A Story of Recovery:

Back to Basics

90 days. 3 months. 13 weeks. 129600 minutes. 270 meals. 39 meetings.

The last 90 days have been a whirlwind. You see, this isn’t my first encounter with the rooms of FA.  A friend introduced me over two years ago and I instantly fell in love. I had found what I didn’t know I was looking for. I loved the idea of the support and accountability. I saw members of my fellowship with a peace about their lives. I saw before-pictures that were similar to mine. Most of all, I heard my story. I had thought I was the only one.  I was not.  (I am not and you aren’t either.)  I found a sponsor and started on this journey not knowing what to expect. I didn’t expect to feel good about myself. I didn’t expect to stand in the front of the room and share. I didn’t expect to call people from all over the country. But I did it all.

It was almost blissful. Then I did something, something not suggested. I started a relationship within my first year of program, actually within my first four months. My sponsor warned me  but I went ahead anyway.  After all I was 35 and had never had a boyfriend. What’s the worst that could happen? Things were great. I was working my program, not as a program but as a diet. I was in love for the first time ever. Life was smooth sailing. Then the waters got choppy. I made the decision to leave program. After all, I knew what to do now. I didn’t need the program.  I had him to support me. I do not regret that decision. I learned a lot while “out doing research” as they say.

I was able to be the fun, spontaneous girlfriend. Too bad all he ever wanted to do was eat out. Herein lies the problem. Being the good food addict I am I could “behave” when we went out, as he would say get some “April approved” food and possibly a drink. I didn’t immediately pick up the flour and sugar.  It was a gradual slide. When I did it was evident that I am an addict. The minute I put sugar into my system for the first time in over 6 months, I began itching all over. I truly have an allergy to sugar and was having a physical reaction to its presence in my body.  This went on for a while and I was able to control my weight with exercise. Before long I was sneaking food, drinking alcohol, stopping by the drive-thru.  My boyfriend and I had stopped communicating. I knew at this point I had to do something. I joined another 12-step program for food but without all the “restrictions” of FA.

The relationship ended and I thought my life was over. I was 36, single, depressed and eating. I tried to get abstinent but decided to wait until after the holidays.  It was on.  I consumed anything I thought would make this pain go away. It didn’t go away; it just got worse. I was heartbroken and ashamed of what I was eating. I gained 10 pounds that December but it felt more like 100. I got “abstinent” in January but it wasn’t the same. I didn’t have that constant support I’d had in FA.

Then I discovered coffee. My obsession dropped to a whole new level. Food addiction truly is a progressive disease. So now the mental obsession was back. I was constantly drinking coffee in between my meals.  It wasn’t food so I was good, I thought. This went on until the fall when I hit rock bottom. I didn’t know what to do. I was gaining weight, hating myself, I wasn’t happy and I was back at the drive-thru eating like never before.  I had thrown in the towel on ever finding a solution.

That’s when my Higher Power stepped in. He told me to go back to the basics. I knew He was telling my to go back to FA. I just didn’t want that to be the solution. It can’t be, there had to be something else. Please God, why FA? He was very gentle but made it clear that’s where I was to be.

I walked back in the room to the meeting I was so familiar with. Some of the same people were there. They looked the same, having maintained their weight loss. I saw some new faces, too. What I didn’t see was judgment or ridicule. I was welcomed back with open arms. I knew I was home. I knew this was the solution that God had wanted for me. I treat it accordingly.

I got a sponsor, not the sponsor I wanted but the sponsor I needed. I started. I took the suggestions. I did every tool every day. Did I want to wake up before the sun to call my sponsor and have quiet time? No. Did I want to call complete strangers from other parts of the country? No, but I did it. I do every tool-every day to the best of my ability. I treat the program differently now.  It is a way of life, not a diet. I get to call people and talk about my day. I wake up before the sun, most days before my alarm.  I have a morning routine, something that is completely impossible outside of program. I have at peace about my life. I also have that “FA glow”.

I know that God has me right where He wants me – abstinent and in FA. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am grateful for this program. It saved my life and is giving me the life I always dreamed of but could never have because of food and the role it played it my life. Thank you God for FA.


This story was originally published in the connection Magazine. Subscribe to the connection Magazine for more stories of recovery. Or submit your own story of recovery.