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Ten Thousand Miracles

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I had prepared a salad and was fully enjoying the two sources of protein in it when it occurred to me that I don’t usually put more than one source of protein in my salads. With a start, I realized I had made a mistake: I double measured.

It’s not like someone had died, but I realized that, if such a thing happened once, it could happen again, and how many times would it happen before I didn’t care? Almost immediately, a chain reaction occurred:

  1. I was conscious enough while eating to notice. My disciplines have become so hardwired that, on a subconscious level, my mind knew something was amiss. Thank God for all the weighed-and-measured meals that preceded this one.
  2. I realized early enough in my meal that I was still able to make a correction so I wouldn’t eat more than I needed. The muscle memory of my program was serving me well.
  3. My first impulse was to call my sponsor and review the situation. Why had I lost my focus? Did I have underlying motives in wanting to eat more? What was my reaction to the situation? Was I willing to surrender the outcome to a Power greater than myself, in this case, my sponsor?

I still had part of my lunch left. With the added protein, I probably had eaten my fill of calories. I was content to dump the rest and call it a meal, and my sponsor agreed this was probably a good way to handle the situation.

I had no desire to make a case for finishing the meal or engage in any other sort of debate, but I reminded my sponsor that we had gone through a similar episode some time ago where I had unwittingly double-measured my starch, eaten all of it, and then called him to explain. He vaguely remembered the incident. When I looked back to when that was, I realized it was about ten years ago! It had been more than ten thousand meals since I had been similarly distracted and made a mistake.

For this compulsive eater, that is a definite miracle, and I am writing this now because mistakes with food will happen to everyone, no matter how precise their plans of eating. For those who feel a structured plan is tantamount to perfectionism and, therefore, a setup for failure, I offer this experience as proof positive that it is not. My experience proved that by repeating honest actions often enough, they will take hold and became a part of me, someone who once had no personal integrity or ability to be honest with food.

Regarding my slip, some may say, “What’s the big deal?” For me, it proves that despite having a lot of abstinence under my belt, I’m not immune to making mistakes. But what my mind does once a mistake occurs has everything to do with my spiritual condition, and therefore my plan needs to be taken seriously each and every meal.

I like being thin and sane. If I am willing to continue to work hard to differentiate between what God does for me and what I can do for myself, then I’ll probably stay that way.

— Neil

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