We cannot recover out of self-hatred. Self-hatred only fuels addiction. Why else would we engage in good-now-bad-later behavior if there was not a part of us that lacked reverence for ourselves?

For example, if you diet because you hate how you look, your self-hatred will ultimately lead to relapse. Hatred cannot sustain the work of recovery.

Instead, recovery starts with reverence. It is out of love for ourselves and reverence for this precious gift of life that we choose to take very good care of ourselves. Recovery begins and ends with love.

To end any addiction, including food addiction, you need to start with a practice of unconditional, radical reverence for yourself exactly as you are. You then become your own ideal parent. It is out of loving care for yourself that you then embark on the hard work of recovery. It is reverence that sustains you and helps you to persist in your recovery.

There are many practices for cultivating reverence. They all boil down to two core practices. The first practice is to Attend, to get present, to look closely at the truth of things. You do this through stillness practices like silent prayer and meditation. Reverence arises out of stillness. You will see that you are a miracle of immeasurable worth, and that all of life is a miracle. Seeing this bare truth will inspire the reverence required for recovery.

The second practice is the practice of unconditional, radical appreciation for yourself, for others, and for life. You do this by reminding yourself over and over that you are sacred, and that this moment is sacred.

Practice these two skills of Attending and Appreciating repeatedly throughout the day. It won’t happen overnight, but gradually your reverence for yourself and your life will grow. Then you will be enabled to engage in the loving practice of recovery.

 

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