A Story of Recovery:

After a year-and-a-half, down 100 pounds

I have struggled with addictions my whole life. I grew up in an abusive home, and my coping mechanism then was to disappear to my safe spot, an old grist mill that was near our house. I spent hours there, sitting at the top of the third story, looking out the windows. Everything seemed so far away and I was safe.

Things got a bit better when I was eleven and my dad left. Unfortunately, my mom was fighting her own demons and depression had set in with her. She became addicted to sleeping pills and used them as her escape, which made our lives hell.

At thirteen, I found my own escape in alcohol, and in my later teens, I discovered diet pills. My friend’s mom had them prescribed from her doctor, and my friend and I used them regularly. I was able to get more and better ones from another source, and I soon became addicted. No need to worry about any weight gain then; the pills did the trick.

I abused amphetamines for about eight years until one day, when I went blind. The blindness lasted for almost two hours. I prayed and prayed to my Higher Power to please let my sight come back, promising that I would never again touch another pill. I visited my doctor the next day and told him what had happened, of course leaving out the part about the pills. He said a vein in my brain had become enlarged and had pressed on the optical nerve causing the short-term blindness. He looked meaningfully at me and said “some drugs will cause that.” I followed through on my promise to my Higher Power and never again touched another pill.

At twenty-five I fell in love and got married. I thought my life was complete. Unfortunately, after about sixteen years, we became unhappy in our marriage and we started to drift apart. I started to eat for comfort, and my weight climbed to over 200 pounds.

Some years later, I decided to make a huge lifestyle change, and I quit smoking. That was good for forty pounds, and I was now pushing 250 pounds. I tried Weight Watchers to no avail. If I lost two pounds one week, I gained them back the next week. I just couldn’t lose no matter what.

I felt like a failure. In May that same year, I was dealt a huge blow. My brother was diagnosed with stage four cancer. He was gone by August. He was the one person in my life who was always there for me no matter what, and now he was gone. Even though I had fallen in love and moved in with another man by that point, I felt so terribly alone.

I fell into a huge depression. When your soul is wounded, the pain can manifest itself physically, and I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. A month later, I was unable to perform my job of thirty-four years. I was in a world of pain inside and out. I became isolated. I could physically hardly move around, and now each day I was home alone. Again I turned to food for comfort.

I hardly ate meals anymore; instead I nibbled and snacked all day long. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Each week I would weigh myself and my weight kept climbing and climbing, my health deteriorating at an alarming rate. I knew I was in trouble but didn’t know where to turn.

I ran into an old friend of mine one day and couldn’t believe how good she looked and how much weight she had lost. I felt a flicker of hope. She told me about FA and said she would take me to a meeting if I wanted to go. Talk about divine timing! I attended my first meeting. My first thought was that the people there were crazy. I knew all about addiction to drugs and alcohol, but I didn’t believe you could be addicted to food.

However, I kept going to meetings and listening to the stories. When people said that it was the flour, sugar, and quantities that caused the addiction, that made sense to me. I could relate to what they had gone through, and I realized a lot of them were wounded souls just like me. I regularly attended meetings and by December, I knew I was ready to do the program—in January. My birthday, Christmas, and New Years were all coming up, and I wasn’t going to miss out on all the goodies and festivities.

I started my FA journey weighing in at 310 pounds. It was the heaviest I’d ever been in my life. The first month, I lost 19 pounds, and I was hooked.

Now, I have been in program for a year-and-a-half, and I am down 100 pounds. I never dreamed this could be possible. I still have a long way to go to reach my goal, but I’m ok with that. The weight didn’t go on overnight, so it won’t come off overnight either. I just focus on how far I have come and thank my Higher Power every day for all the miracles in my life!


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.