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Craving vs. Conscious Contact

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I’ve long felt that, for compulsive eaters, one of our worst fears is simply being hungry and having to sit still and do nothing about it. The association between physical hunger and existential void triggers the sense of hopelessness that preceded so many of my forays into the deadly rituals from which I now abstain. Its black-sheep brother, the craving, is simply hunger with an attitude.

A craving is an urgent desire—a manic call to action. Once it gets into the mind, it can turn into a compulsion, a constant irritant, a distraction from reality, an insistent voice that beckons the host to remember only the pleasure of the addictive act, none of its dire consequences.

However, a craving can also be a reminder to tap into a source of power far greater than any urge, desire, or thought. Food addicts can face down our enemy and enjoy the miracle of sober eating three times or more each day. Every time we make the right choice, we find the value in learning to wait; to delay gratification; to pursue the goal of ingesting just enough food, no more and no less—and grow spiritually in the process.

Once I got abstinent, I found I was most prone to cravings when I was overly emotional, stressed, or over-busy; when I had gone from drawing energy from a surplus borne of a daily pursuit of balance, and drifted into my essence, the well of spiritual protection that my faith in a Higher Power has brought about.

I have a disease that requires a level of mindfulness in order to avoid the pitfalls of old behaviors. I have a recovery that demands daily conscious contact with a spiritual entity/energy/deity that grounds me and invites me to transcend my physicality and enter a world of connection, optimism, and peaceful acceptance of my disease—the disease that became the admission price into this beautiful alternate living experience.

So, when I experience a craving, I can overreact and give in to it (as I did so many times before), or I can remember that my admission of powerlessness over food brought me to Overeaters Anonymous and ultimately to this spiritual world, whose benefits far exceed any fleeting pleasure that a bite of food could offer.

The more I choose the latter, the closer I come to being the person I was meant to be, the one who can be of maximum usefulness to his fellow addicts.

— Neil R., Baltimore, Maryland USA

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