A Story of Recovery:

Positive Energy


My struggle with weight began after the birth of my first child when I was in my late twenties, although I was able to lose and maintain a healthy weight through Weight Watchers until the birth of my third son. By my early forties, I simply could not stick with a diet. The higher my weight, the more sick I became; the more sick I became, the more junk food I ate for comfort. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and after two years on a health leave, I entered a fibro treatment program. My symptoms improved for several years.

At that time I had been in a relationship for five years. When I attempted to lose weight and shed 20 pounds, my partner felt threatened by my weight loss, which apparently triggered his insecurities. He would say things like, “You are going to leave me once you lose the weight,” and, “Now that men are noticing you, someone will steal you away.” He was in a perpetual bad mood, snapping at me and saying things that upset me. I made the conscious decision to give up my weight-loss efforts for the sake of peace in our relationship. The weight quickly returned and continued to climb.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia returned full force, and I was once again in a position where I could no longer work. (I am a single parent with dependent children, that was a struggle.) I was 200 pounds, on two types of medication for high blood pressure, and on a blood thinner for suspected heart problems. I had chronic migraines, debilitating fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and painful arthritis, particularly in my knees. I cringed when I looked in the mirror at the woman I had become. I was a severe sugar addict. Like a heroin addict, I had to have my drug (sugar) to get me through the day. I had a handful of sugar products when I stepped out of bed in the morning and kept up regular doses until bedtime.

My partner expressed concern about my health issues and was supportive when I began the FA program, but when the weight began to melt off my body, it was a different matter.

I was prepared for his reaction, but had made the conscious decision to do anything I could to regain my health and my life. When my partner began sabotaging my program, in direct and indirect ways, I calmly let him know that I did not accept his behaviour. When he persisted, I got up and left the room. He always denied that his actions had anything to do with my weight loss, and at times I felt confused. Speaking daily with my sponsor and making outreach calls helped me see the situation with clarity, and enabled me to remain firm. It is a stroke of good fortune that my sponsor is a man, as the male perspective helped me better understand my partner’s behaviour.

It is said that we come to FA for the vanity and stay for the sanity, and this has been true for me. Once my food fog cleared, and I was no longer stuffing down my emotions with food, I saw that the way I was being treated in my relationship was no longer acceptable. I developed a stronger sense of self-worth and confidence. I sadly came to realize that there had never been peace and serenity in my relationship and that there would never be. It took months for me to follow through with the decision to end things, because I loved my partner. One month after reaching my goal weight (down 65 pounds), I made the decision to end the relationship.

My grief at the loss was very strong, and there were times it threatened my abstinence.  I spent much time reflecting, praying, journaling, and making outreach calls. When I felt myself slipping into a dark hole, I strove to surrender my will to my higher power, knowing that I was not seeing the whole picture at that moment.

My partner’s fears that I would change and become a different person had been accurate. He was happy with me as I was. The stronger, more assertive woman who emerged as I worked the Twelve Steps was someone he did not know, or particularly like.

I have developed greater understanding of my relationship with my partner and the role I played in issues between us. A few months ago I arranged to meet with him. I was able to express how my own character defects affected our relationship, and I expressed gratitude for his many good qualities. I told him that I will always love him, but that it is clear the two of us could not be together. There was healing between us that day.

I am now in a new relationship, where there is a peace and serenity, respect, and trust. If I had hung on to my previous relationship, I would have blocked the opportunity for my higher power to bring me this gift.

I am bursting with gratitude for the FA program and how it has transformed my life. I now realize that I was literally feeding my fibromyalgia with sugar, because once I cleared my body of it, my symptoms disappeared. My blood pressure is normal (with no medication), and I seldom have migraines. Now that I am not carrying around 65 excess pounds, I have little arthritis pain (to my delight as an avid gardener). As far as energy is concerned, I feel like I have turned back the clock 20 years. I have fibromyalgia, but I have more energy than most women my age. I can once again dance the night away.

 

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.