
And then after the resetting, I can intelligently add certain cooked foods to my diet like rice, quinoa, dark chocolate and maybe a small amount of goat’s cheese, while still eating a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
And then once this is established as my way of eating, I might be able to add in occasional indulgences. And then I will either be able to maintain this new healthy high-raw diet or I might start my slide down to rock bottom and then begin all over again.
Honestly, I don’t care what anyone says, the raw diet is a life saver! I would have been dead from overeating a long time ago if it wasn’t for my 10 years on the diet, and eating mostly raw for 17 of the last 20 years.
Yes, this is a band-aid and the wound beneath it is emotional or spiritual, having to do with my self-esteem or other psychological reasons behind self-destructive behaviors. I’m still working on this puzzle and doing the inner work of healing, which might be a lifelong work, but if it is ever done in this life, then I can re-consider the whole diet issue as I might not need to be on an abstinence-based diet anymore.
I have to say, each time I try to do a high-raw (75% – 80% raw) diet I do a bit better for a bit longer. But this time, at 47 years of age, my hormones and metabolism are different and I have gained a lot of weight eating cooked vegetarian foods. I think I’m about 20 lbs. overweight.
I’ve always been a large person, tall with broad shoulders, wide hips, and big bones, but now I’m definitely carrying too much weight on my tummy area.
At first I realized at this age I really liked having a little fat to be more curvy and fill out my face. I thought if I have to pay for this by having a bit of a tummy I can handle that.
But now it seems I’ve developed some bad habits. Life is catching up with me. The pressures of launching my children in this world, earning money, moving, etc…I’ve been allowing myself to lean on food for a crutch for a while to cope, but now it is time to make some changes.
Nobody can tell us when it is time. Only we know when we are ready. Some of us have to reach rock-bottom to be ready. Others prefer to not have to get knocked over the head before they see the writing on the wall and start making changes.
Maybe it is like art; you want to be inspired. However, the artists that actually make money have learned how to become inspired when they need to be, and are able to do their art on a daily basis, on demand.
Are you ready? Am I ready? It is always scary to change habits and to let go of addictions. “Feel the fear and do it anyway”. That is the courage needed to make the decision to take the plunge.
But the good news is you only need to make one decision! (my friend Maureen learned this when she quit smoking). And once you have made the decision, that’s it. There’s no more thinking, debating, questioning, or second-guessing. It’s easy. It’s done. One clear, strong decision. That’s all it takes! May God give me the strength – and the will.