A Story of Recovery:
No More Tomorrows
Every night ended with the same demoralizing and endless stampede of negative thoughts: What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just eat right? I know it’s not good for me, but I can’t stop. I have no will power. I guess I just don’t care enough.
Every morning would start with the same lofty promises not to spend money I didn’t have, to be more loving and less irritable, to be more compassionate, and to work out to make up for the horrible choices I had made the day before. I would invariably break all my commitments. No matter what the consequences, or how much guilt or embarrassment I felt, I couldn’t seem to will or think myself better.
My issues with food were my complete and total preoccupation. I was consumed with how to lose weight, how to maintain weight, and how to avoid everyone when I gained it back. I thought I had fat genes because it seemed like all I had to do was look at food to gain weight. I wasn’t realizing how much, or how often I was eating.
I was in another Twelve-Step Program for years when I was first introduced to FA nine years ago. My take on it was that it was the same program I was in already, but it was just about food. I decided to apply the food plan to my existing recovery. I went to a few meetings here and there, but I wouldn’t commit to the FA program.
Ten months ago I found myself in a hotel room with all the trashcans overflowing with to-go containers, with my skin sweating and crawling. I couldn’t begin to consider how it was possible that I wasn’t happy when I had everything I thought I wanted in that moment. I had a rare moment with money in the bank. I was alone with my favorite food, in my favorite hotel, watching my favorite movies, and reading my favorite books. Yet there was no salvation from the fact that I had a belly full of food and a heartache that wouldn’t stop. I kept hoping I would get hungry again so I could feel the relief of eating, but I knew what I was hungry for wasn’t in the food. What I was looking for was an end to my suffering.
My mother had died eight months before my night in that hotel room. I had booked a room at her favorite casino because I wanted to remember her and celebrate her on what would have been her 65th birthday. I ended up full of food, with overwhelming grief, no gratitude, anger, and wearing men’s clothing, because I refused to shop in plus-size stores. I had always convinced myself that I would be happy if I could just be left alone to eat whatever I wanted and be as big as I would like. What I have learned is that there isn’t enough food to make me happy, because food doesn’t make me happy.
This is when I decided that I needed a separate recovery for food addiction. I realized that this disease is crazy making and requires an aggressive recovery. I think it is the sneakiest of all addictions.
My FA sponsor told me every day that things that bring you to your knees are blessings that bring you closer to your Higher Power. She said to listen to that still small voice, slow down, rest, weigh and measure your food, do your tools, and everything will work out. I thought these people were fanatical and nuts, and I didn’t understand how weighing my food was going to do anything. I didn’t think I needed a program. I thought I needed a diet. I know now I needed a program. I was full of anxiety, irritation, doubt, and expectations.
What ended up making me happy was being present, being abstinent in FA, and building a relationship with my Higher Power. The fact that I had to wait so long for this kind of freedom makes it all the more valuable. I remember hearing in the readings that our most common reaction to life was food. That’s my story. Once drugs and alcohol didn’t work to react to life, food became my coping mechanism.
I came to FA to lose the weight and thought if I could just be a normal size everyone would love me and my problems would go away. Here I find myself in a beautiful body, with problems that I am grateful for. I see the gifts that my Higher Power is teaching me, and how I needed this mountain to climb in order to become strong. The focus of my life has gone from finding a way to find relief to finding ways to be of service. I’ve learned that service is the key to my happiness.
My life today is an adventure. It is open and easy. My morning meditation is now my favorite time of day. I spend time being grateful for what I have today, not grateful for what I hope tomorrow brings me. What I have today is something all the money in the world couldn’t buy; I have serenity. When we read the promises of the program at the end of the meeting, they echo exactly what has happened in my life in a short period of time.
I’ve been abstinent for nine months and have lost all of my weight, restored my relationship with my Dad, found peace and joy with my husband, bought a new car, and got an unbelievably great job. I am excited, I have a thin body, the gift of presence, honesty, integrity, joy, and all that I ever was hoping for.
In my case, tomorrow finally came. I hardly had to do anything, except my one percent, and it all came like a magical wish. I have the gift of now and, because of FA, I can enjoy it.