This has been a stressful week.

You’d have to be living inside my head to understand what a profound understatement that is.

Of the major things that were on the docket this past week… well, nothing went according to plan. Some in fact went horribly wrong. Most went horribly wrong.

But my husband, our children, and I are safe, warm, healthy, and fine. (Except my husband and I are a bit roughed-up emotionally from all the turmoil.)

I thank the powers that be that I have that man, and those children, with whom to share my life. My husband is my rock.

After an emotionally brutal day on Wednesday I found myself at the grocery store Thursday morning after dropping the kids at camp. There were some legitimate things I needed to buy like deli ham, milk, yogurt sticks, cottage cheese, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. But after picking up a couple of snack foods for my kids I found myself with five bags of sugar free candy in my cart.

That’s right.

Five bags of sugar free candy.

I won’t catalog which kinds I’d picked out.

It’s not worth it.

I thank the 15 years I’ve been in and out of the rooms of Overeaters Anonymous for the practice of using the tool of the telephone to save me from my disease. I called my husband from the grocery store. He was on the train going to work. I told him that I had five bags of sugar free candy in the grocery cart. He calmly told me, “Nope, that’s no good. Go put them back.” Which I did. Then I reminded him that the very act of calling him and telling him that they were in the cart meant I didn’t want them.

He got that.

I put them back and left the store without them. Yay, me, right?

But it got me thinking about binges.

About my binges.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but at the height of my disease, when my eating was totally unchecked, before getting into Overeaters Anonymous all those years ago, I could pack it away.

(*Trigger warning*)

It was not unusual for me to eat a small pizza, a pound of pasta (including a stick of butter and cup of Parmesan cheese with it), a box of chocolates (or other large quantity of candy), a half of a cake (or equivalent in cupcakes/brownies/cookies) in one sitting. And then pass into a food coma.

When I’d be emotionally unstable, feeling vulnerable, sad, or some form of H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) I’d turn to this, in some form, to calm me down.

I haven’t done this is 15 years. I’ve done other things, eaten things I shouldn’t have, eaten  more than I should have, eaten when I didn’t need to, etc. But the days of those binges are over and have been for a very long time.

This past Wednesday, at the height of the stress of the day, I felt totally nauseated and couldn’t eat. Then as the day started to calm down I forced myself to eat something because it had been 6 hours since breakfast and I was starting to get light headed.

I’d had my serving of fruit for the day (blueberries) with breakfast. By mid afternoon, when I finally got around to eating, I had 2 protein bars, 2 oz of cheese, and a peach.

Let me tell you, that was a binge.

I told my husband about it and he commented that times certainly have changed if I consider that a binge and that I should be really proud of myself for the fact that none of the old trigger foods even occurred to me.

He’s right. But he’s not.

I wonder…

Doesn’t everyone use food to make themselves feel better?

What is it about being a food addict that makes it different for me?

Is it that I’d binge on a 4,000 calorie bender where normal eaters might just eat something they don’t normally have?

Do I have to be held to a higher standard than normal eaters because I’m in recovery?

Am I allowed to feel proud of myself for the fact that my only “off plan” eating was a second serving of fruit in a single day?

Should I feel disappointed that at the culmination of a terrible stretch of things going horribly wrong I gave in and ate “a bunch of stuff” to make myself feel better?

I don’t honestly know the answers to these questions.

What I do know is that for today, I’m happy that those binges of yesteryear are truly a thing of the past. I’m happy that the old trigger foods that are in my house because my children are normal eaters who deserve to have their childhoods unmarred by my disorder don’t register on my radar anymore. Not ever. When I’m stressed and need to eat I grab a cheese stick and don’t even think about their snacks.

This comes to be by the grace of whatever Higher Power blesses me with my abstinence.

Amidst the difficulties this week has wrought, I am still grateful for this grace.

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