Member Stories of Recovery
I am a 75-year-old Afro-American female who joined FA at a later age. Before FA I was morbidly obese which caused many health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and limited mobility requiring me to use a wheelchair. When I came into FA in 2006 I weighed 321 pounds at the time. Since being in FA I have lost 180-plus pounds with no need for the wheelchair or meds for diabetes or blood pressure. I walk to my meetings and stand as a healthy and grateful septuagenarian.
Before learning about FA, my weight was 314 pounds and climbing (yet again). As a Spanish-American male in my early thirties, six years before joining FA, my top weight was 341 (I know I was heavier that that, but I would not get on a scale). I had a laundry list of health problems. Besides being morbidly obese, I had plantar fasciitis in both feet, a bad right knee and lower back, heart palpitations, acid reflux, undiagnosed sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, I suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, bouts of vertigo, depression, fear, doubt and insecurity. Since coming to FA, getting a sponsor and utilizing the tools of the program, the weight came off my body. I now weigh 165 and have maintained this weight for more than five years. I do not suffer from any of those physical (or mental) ailments any longer. FA has given me a sense of peace, and I know fundamentally all is well as long as I am not eating addictively.
I’m a 40-year-old recovering bulimic, under-eater and compulsive liar. I started bingeing and purging when I was 14 years old. I thought this was the answer to all my prayers as I quickly took off the extra 20 pounds I couldn’t seem to release by ‘normal’ eating. I’m 5’ 7”, and, at one point through my use of purging and using laxatives, I weighed only 108. I mixed all of this with almost daily drinking, smoking and intermittent drug use. I would use anything I could get my hands on that would take me out of reality and help me feel more secure about myself. Through all of this I stopped menstruating, nearly ruined my teeth and nearly destroyed some of my relationships because of my incessant lying. After being in recovery for just over 11 years I’ve maintained a healthy weight and I no longer use anything to ‘control’ my weight. Thankfully my body has fully recovered, and I was able to conceive and have a beautiful, healthy baby with no complications. I am also happily married and am able to be present and honest in this relationship. I am forever grateful to FA for giving me my health and life back!
As a 27-year-old young man who grew up in Canada, I didn’t find FA until I relocated to New York City. I am 6’0” and arrived weighing 214 lbs., but I was on my way back up the scale (quickly) towards my top weight of 260 lbs. I was one of very few men and one of the youngest members at the initial FA meetings that I attended but was still able to relate to the stories of fear, doubt and insecurity. During elementary and early high school I steadily gained weight even through dieting, which began at 10 years old. I spent a summer at a weight loss camp and lost 60 lbs. but gained and lost that same weight and more many times over for the next 13 years. By the time I was 23 years old I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and morbid obesity. I was successful in business at a young age but was never satisfied with life. I was not happy. I had a series of girlfriends but could not maintain a healthy relationship. I joined umpteen gyms, tried alternative medicine, attended weekend personal growth courses, had a library of diet, health, wellness and spiritual solution books but nothing seemed to stick. I had lost hope and had pretty much given up. One day, by chance, an FA member entered my life and told me her story. It sounded like mine…she was a food addict…but she had found a solution…and it was free…so I decided to try it one day at a time. The cravings disappeared, I lost 45 lbs. and have maintained my weight for 11 years. My life has totally turned around. I am back living in Canada, I am healthy, I have a wonderful healthy marriage, two incredible children, a nice house, a great relationship with my family, a graduate degree and a good job. I do it all while still taking care of what I need to for my FA program. Life’s good… I can’t ask for much more.
I came into FA when I was 24 years old, because I was desperate to stop bingeing. I was already a little under my goal weight and knew I was thin but felt like I could shoot back up the scale at any time. At that time I had been in AA for two years and had two years of sobriety from alcohol, pot, and pills like xanax. As soon as I was sober from those things, I gained 25 pounds, so I knew I had replaced the alcohol with food. Once I got abstinent from flour and sugar, things became clearer to me, and I realized I'd used other substances to try to control how much I ate. I had used cigarettes, caffeine, busyness, relationships, exercise, shopping, and things like that to try to control my eating and my weight.
When I came into FA and began to learn that food addiction is a real addiction, I had a lot of objections to that concept. I didn't want it to be true, and I didn't want to be a food addict. I also did not want to have to change the way I ate or my lifestyle. I had been praying for years for God to make me thin and to help me with my eating, but I didn't like the answer to those prayers. I had wanted a magic wand experience where I could miraculously be thin but still get to pig out.
Being from the South I was extremely affected by cultural pressures to conform and not be different at all. I had to pray a lot and rely on support from my sponsor and new friends in FA to do what was being asked of me to do for the sake of my recovery. I have now been in FA for over 13 years and have been abstinent for 12-and-a-half years. I have been maintaining my goal weight of between 110 and 115 pounds for 13 years, even though there are few FA meetings in my area. Many miracles have happened since coming into FA. The first miracles were abstinence, freedom from obsession with food, and freedom from obsession with my body. Those were followed by miracles of change in how I think and how I live life. I am now happily married and pregnant with my second baby. I am deeply grateful and thankful for this wonderful program and for my long-distance sponsor who has lovingly supported and guided me for all these years.