Active addiction, I’ve come to understand, is reactionary. We feel upset and we react. We feel bored and we react. We get angry and we react. Reaction comes quickly. It doesn’t usually involve much thought or reflection. We feel the negative feeling and we just react. For us food addicts, that means eating something we know isn’t good for us and usually eat too much of it. Sometimes we’ll even eat too much of what is good for us, anything to make the feelings go away.
As a person who desires long-term recovery from sugar and food addiction, I’m learning about my need to respond rather than react. The difference means I have to slow down and make a conscious decision about how I am going to deal with what’s happening. Responding means considering my options and remembering that there’s always an option that doesn’t involve food.
Reacting is quick and impulsive and can be fueled by our habits. Responding takes thought and choice and it takes practice. But it can help lead us to the freedom from being run or overrun by food that we’re seeking.
How could you move from reacting to responding?