Tread Carefully…treats are a good thing

I thought a little more about my lent post yesterday and I have a few words of advice for anyone considering giving something up for lent (outside alcohol. If you are thinking of giving up booze, do it. Only good things can come of that)…

If you are in early sobriety JUST DON’T DO IT. Being sober is your number one priority. Anything else is just added noise. You don’t need added noise. Treats can be a vital part of getting sober. They replace booze, they feel special and they start you on a path of self kindness rather than self deprivation. Most of us are pretty darn hard on ourselves when we are drinking. Withholding treats can play into that negative mindset and should be avoided.

I still feel like I am in early sobriety some days. After all, we live one day at a time.

If you still feel this is a good idea. Try it, if it appeals to your sense of self compassion, not your sense of self improvement. Choose something reasonable. All or nothing thinking is very common. I used to believe I was successful BECASUE of my ability to be all in. But, as I heard on a recent episode of the Bubble Hour, I now think I was successful IN SPITE of being that way. Inflexibility is rarely the secret to success.

Remember – Giving up chocolate or candy or cake for 40 days is not the answer to weight loss or fitness. And there are no prizes at the end of it.

BUT IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL BAD STOP. This advice is for myself more than anyone else. I have a long history of getting a “high” off self control. Starving, excessive exercise, etc. None of it helped me like myself more. It just made me an anxious, brittle person. This is why I chose chocolate (well, my kids chose it and I agreed to go along). I can still have cheesecake. Skittles, chips. Maybe even fruit – did you know I gave up fruit for 3 years in my low carb obsession. 3 years. I was that sure sugar was the enemy, because it couldn’t be the booze….

Unconditional self acceptance is the secret to happiness. Being comfortable and content in ones own skin brings a joy like no other. But it is hard. Advertisers want us all to be discontent so we feel we need to change things, buy things use their products to be acceptable. The fitness industry berates and criticizes us to get our dollars. Facebook shows us peoples perfect lives, never acknowledging that we are all human.

If you want to try changing something up for lent, that’s great. Do it as a form of self experimentation. Acknowledge your reasons and be willing to change your plan if it doesn’t work out. No pressure and no pain.

Because we all deserve to be happy and healthy!

Stillness and peace

Anne

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17 thoughts on “Tread Carefully…treats are a good thing

  1. Very insightful post! I too have a long history of self-deprivation. If 1200 calories a day is good, 1000 must be better! Or 900! The problem with that mindset is that you can never do enough – it’s always possible to be thinner, more fit, more “in control.” It’s easy to slide into self-punishment when we think we’re doing self-care.

    In my current attempt at sobriety (day 55 today, yay!), I have been really easy on myself, doing treats every day, watching mindless TV when I feel like it, sleeping a lot, etc. And I’ve realized that this is the first time in my life that I’ve actually been kind and thoughtful of myself. A revelation!

    Thanks for talking about this issue so eloquently.

  2. Dear Anne,
    Great follow-up post!
    Self-compassion is a must. I think so many women are so hard on themselves, myself included, that it makes life so much harder than it already is.
    This is something I am still learning.
    Peace and hugs,
    Wendy

  3. Awesome post (still have to go back and read the last one)! I am slowly learning to be self compassionate FIRST. So, I’ve said to myself some days, “no sugar for a week…” then just decide later in the day that it’s not a good idea, as long as I don’t drink, I’m doing well! Thank you!

  4. I just love this post and I think this is critically important message. I also think it is important to draw a distinction between alcohol (a toxic and addictive substance) and sugar (an unhealthy habit that never hurt anyone in moderation). As I said to a fellow sober blogger recently, I have overindulged in cake plenty of times but it never made me insult a stranger or throw up on my own shoes. In my very new sobriety, I am not giving up anything. If this means smoking an occasional cigarette or watching several hours of mind numbing TV, so be it.

    1. I agree. And was kind of worried my post yesterday downplayed the potential downside of self deprivation. It is a dangerous place. I would hate to think I encouraged anyone to go there. Even though I know not everyone will become obsessed or compulsive like I used to be with food.

      I do think that food addiction- binging or starving that causes serious mental distress, is something altogether different as well.

      Self acceptance and love. It moves mountains.

      Thanks for that comment! Glad to see you.

      Anne

      1. I am not particularly religious, but I understood from your post that Lent is a ritual and a tradition rather than an excuse to impose undue restrictions on yourself. And I think the idea behind that is beautiful. A lot of religions have important fasting traditions which are about understanding sacrifice and deprivation.

  5. Such wise words here, Anne, I love this post. You’re so right that we need to come at it from the point of view of self compassion. Watching every grain of sugar that passes our lips (or giving up fruit for 3 years!) is not self compassion, but then neither is spooning nutella straight from jar to mouth late at night (or indeed any time of day). Sometimes I think it’s a question of chipping away at it from both sides – trying to be aware of and put aside my unhealthy unhelpful behaviours around sugar, and looking for self acceptance. I can’t help thinking that a woman who has fully embraced self acceptance simply wouldn’t be found late at night with her spoon in the nutella jar… so maybe by then it will no longer be a problem 😉 xx

  6. Lovely post, and so relevant to me (and many others!). I tried giving up swearing and gossip, I lasted 12 hours before I said arse! Its hard to tell regarding the gossip , but I have decided that not being horrible about people behind ther backs might be a good place to start!
    Anyway I know I cant give up suger, carbs or meat so Im not going to even try. As you say not drinking is the priority!

  7. Great advice, Anne, thanks! I gave up sugar for lent and only lasted one day. I came to the same conclusion – sobriety is the focus now, and is not easy. Why add more things I can’t this early in the process.

  8. I know some Christians who, instead of giving up a negative for Lent, choose to take on a positive behavior instead. One lady I know made a point of praying for people who cut her off in traffic, rather than cursing at them. And if she did slip up and curse at them, she caught herself and turned it into a blessing.

    It might be a way of participating in Lent without the sense of deprivation.

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