Autobiographical: Food and drink, and how not to offend

I don’t want to eat that!

I’m thinking about food and drink, temperance and covetedness, and vanity.

I have principles around food and eating meat, something I choose to abstain from. It has caused conflict in my family and that makes me wonder if it really is good of me to abstain or not. Thankfully the conflicts have eased off. I hope I can always be grateful for the food I eat.

Food is certainly a place where gluttony, covetedness, envy, and vanity can come into play. I’m reflecting on this after two years as a vegetarian and recent efforts to try the vegan lifestyle- lifestyle because it is more than a diet. I’m failing at being vegan, for example, vegans apparently do not wear wool products. It is taking me a while to catch up with what is and isn’t acceptable. Meanwhile, I must be mindful not to insult my family or friends by appearing ungrateful, which sometimes happens when you refuse food or hospitality.

I also chose sobriety a few years ago, and the book of AA said you must want what they have to remain sober. That sounds a little like covetedness to me, but in AAs defence, they live a spiritual life and give back to atone for their own previous selfishness or wrongs. This seems like an excellent way of life to me.


Another aspect of Sobriety I am discovering is guilt. Guilt and remorse. For example, recently I was ill and couldn’t buy Christmas presents for my loved ones or even spend the day with them. I feel such remorse, believing my illness could have been prevented. That is my shame and guilt, that maybe I could have prevented my breakdown.

I am sober these days but years ago I wasn’t and I feel guilt over irresponsible things I did while still drinking, the worry I caused my family, the friends I neglected. It’s a strong emotion and the reason it’s there, I believe, is because it is deliberately uncomfortable and so it spurs you onto do something about it. Ie I need to change my ways, and work on my shortcomings.

I’m not sure what I can do to assuage my own guilt from the past, but I do know this is along the lines of the 12 steps. Maybe it is time for me to make amends with people, something I was starting to do not so long ago until I lost my way.

What can I do for others instead of what can others do for me. Time to say how can I be of use in this world for the time I have left instead of what can I get out of life. What am I brave enough to change and what do I have to accept that I could never change even though I might want to? It is a conundrum, so I ask for help.

Temperence is a virtue but covetedness is not. To me , when it comes to food and drink, I need to think about my MO. What am I doing this for? What do I hope to get out of it and how is it helping others? Why am I abstaining and how can I avoid offending my loved ones with different dietary choices.

This will be what I reflect on while considering food and drink. As someone who used to suffer with an eating disorder, there is so much to consider in terms of offences caused, and how to remedy that within my own family and friendships. I hope I can do the right thing.

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From tiny acorns mighty oaks grow.

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