A Story of Recovery:

Snow Daze to Snow Days


Snow Day! Those two words light up the lives of students and teachers alike. Having been an elementary school teacher for 24 years, I have experienced my fair share of snow days, but there is quite a difference between a snow day in FA recovery and the “snow daze” that I used to experience prior to finding Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous.

Before FA, I spent 18 years in the classroom and my average weight during those years was around 325 pounds.  A day off from school was synonymous with a day of unapologetic bingeing. The binge always began the night before the snow day with the grocery store run for “staple foods”. Prior to FA, my definition of staples included boxes and bags of sugar and flour products, a whole host of salty items, and a minimum of two twelve-packs of diet soda. I went to any length to ensure that I had all the food I “needed.”

The morning of the snow day, I would bounce out of bed like an energetic 5-year-old and settle into my breakfast of sugar and flour goodies—topped off with a couple of diet sodas. Taking a diet soda with me, I went back to bed to catch up on my sleep. After a 4-hour nap, I would wake up and start feasting on more of the boxes, bags, and frozen treats—wondering the whole time if certain restaurant chains were still offering delivery in the snowy weather. Selfishly, I never thought twice about having some poor teenage driver go out in the very weather from which I was excused.

If we had multiple snow days, my days and nights quickly flipped. I would eat and sleep all day and binge eat and watch TV all night. I would experience real feelings of anxiety when I had to crack open the second case of diet soda. I was ‘running out’ and that feeling made me very nervous, so I started plotting my route to the nearest convenience store. I didn’t care what the weather was like; blowing and drifting snow, bone chilling temps, or ice and freezing rain—nothing kept me for going to get a ‘back-up’ case of diet soda. I went to ANY length to get my drug, a fact my sponsor often reminds me of when a flake falls from the sky and I wonder if maybe I should stay home from my FA meeting.

When the inevitable came, and it was time to go back to school, I would drag myself in with a terrible sugar hangover. I was more exhausted than I was before the snow day, and I always went back to school with clothes that were too tight, making empty promises of stepping up the exercise to lose the weight.

My snow days are very different now that I’ve lost 160 pounds and been abstinent for six years. My night before grocery run is to make sure I have plenty of yogurt, fresh fruits and vegetables, and a solid supply of canned items in case that power goes out. I wake up on snow days at the same time I do any other day—I have prayers to say and sponsee and sponsor calls to make. I eat my weighed and measured breakfast and usually take an extra quiet time. I look for small projects to do around the house or read for a while. I make outreach calls to stay connected, and I look forward to my weighed and measured lunch and dinner. If it is a meeting night, I wait until the time is appropriate to make a decision about attending and talk to my sponsor if the weather truly is prohibitive. I end my day with more prayer and positive thoughts from the AA Big Book, and I go to bed at a reasonable hour. Each day is its own 24 hours. Each day calls for my constructive actions.  Each day is a new start to abstinence.

The best part is that when it is time to go back to school, I have no sugar hangover, my clothes fit just fine, and I am rested. There are no more pretend attempts at exercising.  I no longer spend time in a “Snow Daze.” I have learned how to abstinently enjoy a snow day thanks to FA 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.