A Story of Recovery:

Comfort Measures

I had months of all-day sickness and a strong aversion to my abstinent meals when I was pregnant with my second child. I never thought it would end with my baby dying due to a sudden placenta abruption ten days before my due date. I never thought I would deliver him eight hours after he was pronounced dead. I never thought I could ever stay abstinent through something so heart wrenching. But I did.

How did I do it? I did it with the help of my sponsor, who showed up for me in ways I have never seen anyone show up for another person. Among many other things, she listened to my intense grief for months, comforted me, and reminded me that I had been through a traumatic experience. She helped me walk through (and overcome) resentments toward the medical staff that sent me home with symptoms two hours prior to losing the baby. She helped to coordinate abstinent meal deliveries from the minute I delivered (there was an 8-hour window from when the baby was pronounced dead to delivery, when I called my sponsor and she arranged for a fellow to deliver food to me). She made sure I was not alone in that first month following this experience, and cried with me on my bed when I came home from the hospital, just having gone through the pain of handing my baby over to a funeral director. Again, the list of things she did is too long to print.

I got through it with the help of my fellows who showed up to a funeral that I never imagined I would have in my lifetime. They filed in one after the other to hug my husband and me and grieve with us. They showed up at my home so I could talk about it. I was afraid of seeming overly dramatic, but more afraid of isolating through this experience and possibly eating. They gave me hours of undivided attention. I felt loved, and it helped me weigh and measure my food for yet another day. I would call them and cry and hope they would understand why some days it was a one-way conversation because I couldn’t take in much more.

My fellows brought me abstinent meals, even that first day in the hospital. This was a day when I know that each one of them had to ask God for the courage and strength to walk into a room where a mother and a father were deeply heartbroken as they stared at their deceased baby boy.

I was able to get through this with the fellow who walked in minutes after I delivered my son and cried with me. Within a couple hours, some of my non-FA friends from my baby shower (that was to be held that day) came from the shower site to the hospital. They all sat in the room with long faces, speechless. It was surreal, and everything felt like a nightmare. I just kept looking over at that FA fellow, who stood amidst all the people in the room. She just stayed in the background, quietly holding the bag of weighed and measured food, waiting until I was ready for my meal. That service will always be ingrained in my mind.

Early on in abstinence, when I would hear “no matter what happens, you don’t have to eat over it,” I would get annoyed because it didn’t seem like anything too rewarding.

I wanted to eat. I wanted to escape into my food. It felt like a lazy statement that had no meaning or impact. Inside I would think, “Come on give me something better than that!”

I now appreciate that concept more than ever.

I told my sponsor when I came into FA, white-knuckling my way through this new way of living as she encouraged me to make my phone calls, “I don’t need any more friends, I already have enough.” And her response was, “You can never have too many people loving you.” Thank God I asked for the courage all those years ago to reach out to the FA fellow holding my hand during my son’s funeral.

I also walked through this experience with the help of my sponsees, who I was able to show up for a few weeks after that dreadful day. They allowed me to continue to pass on my experience, strength, and hope. I was grateful to stop thinking about myself and turn my attention to them each morning to help them not eat, one day at a time.

I was connected to a fellowship of people, some of whom I have never met, who sent cards and donations. They went beyond any service I could have imagined. My husband, who has always supported my program, fell in love with FA even more, because he didn’t feel as alone either.

I was helped by a loving God, who I have learned will truly use everything for good, a God that will comfort and restore and allow for proper grieving. I have a God that offers a healing grace that is comparable to nothing else.

And I had the foundation of this program. I had the tools, the Promises, the suggestions from my sponsor—the foundation I had been building into my life for six years prior to this experience.

Would I have been able to get through this past year if I had gone back to the food? Or during my saddest moments, what if I had checked out like in the old days and taken those pain pills on the counter that my husband had left over from a surgery? What would have happened if I had given in to my disease that wants me dead also? I know these answers.

Whatever happens in our lives, we do not have to eat over it. Plain and simple. Thank you God. And thank you to FA. I will always be grateful for the way I was loved and held during the hardest period of my life. This is a good reason to get off of the sidelines and into the heart of this fellowship. Life happens. Even in recovery.


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.