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Identifying our obstacles to abstinence

If more discipline and will-power aren’t the answer to abstinence, well, what is? The answer is relatively simple to identify and often very difficult to implement. It’s change. Not just changing what we eat and when we eat it and how often and how much. While those are often the focus of our recovery program, they’re not the whole story. For it’s why we eat and eliminating those factors that are the key.

It could be a big thing. Grief or trauma you’ve never resolved through prayer or spiritual work. A tedious or demeaning job that makes you bored and restless all day every day.  An unhappy or loveless partnership that you stay in “for the kids.”

It could be something less obvious. Creative impulses that never get attention because you have an old story that you have no talent. Shyness that you don’t really see anymore but that keeps you lonely.

It could be a seemingly insurmountable thing that seems too small to do anything about. A break room at work always full of sweets. A long-standing tradition with friends for margaritas and high-fat dinners on Tuesday. Lunch on Sundays with your mother-in-law who always criticizes you.

Each of us has to ferret out our own obstacles and that may not be easy. Food is the obvious culprit but seldom is it at the core of our problem.

What obstacles to abstinence seem obvious to you? Which are less clear but powerful?

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