A Story of Recovery:

Leading by Example

I am a father of four incredible children, now between 3 and 13 years of age. Prior to entering recovery in FA four years ago, I never viewed my children as assets whom I could cherish.  I saw them as a burdens for me, because they never did what I wanted them or needed them to do. They seemed to be in the habit of not listening to my wife or me. I thought of parenting as hard work. If only the children just did what I told them to do and stayed out of my way!

After being in recovery for a couple of years, I was well and truly at my healthy body weight (some 45 pounds lighter), when my 8-year-old son gave me one of the most profound experiences in my short life in recovery.It happened to be the Jewish New Year, and at school my son was asked to make a New Year’s card for someone in his family. He chose to make one for me. The card had a prayer in Hebrew written on it and some English words of his own that read, “Dear dad, on this New Year, I pray for you to be happy and healthy, although I know you already are.”

I read these words and felt this huge emotion through my body. Feeling my feelings was a new phenomenon for me in recovery, and so I needed to understand exactly what he meant.   I asked him, “What do you mean by this?” He said, “I see you eating only healthy foods and you are in a really healthy body, and I hope that you will always be like this.”

I was truly moved because this program of recovery that I follow to the very best of my ability, and in line with what my sponsor has handed down to me, is not only a gift for me, but also a gift for all who are involved in my life. This life of recovery from food addiction showcases to those nearest and dearest to me exactly how I take care of and respect myself. It also shows how I increasingly take care of and respect others around me.

Most importantly, this program is enabling me to be the type of parent I never thought possible. I am now, one day at a time, and with God’s grace, being shown the way to be a parent who leads by example, not by words, reprimands, or guilt. I am demonstrating an attractive way of living life, and am simply parenting with a “do what I do” approach rather than a “do what I say” approach.

It is moments like this that strengthen my conviction to live a life in recovery from food addiction. I never thought that weighing and measuring my food would help me become a better parent. The reality is that recovery is helping me practice beautiful principles in all my affairs.”



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.