I've been an emotional eater for more than 20 years, and I am trying something different. I recently finished the questions in Step 4 of the Addiction Recovery Program. I am doing the program to learn how to cope differently instead of using food, and learning how to lean on Christ instead of eating. I have worked a lot on my health and am very proactive, daily, and have come a LONG way, but my emotional eating has been a vicious cycle and has given me lots of resistance and problems.
The problem with being an emotions eater is:
1. We must eat to survive as a human, so you can't just abstain...
2. When we do 'emotionally eat' we get upset at ourselves and feel bad that we're stuck in this cycle. And then with these negative emotions, how do we cope? With the coping mechanism we have learned and practiced for years: EATING. See the nasty cycle?
Step 4 is about truth. It is about finding the reasons why we act, believe and do certain things, especially the negative habits. Part of this step is to write a "Fearless Written Inventory". Which means you go through the different parts of your life and find those experiences that have molded your ways of thinking and actions, what you felt, what you can learn from them, and what God has to say about them. Needless to say, it has felt like a daunting task.
My thoughts and excuses we're quite logical: "I can't add another huge task to my to-do list." "I don't have time to dive into my past and pull up an old feeling, and deal with it" "I don't know HOW to do an inventory" (<--This was my biggest one) But it kept coming back to me to do it. God was poking me and i'm lucky to have a sponsor (Whom I email each night) who has helped remind me to keep moving forward and to stay "plugged in" to the program.
I have answered the questions in step 4 but have done very well in avoiding the inventory, until yesterday.
As I step into this process of digging deep into the dark places of my souls there is pain, misunderstandings and wounds. I have done plenty healing work before, and it has helped in so many ways/areas, but I have struggled with my "shell" -my excess weight- and emotional eating/coping for a long time. Even all the therapy/healing work I've done in the past, I'm still here. I'm still struggling. So this little vision, below, gave me hope and courage to move forward and start the process of digging, safely.
I am currently in a year program in school (Mind-Body Wellness Practitioner- Holistic Nutrition, Life coaching, Hypnotherapy @SWIHA) and I had my first day of my Life Coaching program. We did a listening exercise and each student had a card with a picture of a hat. One classmate asked me the question: "If this hat was magic and you could be anything you wanted, what would you be?"
The hat was a miners hat with a headlamp on the front of it. My first impression was I would be an explorer in a cave. My imagination opened up. Because I had the light, I wasn't really scared, except for maybe a little anticipation/excitement in my chest. With the light on my hat I could also use both hands to navigate through the cave and crevices. It was very helpful.
The cave was a little cold and wet but I started going through the dark places, finding gems and precious things. (Which I was excited about because I'm doing my first Art Boutique next month, and I would "use" these items in my art. ha) I continued to climb until I came to a hole, just big enough for me to drop through. (Don't worry, I could see the floor of where I was jumping to) I slid into the hole and found a little row boat and a pool of water that seemed to lead somewhere. I shielded my headlamp and could see a faint light in the distance.
I rowed the boat towards the light, feeling adventurous and curious. Upon reaching the light I came to an opening and rowed up to the edge of the bank. The rocks around my feet in the shallow water were a bright green and turquoise (Which yes, I did pick some up for my crafts)
(I left the boat for another explorer who dares enter the dark cave and water.)
As I climbed up over the ledge I could see beautiful green trees and a beautiful green lush meadow with purple, yellow and pink flowers. It was so beautiful!! (Nature is my favorite place that fills my soul) I felt so much joy, peace, gratitude and beauty. I was so happy to be there! I laid in the grass for a while, basking in the moment and sunshine.
The bam, I snapped out of it as the teacher said the 3 minutes was up, to switch partners, and the experience was over.
Ok so here is the symbolism:
I knew as I was explaining/telling this story to my partner that it was the Lord giving me the last bit of trust/courage I needed to start this adventure of healing and to move forward with my inventory.
I don't have to be afraid to step into the dark cave, for I know there is happiness , peace, an adventure and beautiful scenery on the other side. Along the way I will find pieces of my soul, "precious gems" that have been hidden in these "scary" places. That sounds exciting to me.
I am comforted by the light that is illuminating my path. It symbolizes Christ in his gentle guidance and direction. I feel like I am safe and have a bubble of peace around me. I wouldn't want to go through these caves without the light of Christ on my explorers hat. By doing so I could trip, fall, or severely hurt myself. Good thing I don't have to do that.
I see now that this process can be an freeing escapade if I trust in the Light and follow my instincts (God's direction) as I step carefully through this cave. I like the sound of that.
I realize now, the water was dark and possibly deep, but God gave me a boat so I didn't have to tread through cold, dark, nasty, unknown water. (what creature could be in there?! AH! gives me the heebie geebies) But instead, I was dry, comfortable and safe inside my little wooden row boat. Again with the light guiding my way and an exit/release ahead.
I feel it symbolizes how my healing process will be. Yes, I will have to crawl through thin crevices, climb over rough walls and maybe get a couple scrapes and my feet a little wet. But falls will be prevented and I don't have to swim in past thoughts, ideas, pains and sorrows. Yes, I might look at them from the surface, but I don't have to be engulfed in them.
This is the atonement process.
Finding healing through the Lord, our troubles are lighter, we process faster, and are protected in the mean time. I have experienced this a lot in my healing work over the years. In my vulnerability and desire to heal, I must trust the Lord and have courage to go places I haven't. Christ is the only true safe place I have found.
So yes, I am willing to go through this cave with my explorers hat on, because now I see that I'll make it through and beauty is on the other end. Life is an adventure, right? ;)
Love Dreamer Di
Ps. I do not recommend someone traveling into a cave by themselves under any circumstance... Except in your mind. haha Play it safe dreamers. :)
If you are struggling with fears, doubts, anxiety, insecurities, addictions, or letting go of the past --contact me, and we can set up a 'Freedom Fighter Therapy' session.
If you want to look into the program yourself, for any topic: https://addictionrecovery.lds.org/?lang=eng
Challenge: Bring your healing to Christ. He will help you. :)
Words: Peaceful, Belonging