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Creating an Environment That Supports Our Recovery: Our Stuff

When I ask people struggling with food addiction about the #1 things that keep them self-medicating, they’ll say anxiety and overwhelm. I can so understand that, for those are the things that I had to address when I got serious about being in recovery.

As I discuss in my book, Candy Girl: How I gave up sugar and created a sweeter life between meals, I believe that discovering Marie Kondo’s ideas on tidying up and decluttering, or dejunking as Matthew Kelly calls it, helped get me ready to let go of my compulsive relationship with food. Kondo’s work asks us to focus on the joy we get from our possessions and ridding ourselves of anything that doesn’t bring us joy.

Following her instructions, I made two passes through my stuff. In the first, I discarded just about everything that didn’t bring me pleasure. In the second, I discarded a bit more and then found places for everything so my stuff could all get put away arfter I used them. Doing this made me feel lighter, freer, happier. And I wanted more of that same feeling. I wanted to be light and happy and free in my body as well as in my home and my office. Then I was ready to let go of the weight and guilt and shame I had been carrying for more than two decades.

What changes can you consider for your environment that might help you let go of food compulsion and feel freer, lighter, happier?

Consider joining the 52 Support Conversations at for help in making the changes you need for a thinner, sweeter life.

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Getting the Support We Need to Make Changes

We addicts can be dangerously independent. I never spoke to a soul about my problems with food or alcohol, not my family, not my friends, not my doctor, not my therapist. I suffered a great deal but I suffered in silence. In recovery, we can’t afford to do that anymore. We have to spill our secrets and even more importantly we have to ask for help.

It may be time in your journey to find some group support. 12-Step groups, like Overeaters Anonymous and Food Addicts Anonymous, are wonderfully easy to join (the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop eating compulsively) and they are free. However, unlike Weight Watchers and other commercial programs, which have a controlled agenda, 12-Step groups are more loosely organized and bear the stamp of the individual members. It may take visiting several different groups to find one that feels like home.

It may be time to find a partner for the journey, someone else who really understands the struggle and who wants recovery as much as you do. You may already have a friend or work colleague who is interested and needing your support as much as you need hers. You may identify someone in your 12-Step group who wants to email or talk on the phone every day to stay abstinent.

It may also be time for some experienced help. There are counselors and therapists who can help you resolve the emotional issues you struggle with that keep you self-medicating. 12-Step groups offer sponsors, experienced members who will help you work through the steps of the program. And there are life coaches, like me, who can offer listening, encouragement, and suggestions.

What’s most important here is that you get support. That you give up feeling that you’re in this all by yourself. We have to help each other get into recovery and to stay there.

Check out the support available on