A Story of Recovery:
Filling My Prescription
I prayed for many years for a way out of the prison and cycle of misery I was in. For someone who has battled food and diet obsession all of her life, it is unimaginable that I would find myself in a right-sized body, maintaining a 111 pound weight loss for almost two years. Thank God for a misery and desperation level that brought me into FA, willing and ready to go to any lengths to not only achieve abstinence, but recovery. I am so thankful to have finally found the solution to a major problem. How did I get there?
The first thing I did was to find a sponsor who had what I wanted. It was so helpful to find a sponsor who kept the focus on me. I was a huge caretaker, always taking care of everyone else, but myself. I was blessed to find a sponsor who did not talk all the time about her problems, but kept encouraging me to talk about me…a first! I followed her suggestions about my food plan and found it to be so healing to trust someone for the first time in my life.
I kept my food plan very simple. One of the problems I have always struggled with in life, which got worse as my disease progressed, is that my brain is easily overloaded. When I started FA, I realized that I needed to keep things very simple. The structure and routine of what my sponsor gave me to follow was critical to my success. When I wrote down my food every night for the next day, I liked that I didn’t have too many choices and was given tips on how to eat. What a relief!
I shopped every few days and plan ahead for what I needed. For the first time in a long time, I went to the grocery store with a list in hand and stuck to the list, not allowing my eyes or thoughts to graze the aisles, nursing thoughts of what I wished I could have. I also trusted my sponsor when she told me that my taste buds would change very quickly, and what I thought tasted gross, I would soon look forward to. I thought…okay, we shall see…and she was right!
I learned that what I think about grows in my mind, so I knew I needed to be more careful to grow thoughts of gratitude and starve thoughts of complaining. If I wanted success in this program, I decided not to feed my mind with “poor pitiful me, I can’t eat that anymore.” I was taught to refuse to entertain my thoughts about how hard this was and instead think… wow, this is wonderful.
When I had just been abstinent for a short time, I faced a challenge. I was scheduled for an out-of-town trip to take my first child off to college. I decided I was too new to feel comfortable eating out during this emotionally charged event. I did not want to subject myself to the temptation of eating the appetizers my family was having, nor did I want to justify that maybe I didn’t get enough vegetables when I ate out so I could go ahead and have a little more of something else. It just wasn’t worth it to me. Later down the road in my abstinence, with the help of God and my sponsor, I was able to determine when I was ready to eat out.
Another challenge came when I tried to explain to my husband that I was a food addict. He laughed and told me that I was not a food addict. I was shocked, as he had seen me struggle throughout our 27 years of marriage. Or had he? He had certainly seen my weight go up and down and had seen me try one diet after another, but had he seen me binge out with food?
No, maybe he didn’t really know my struggle, as I had spent a lot of years hiding my eating. I certainly never talked about my struggle with food, or, for that matter, about any other real feelings I had. So I decided then and there that he didn’t have to believe I was a food addict. I knew what I was. I did not resent his reaction, but rather decided to keep the focus on me and the solution God had given me. That was certainly a different thought for me.
I decided that family and friends did not need to buy into what I was or what I did to take care of myself. I was careful to not over-explain or defend my choices. I simply stated I had food allergies. I found that the more comfortable I was with myself, the less attention I got from people. If they noticed me, that was okay too. I was 100% committed to my abstinence, no matter what anyone thought. It felt so good to not live my life to please others, but to take care of myself. I taught people how to treat me by how I treated myself. Today I am grateful that my husband is very supportive of my program and proud of the new me.
I stay abstinent. I have discovered that all the energy and effort I spent on bingeing on food, and then trying to figure out the next diet, is better spent on my recovery. Freedom from the obsession with food and dieting has given me more time and energy to spend on living a life filled with fulfilling the promises of the program. I can’t count on yesterday’s abstinence to keep me today, but it sure feels good to strengthen my recovery muscle by building a foundation of abstinence, one day at a time. I now know I have a disease, and if I take my medicine daily, my disease will be in remission. It was not my lack of willpower that was keeping me from the life I wanted. All I had to do was take my medicine. And I have found the right prescription!