A Story of Recovery:
Prior to finding FA, I attended another Twelve-Step program for children of alcoholics for a short while with a friend. In those meetings, I heard many members talk about being in Twelve-Step programs for things like alcohol, drugs, and other addictive behaviors, though throughout my life, I prided myself on never engaging in “addictive behaviors” because my conservative religion taught me better. Little did I know that I was a full-blown food addict who was using the legal drugs of flour, sugar, and quantities to deal with all of life’s problems.
After one of those meetings, I found myself sharing my issues around food with my friend. I told her I thought I had a serious problem and that maybe I was ready to deal it. I went home that night and entered “food addiction” into an online search engine. The FA website was the first link listed. I found that the closest meeting was 20 minutes from my home. It seemed like a lot of effort to drive that far to go to a meeting, but I figured I’d only go once to see what it was about.
I attended my first FA meeting on November 28 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There was a small group of women setting up the room when I arrived. They were all so beautiful and thin, and I felt incredibly out of place. I certainly didn’t feel beautiful, and I was definitely not thin. I walked in that room weighing 202 pounds (92 kilograms).
When two fellows came to welcome me, I made sure to tell them I knew how to diet. I shared about my past success in a weight loss program where I had lost over 80 pounds (36 kilograms). Neither of them praised me for my success when many others in my life would have. I felt like they didn’t understand what a big accomplishment that had been for me, even if I had gained 40 of those pounds (18 kilograms) back over the last few years. Little did I know, many of them had similar stories to mine and had come to realize no success in dieting every really lasted. I soon learned I was not as unique as I thought I was.
During the meeting, someone shared about having to spray cleaner on food before putting it in the trash so she wouldn’t retrieve it and eat it later. I thought, I’m not the only one who has eaten food out of the trash? At that moment, I had a stark realization that I had a problem, but I was not alone. It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to eat healthy, lose weight, or exercise. It was that I had the disease of food addiction, and my body couldn’t handle flour, sugar or quantities. That meeting gave me hope that there might be a real solution to my problems. These people were speaking a language I never knew anyone else spoke. I felt like I had finally come “home.”
Three years later I can’t say life is perfect and that I have come to a place of full surrender, but my life is amazing. I have the tools to help me cope with life, and none of them include food. Today, I have a solution that I get to practice one day at a time. I’m in a right size body, I have peace and serenity, and I have an ever-growing relationship with my higher power that I could never imagine possible.