OK – so maybe that sounds a little exaggerated or even like you’re giving up your power to another person – but you really have to become aware of why you eat too much or drink too much for comfort. Way too often we are persuaded to act differently than our ideal because of those around us. And yes, while we’re all aware of peer pressure or going with the flow – there’s another element that we may not be mindful of – conflict avoidance or trying to seek some type of escape or coping mechanism when the person you live with tends to keep things in an uproar.
Now’s the time to get really honest and take a good look at your relationship or relationships with those closest to you.
Here’s an example. A woman that we’ll call “Alice” met a man and fell in “lust.” He was a very handsome, fun man and they had a great time playing together. They soon decided to get married but shortly afterward real life hit. Suddenly Alice realized that the only thing hat she and her new husband had in common was physical – their basic philosophies and social cultures were very different. In fact as time passed, it became painfully obvious that while Alice was rather optimistic – a “glass half full” kind of a person, her husband on the other had was depressed, anxious and complained frequently – including about her children from a previous marriage – and so she drank and ate in order to feel peace and harmony.
On top of all of that, Alice had given up her career to be a stay-at-home mom- something that her husband had not only pushed, but made it uncomfortable for her to work outside of the home by picking fights and accusing her of having affairs – or putting herself in the position for potentially having an affair. So Alice stayed home. While the kids were at school, she felt bored and unfulfilled – so she started to eat and drink more. This lasted for years. It wasn’t until she finally started to improve herself that a light went off. She started to immerse herself in exercise and workout challenges with small groups of woman – but her husband was threatened by it and would make negative comments about it. It felt as though he was trying to hold her back. Even worse, the complaining about life and the kids escalated and turned into more and more fighting to the point where her husband would get in her face and threaten to drop-kick her across the room. That’s when Alice realized that something had to change. She asked her husband to go to marriage counseling with her to work on their differences and issues causing the constant fights, but he wouldn’t participate. Alice soon realized that if she was to stay in control of her eating and drinking, that she would have to change her home environment – and that meant moving out. Alice soon got a job and rented an apartment, moving out with her children into the new place. Suddenly her life became much more positive, peaceful and harmonious, and the over-eating and drinking stopped.
Alice and her husband maintained an amicable relationship and often enjoyed each other’s company – simply doing “fun” things together without the he differences in the way they dealt with “real life” getting in the way.
So while I’m not suggesting that everyone go out and get a divorce or separation or move away from family in order to control your bad habits –what I am saying is to be aware of why you turn to substances for comfort and start making positive changes to resolve those issues.
Try the following steps:
1. Keep a journal and capture the feelings that you are having when you get the urge to eat something that’s not on your program or to open a bottle of wine.
2. If you begin to notice a pattern of drinking or eating after fights with your spouse or family member, then start to put together a plan for how to deal with it such as counseling, talking about it with that person or your friends, or changing the way you react to that individual.
3. Think outside of the box – it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. Think about what Alice did – just changing her living situation without a big knock-down-drag-out divorce.
4. If the fights are scary or physically threatening, then you need to put together a plan and implement that plan even faster! Identify a friend, church or organization that can offer you a safe place to go.
5. Seek natural anxiety relief- Take MODER8, go for a walk or run, take and shower or bubble bath, pull out your “Things to Do Instead of Drink (or Eat)” worksheet – CLICK HERE.
6. BUT WHATEVER YOU DO – DON’T CONTINUE TO DRINK OR EAT BECAUSE OF IT! It will only cause
• Increased emotional vulnerability
• You’ll feel worse about yourself
• And nothing gets resolved.