Hey there, how is what’s left of your summer going?
A true sign of the end of summer is definitely here and that is the Hudsonville fair. We no longer have kiddos in 4-H, but we still like to go to see our friend's kids show their steers, pigs, and lambs. My memories of the Hudsonville fair go back throughout my whole lifetime. I met my husband there, so of course that is the best memory I have. We always take a walk to the spot where we met thirty-six years ago.
As a kid, I hoped the week of the fair was a little chilly so I could wear my new school clothes and even if it wasn’t, I did anyway. Nothing like corduroys and ninety degree weather; it gives me a hot flash just thinking about it! The fair was where you caught up with friends after summer and talked about who you wanted your teacher to be this year. Wristband Wednesday was the highlight of the summer, along with the turtle races and the demolition derby. We may have been a small town, but I loved it. Many of these things bring a smile to my face as I reminisce.
Now I just go to enjoy and observe. Some things will always be the same at the fair. The rides, the food, the animals and kids running around together. And there are some differences.
Everybody's on their phone! Walking around, looking down, and annoyingly stopping (can you tell this was getting to me?) Moms are on their phones while little Timmy is on a ride, totally missing the moment. Parents no longer drop off elementary age kids at the gate in droves. The sickos of this world have robbed us of the security of many safe places of my childhood.
I hope to enjoy the fair with my grandchildren for many years to come. I know it will get busy again when they are in 4-H, so for now, I’m going to just enjoy it when I am there with them. The fair is a whole new game with this guy!
I mentioned the kids, rides, and food staying the same at the fair and that brings me to my topic this week: food. Specifically, an elephant ear. I love them. I only have one a year and I do not share. Don’t even try to take a corner because I want every sweet, sugary piece. But not this year.
I mentioned last week how I was trying to wrap my mind around this abstinence thing and I guess that wasn't entirely true. I knew exactly what I needed to abstain from and that's what I needed to wrap my head around. I'm sure you guessed it: sugar. I find myself continually using sugar the same way I did alcohol and I know God is making it clear to me.
And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."- Luke 9:23
The substance I was indulging in started to become dangerously akin to the way I drank, especially as I experience stress in my life. How could that not be harmful? Not denying myself a constant opportunity to indulge in the flesh robs me of freedom in my relationship with Christ.
It's dangerous when something is taking up way more space in my brain than him.
Here are a few of those thoughts:
*"I already indulged (screwed up.) I might as well keep going."
*"I better make sure I buy enough so I won’t run out."
*"Screw my health plan for today, I’ll start tomorrow."
*"Just this one time won’t hurt. (Except it was not just one time.)
* I was hiding it.
Now, the above thoughts could apply to almost everything from alcohol to sweets. In my case, Milk Duds and donuts. When I realized this, I felt kind of sick about it. I didn’t ever want that drama in my head again, but here it was. I didn’t ever want a substance to control me, but somehow the head games were back. I was heading down the same road of a habit that was causing me more guilt and shame than it should.
I've started this journey of freedom from sugar and I'm on day 12 of no sugar passing these lips. And I didn't make an exception for an elephant ear. For now, I am going to keep going. I already feel better mentally and physically, so I am trying to focus on that. I'm also praying into those tempting moments. Is it silly to compare this to my drinking? Not really. When I say I feel better mentally it's because I am not playing a constant game of should I or shouldn't I. When I first got sober, everyone said do whatever you need to! Eat the candy they would tell me in AA, the big book says it’s ok!
“He thought all alcoholics should constantly have chocolate available for its quick energy value at times of fatigue. He added that occasionally in the night a vague craving arose which would be satisfied by candy.” “Many of us have noticed a tendency to eat sweets and have found this practice beneficial.”
- The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, page 133-134 of The Family Afterwards
So I ate candy and I ate more candy. Then I saw the headliner that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. That’s not okay. I still indulged and then I did some more. Now I have a new habit to kick. To be clear, I blame no one but myself. This girl was the one that could take or leave dessert most of the time. The only time I went into candy overload was when I was pregnant. Because someone else said it's ok, I did. Kind of like, "Have one more - it won't hurt ya,” in the days of alcohol.
Here I am abstaining from sugar and I am going to do my best to stay there. I read an article that really kicked my ass into gear. Just like alcohol needed to be out of my life 100%, so did sugar. Forever? No, just for now. If I can’t practice moderation or discipline around it then yes, best not to partake. I needed to make up my mind that I was all in, like I did with alcohol. A certain line in that article
resonated with me, “When you shift to 100% there are no decisions to make.” It was like a lightbulb moment! I’m in for 100% every day. Every day is new, where I get to decide if I am all in and for now I am. No choices, no arguments with my sweet tooth, and best of all no drama. I am 100% in.
I have some things coming up, like traveling and birthdays, but not today. I will address those things when they are here, not a month in advance. In recovery I have to live in the moment each and every day. Same with this and it's working for me.
So what do you need to make a 100% decision about? I’d love to hear from you. If it is sugar (c’mon I know you’re out there) join me in NO Sugar September! There is strength in numbers!
I have one more thing to say about this 100% rule. To succeed, you have to give it to God 100%. That’s the only way I got sober and that is the only way I can navigate any of this hard stuff in life. Surrender 100%
I'm headed to Mackinac Island this weekend for a convention - I hear they have fudge. Stay tuned.
Next week's discipline is simplicity. This word is not synonymous with Sherry. I was supposed to start this one as I headed up north for the weekend. My husband thought simplicity should apply to packing. I told him to work on the discipline of patience.
Peace on your weekend,
Also, for those of you who have been asking for an Otto update here is a link to my daughter's blog. Thank you for your prayers, keep them coming!