G4 Addiction

Resources from Brad Hambrick


Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 7

As you reach this chapter the momentum of change has probably already fluctuated several times. Getting started was hard. It felt like an uphill battle. Old patterns of life didn’t want to let go of you and you didn’t want to admit they had a hold on you. Changing your eating patterns can feel like betraying a friend; breakups are never easy even when they’re good and needed.But honesty with self, others, and God has a great way of building momentum. You began to let go of the weights of sin that clung to you so you could run free (Heb. 12:1). This second phase is almost always exciting. When there are so many ways that your relationship with food can be healthier, it can bring a great sense of hope and progress.In the third phase, the one we’re starting now, life restructuring may begin to feel more like work again. “Implementation” is not an exciting word or process. Lasting change happens in incremental units and mundane moments. Change begins to impact moments that feel “less relevant” to your battle with food. The relief you’ve gained tempts you think you can risk a few of your previous bad habits. In this chapter you will evaluate the effectiveness and needed modifications to your life restructuring plan made in chapter six. This step will require the passage of time. Implementing (chapter seven) takes longer than creating a plan (chapter six). For this reason, if you are in a group program, it is recommended that you give at least two months to this step. You will need to see how your plan responds to the changes of settings, relationships, and emotions that happen over months rather than days.As this time passes, there are two areas of assessment that you will be performing from this chapter. First, you will be learning how to measure lasting progress. What is the difference between “I’m having a good day” and “My life is beginning to conform to God’s design”? Second, you will be looking at key areas of your life to make sure that you have not overlooked something that was not immediately relevant during the emotional crisis that precipitated your seeking help.But before we engage those subjects, we will spend a couple of sections discussing the topic of relapse. What is a relapse? How do I know if I’ve relapsed? If a relapse doesn’t “just happen” what contributes to a relapse? What do I do if I realize I’ve relapsed?

Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 5

You will only be as free as you are honest. Privacy kills change and fuels sin. Transparency kills sin and fuels change. Chances are this step may scare you as much as any step you have taken since the first one. But remember it is not nearly as scary to move forward as it is dangerous to go backward. Don’t allow fear to make you forgetful.When you are tempted to think, “This is not worth it. Too much is being asked of me. Why do I need to confess my struggle to others?” remind yourself of these things. Our tendency has been to face difficult situations with indulging in food or punishing ourselves with restriction. That can no longer be our life pattern. Now we will face hardship by being honest with others. Confession serves two functions:Acknowledging how we’ve harmed relationships and making amendsInviting people to become a more informed part of our support networkConfession is what invites other people into our lives and points out to them where they can help. Confession is how we acknowledge our weakness and admit that we need their help; we won’t lie, dismiss, or lash out. Confession is what ensures others that we have the humility and realistic expectations necessary to be safe to receive help. Confession is the door to community; the door through which we must enter if we do not want to be alone in the dark with our disordered eating.Simply put; we confess to others because it is good for our pursuit of righteousness as much as because we’ve sinned. Often, with confession, we are like the child who is offended by their parents telling them to eat the vegetables so they can be “big and strong.” We perceive the remedy as an insult highlighting that we are “small and weak.” It makes sense, but as long as we think that way, we’re trapped.

Gaining a Healthy Relationship with Food - Step 3

If only we could say that we eat because we’re hungry, and we stop when our hunger is satiated. But does anyone really eat that way? We eat for comfort. We abstain because of fear. We eat to socialize. We abstain to be liked. We eat to be entertained. We abstain to punish ourselves. With the briefest of reflections, we quickly realize we have a very complex and elaborate relationship with food. This complex relationship with food starts very young; actually, from infancy. Food is used to get a child to stop crying. Food is used as a reward (extra dessert) and a punishment (no dessert). When you ate all the food on your plate, you were a “big boy” or “big girl,” but you couldn’t get up from the table until you ate at least five more bites of your vegetables.Food has always been more than fuel. We learn to use food for many reasons long before we had the ability to reason. We see in this statement the two realities we will explore in this step: (1) our disordered eating has a history and (2) our disordered eating has motives. Both perspectives are useful in our efforts to gain a healthy relationship with food. We do what we do to get what we want. That is true of all human behavior. Lasting change requires changes in our motives. We need a healthy “why” we eat if we’re going to get to a healthy relationship with “what” we eat.But we’ve also been doing what we’re doing for a long time. Habit is the momentum of the soul. Habit easily fools us into believing that self-sabotage can be comforting. We keep doing what we’re doing because change is hard. Unless we carefully examine and expose our unhealthy eating habits we will blindly repeat them because “they haven’t killed us… yet.”These are the two subjects we’ll examine in this step: history and motive.