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Powerless Is Not Helpless

A friend in my food recovery support group is floundering. She’s been floundering for the last year, getting a day or two of abstinence and then picking up demon foods again. Of course, this is the nature of addiction: a seemingly irresistible siren song to self-medicate anything that ails us. And a lot ails my friend.

However, we aren’t helpless. Our powerlessness over sugar and flour (or alcohol or drugs) can be managed if we don’t consume them. Is it easy? No, not if we’re in the grip of the cravings. But those cravings fade and disappear. It can take several weeks and those weeks are hard. But they do fade. And from there, we have choice. We can choose to stay away from those foods or we can choose to consume them.

Powerlessness is a not a choice. By the time we’ve wired our brains through repeated self-medication, we can’t control how much we eat of those foods. But helplessness is a choice. For my food group buddy, it’s a choice to stay in a boring job, stay with an abusive boyfriend, refuse to create a life and an environment that can support her recovery. Would it be easy? No. Is it possible? Yes.

Powerless is not helpless. But we have to be willing to seek help and accept help. We have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get through the cravings and then make the life changes that will help us stay abstinent.

What distinction between powerless and helpless can you see for yourself?

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