A Story of Recovery:

Transformed


I began life in a small Michigan mining town.  I was a skinny kid for my first six years.  My mom fed me and my siblings a farmer’s diet.  Sweets were plentiful as well.

I became a chunky, husky kid during my middle school years.  The summer before I started seventh grade, my parents moved to a new home just outside the town.  I believe that one afternoon changed the course of my life forever.

I was biking back home from visiting friends, when a group of about ten kids started running toward me and screaming at me.  I began to get away, when one swung his football helmet and it brushed by my back and hit the seat of my bike.  I broke away, ditched the bike, and ran into my house.

After that, I rarely left the protective walls of my home again until I turned eighteen.  I became shy, had few friends, and did not participate in sports or go to school activities.  Instead, I would sit in front of the TV, eat all the stuff I could find in the house, and watch my shows.  I became a loner, sneaking around at school and on the street.  I would trudge through thigh deep snow, rather than feel trapped on a bus with kids I did not know.

When I was 18 years old, I weighed 200 pounds of mostly fat.  I joined the Army and went to basic training after graduation.

In the Army, I found that I could not run, complete 10 sit-ups, or do a single push-up.  My drill sergeant gave me extra calisthenics and told me that I could not eat flour or sugar items. After six weeks, my weight dropped to 164 pounds and I was able to run, do sit-ups, and enough push-ups to pass the physical fitness test.

I was able to maintain this weight for several years.  But then, I began to eat “normally” again.  “Normally” meant eating whatever I wanted when I wanted.  My weight did not come back right away because I was young and active.  I participated in physical fitness training almost daily, which allowed me to hide my food addiction.  I loved junk food!  I would go out of my way to find those fattening foods on every corner.

When I turned forty, I injured my feet and I could no longer run.  My weight increased from 190 to more than 250 pounds in a few years.  In August 2004, I retired from the army and my weight began to creep up even further.  I had given up running, so I tried other ways to lose weight.  I would begin to lose a little bit, then quit what seemed to be working, with the idea I could do it alone.  Then I would gain back what I lost and more.

My blood pressure was at 220 over 110, my cholesterol was high, and I was beginning to display some pre-diabetic symptoms.  I had aching knees and trouble climbing stairs.  I contemplated installing ramps in my home, purchasing a scooter, and moving from the main bedroom upstairs to one downstairs.  My life had become unmanageable.

I think that God loved me into FA.  In 2013, some close friends began the FA program.  I interrogated them until they gave me the scoop on the food plan and other daily activities of the program.  I made the excuses that most make for not joining.

I once heard that the longest journey of faith is the eighteen inches from the head to the heart.  For me that journey culminated in a confession with my priest, absolution, and a clean slate with which to begin the rest of my life. I weighed in at 315 pounds and had a 52-inch waist.  I adapted to the food plan quickly, worked my tools each day, and eventually became more honest.

I have not looked back since.  I have been abstinent from flour, sugar, and individual binge foods.  It was difficult for me to begin making the three connections via telephone each day.  I did not care for talking on the telephone in general, but my relationships with others have always been difficult because I instinctively distrust people.  I always suspected ulterior motives.  I had only a handful of numbers in my cell prior to FA.  But I adapted and found a great group of folks that I call on a continuing basis.

I read the Big Book and the Twenty-Four Hours A Day book daily.  I attend my three meetings, start and end my day on my knees before my higher power and devote 30 minutes each day to my quiet time.

I make my sponsor calls faithfully, and these have been instrumental in helping me get over anger issues, procrastination habits, and perfectionistic tendencies that I have dealt with for decades.  The things I talk about with my sponsor carry over to my quiet time, and then I feel more connected with my higher power and with other people.

My relationship with my wife has never been better.  In the past, I would sometimes grow impatient with her and complain over my pet peeves.  Now I practice patience and love, with a more compassionate heart.  My son and I have always gotten along, but I found myself always advising, telling, and interrogating him.  I now do my best to listen, to accept, and to simply love him.

Now, I ask my God to walk with me every day, to help me with situations as they arise.  This allows me to smile more, to be present for others, and be the person that God wants me to become.

My health is outstanding.  My doctor is thrilled with my reduction in weight.  I have a 36-inch waist, my cholesterol is well within the normal range, and my blood pressure is under control.  Recently, my doctor removed all medications from my chart.

I am grateful to my family for supporting me, my fellows for guiding and helping me, and my God for loving me into the FA program.  I am in a normal sized body, feel better mentally, am more spiritually connected to God than I have ever felt before, and am working to live the life that God wants for me.

 

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.