A Story of Recovery:
Immediate Miracles in FA
I came to my first FA meeting with no idea what it was about, except that it might help me lose weight. I wasn’t feeling particularly desperate about my eating or my weight on that day. I had given up hope, but was just going through the motions because someone had suggested it.
In fact, that someone was my adult daughter, who had watched my utter inability to control my eating, over the previous six months. She had watched me eat as I prepared our customary Friday night dinners and Saturday lunches; as I fed my family, and cleaned up after the meals. She watched me, as I just kept putting food into my mouth.
What she didn’t see was what happened after she and her family went home, when I finally collapsed with exhaustion in front of the TV with a large bowl of my favourite sweet cold treats. I would eat them all and then go back to the freezer for more. It was never enough for me.
One Friday night, two weeks before coming into FA, I was home alone after my children and grandchildren had left for the evening. My partner had also gone out. I did what had become customary for me: I took a bowl of sweet cold treats and sat down to watch TV. I felt liberated because no one could see what I was doing. I went back again and again to the freezer for more and more of the sweet cold things. Soon they were finished. Thank G-d, because otherwise I would have kept eating. I had eaten so much that I felt sick. I took myself off to bed thinking I would just sleep it off and feel better in the morning, but it wasn’t to be. I slept fitfully but woke up in the night, feeling terrible. I was horribly ill, throwing up until morning. My partner didn’t understand what was wrong with me and asked if perhaps I’d eaten something that was off. I was too embarrassed to admit I’d just eaten a whole huge box of sweet cold treats.
I was out of control in so many ways. Food was just the most obvious symptom. During the same six months, my relationship with my partner had deteriorated to the point that communication was broken and trust eroded and I was seriously contemplating the end of our 23-year relationship. My relationship with my daughter was also a mess because I had failed to set appropriate boundaries and was feeling like a victim, resentful yet unable to communicate clearly. Life was too much. I was running around trying to control everything and feeling like I had nothing left to give. I was running on empty. I felt like I was doing my best but my best wasn’t good enough. At the same time, I believed that no one understood me, no one appreciated how hard I was trying and I felt unsupported and alone in the world.
I isolated. I didn’t socialise, because I was recycling the same awful big clothes and I was getting bigger. I felt like a complete failure with nothing to offer in a social setting anyway. I just wanted to stay home, watch TV and eat. I’d given up on life, except to look after my home and family to the best of my ever-diminishing ability.
I woke up every morning in anxiety and panic. I would resolve to take control of my eating and eat healthily and moderately. But at some point during the day, my feelings would overwhelm me and I would lose control again. When that happened, I would eat to excess to try to dull the pain of my disappointment and my fear about what I was doing to myself. I would eat to stop myself from feeling the self-hatred and from hearing the self-judgements that were hounding me. But of course, it didn’t work. Things just got worse.
How had I come to this? How was it that someone like me, someone who had successfully dieted and lost more than 30 kilos at least half a dozen times in my life, who had kept weight off for years at a time, could not now rally to the challenge on any level at all? I just couldn’t put the food down anymore. I couldn’t face another diet. I had no willpower and no energy to try again. I was beaten.
For a time I thought I would just accept that I was a fat person now. I tried to tell myself that I was no longer young and so being fat might be o.k., that it might be something I would just have to live with. The problem was that my body was too heavy to carry me. My weight was taking its toll on my health.
I came into FA numb to life, without any hope or thought except for an almost indiscernible whisper of, “What if, maybe…just maybe…there is a solution!”
It has now been over a hundred days since I entered FA’s rooms. I have been abstinent for 91 of those days. I have experienced amazing miracles in this short time in my life and I have lost over 12 kilos.
The biggest miracle I experienced through FA was that I found my Higher Power. No words can adequately describe how extraordinary and thoroughly unexpected a gift that has been at this time in my life.
The issues that seemed so intractable with my partner and my daughter resolved within the first ten days of program. Ten days! I was able to set clear boundaries with my daughter and cope with her reactions, because I had the Serenity Prayer as my mantra, which I used over and over again all day long. I still do! I was able to pray to my Higher Power for help, and realise that I am not alone and I don’t have to do it all myself. Thank G-d!
I was able to listen, really listen, to my partner. I heard him tell me that he was desperate to be heard, and that I had not been listening to him. I was able to crawl out of my self-pitying victimhood long enough to wake up and see that I had been on the wrong track in so many areas of my life. I was able to choose life again!
Now I weigh and measure my food daily, and as I continue to do this, I have found that my thoughts, feelings and behaviours have become more weighed and measured, too. I have found balance through prayer, gratitude, and sincere action.
When I entered FA, I realized almost immediately that this was a place for me to heal physically, to build a spiritual connection, to develop healthy disciplines and to find peace. I don’t think I could have articulated these things at the first, second or even third meetings. However, being at meetings felt nurturing, felt wholesome and brought me a peace of mind I hadn’t experienced often. Listening to fellows share felt healing for my soul. I felt connected again and I experienced real hope for myself and my future.
Meetings are my medicine and the tools of recovery provide me with a positive guide to daily living. The food no longer calls me, and I experience real gratitude for the healthy meals I prepare daily. They provide everything I need for my nutrition.
I realise that I am still very young in FA and I have a long way to go. It’s exciting to think of my potential to grow through this program of recovery, and I look forward to the challenges ahead. Most of all I am grateful for the gift of freedom FA has given me, the freedom to become my best self and to live a good and ever more useful life.