IDEA Day – International Day for Experiencing Abstinence: the Coquitlam meeting is hosting a workshop on The Difference between Abstinence and a Plan of Eating on Saturday, November 18th from 10 am until 2 pm at the King of Life Church, 198 Falcon Drive in Coquitlam. BRING YOUR LUNCH! The program is based on World Service’s materials. For more information, contact Mikayla at 604-949-0747. Need a ride from the Skytrain? Call Maureen at 604-785-2236. See you there!

International Day Experiencing Abstinence takes place the third Saturday of every November, i.e., right before the amateur overeating season known as “the holidays.” Last year on IDEA Day, ten people braved their way through a snowstorm to hear about ideas valuable to abstinence. (Quoted material below is from Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed.)

  • Compulsive eating is a disease, not a moral issue, and weight is only a symptom. It’s an obsession of the mind plus an allergy of the body. It’s progressive, incurable, and potentially fatal.
  • Food is only nourishment for our bodies—it’s not love, comfort, reward, or a solution. For some people, extra food, certain foods, and certain behaviors are drugs. Addiction can happen to anyone—no matter how smart, knowledgeable, strong, capable, or stubborn.
  • “The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed” (p. 30). Like other addicts, we are absolutely unable to stop compulsive behavior “on the basis of self-knowledge” (p. 39). “Lack of power, that was our dilemma. We had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves” (p. 45).
  • We can each use our own conception of a Higher Power, whatever that may be.
  • When we take a sponsor’s suggestions regarding food, we’re surrendering and taking Step One. We turn our will, life, food, weight, and body image over to the care of a loving Higher Power. We don’t have to believe in God—we just have to believe that we’re not it. HP is the pause between the food thought and the action, a protection and shield. A Higher Power is one hundred percent love and one hundred percent honesty.
  • Our disease lives in the extremes—all or nothing, black or white. Our recovery is in balance—doing something in shades of black, white, and gray.
  • Self-care may be the opposite of self- will. One day at a time, one moment at a time, just don’t eat compulsively. We cannot make ourselves abstinent (if we could, we wouldn’t need OA), but we can make ourselves ready to receive the gift of abstinence from our HP.
  • Abstinence is a gift from God, dependent on the spiritual condition, so start each day with “I can’t. God can. I will let God.”
  • Abstinence is freedom.
  • Abstinence is being full of faith and an attitude of gratitude.
  • Nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.
  • Use the Steps and Tools throughout the day to maintain abstinence. Thank HPeach night.
  • We never need eat compulsively again.
  • We are all abstinent right now.

Edited and reprinted from Out of the Cocoon newsletter, Milwaukee Area Intergroup, Jan/Feb 2016