Addiction, NA, Narcotics Anonymous, Recovery, Spiritual Principles, Twelve Steps

Acceptance and Tomatoes

This is my second year of gardening at my apartment complex. One of the things visible from our balcony is the garden area. It consists of around thirty raised bed garden plots that are available on a first-come first-served basis.

Last year I was very over zealous about my little 4’x7′ garden plot. I over planted to the point that while there was a lot of greenery, no fruit or vegetables were growing. I ended up having to rip out most of the plants in order to let the others bear fruit. We did finally have success, but it was nothing near what it could have been.

This year has been different. Rather than repeating last year’s mistake and expecting different results (insanity), I actually learned from last year’s mistakes. The number and variety of plants was drastically reduced. Tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries are all I planted.

The strawberries were just meant to be a tool to motivate (bribe) Shaun into helping. It worked too! He enjoys going down the the garden to help me with watering , weeding, and the harvest. His reward for going is usually only one or two edible berries, but that’s proven to be all that is needed to motivate him.

Tomatoes and peppers are for the grown-ups. We enjoy having them alone, or in different dishes. Tomatoes, peppers, and fresh basil from my tiny herb planter off the balcony make a wonderful beginning to a fresh pasta dish. Oh man, I can taste it now. Yum!

Just one catch. Shortly after planting our garden, Amanda and I decided to start a Keto diet. While there are plenty of things we can eat, a couple of items that are loaded in carbs, and therefore not on the menu are pasta and tomatoes.

That’s right, tomatoes pack a mean carbohydrate punch. So, the number of these beauties I can enjoy is quite limited. No more tomatoes with pasta. No more tomatoes with cottage cheese. No more plates full of tomatoes with more tomatoes. At least not today…

So, rather than enjoying this year’s bumper crop, we’ve been giving most of it away. I know it’s better to give than to receive, but I doubt that truism was meant to apply to garden fresh tomatoes. Despite my love for this luscious fruit, I’m having to take delight in giving it away for now.

Who would have thought that a little garden plot could give me so many examples of acceptance?

Learning from Mistakes – last year I had to accept that I had over planted my garden. I was forced to rip out most of the plants if I hoped to see any real growth. So, this year, I had to learn from last year’s mistakes, and plant much less.

Living with Changing Priorities – Last year, I was not watching what I ate at all, and boy did it show! I would excuse my growth as a sign of health. “Better than looking like I did when I was strung out on dope,” I would tell myself. In reality though, I was becoming unhealthy. I needed this change of diet and of activity. My priorities have changed from eating whatever I want, and doing as little as possible physically, to caring for my body by guarding my diet and exercising regularly.

Discovering New Opportunities – Amanda and I are on this Keto journey together. Like most journeys, this one has brought the two of us closer together. We talk about and plan out our meals together. We’ve developed new favorite meals together. We’ve both lost weight along the way, which helps us to encourage each other. We focus on what we can enjoy, rather than worrying about what we can’t.

Strengthening Our Recovery – addiction is a disease of obsession and compulsion, a disease of feelings and emotions. A disease of escaping life’s challenges through some outside influence.

The outside influence that brought us all to the rooms of Narcotics Anonymous was drugs. I used drugs to bury my feelings and hide my emotions. At first , they helped me escape life’s problems. Eventually though, they became the source of nearly all my problems. The more I used, the more difficult it became to run and hide from life. What a downward spiral that was.

My addiction can try to get me to escape life with other things too. Just because I haven’t used any drugs for over eighteen months doesn’t mean my addiction is on vacation. That obsession and compulsion remain, looking for a different means of expression. It has taken on many forms in my life: work, sex, religious zeal, and yes, food.

For the first 17 months of my recovery, food served as that escape. It became my obsession, as I even planned my business travel around finding or returning to, good restaurants. As I fed that obsession, my waist line grew, my issues with SVT (a condition that causes the heart to randomly beat way too fast) increased, and my blood pressure rose. I looked and felt bad.

Yesterday I went in to urgent care for an earache. When the nurse took my blood pressure, it was 124 over 77. I said “not bad for someone my age, is it?” She chuckled and said it was very good for someone of any age! I call that progress. I’m in the process of replacing clothes that are now too large, and rarely think about SVT. Life is good!

Getting my life back under control was no accident. My diet is only one area of life in which I am able to apply the spiritual principles of Narcotics Anonymous. I am learning to apply these principles in all areas of life, and as I do, life keeps improving.

The Keto diet is not for everyone. There are a lot of different options for weight loss. A lot of things that work. Therefore, you will not find me actively promoting it as a way of life. My plan is to achieve my target weight and then maintain mainly through exercise and healthy food choices.

Narcotics Anonymous, on the other hand, is a lifelong choice. If someone who struggles with drug addiction, or even thinks they have a problem, I’m very zealous in my approach. NA offers a proven life changing program of recovery. The twelve steps and spiritual principles of NA will work for anyone. It is available to us all.

The message of NA is clear: an addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live.

Have a remarkable day!

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