A Story of Recovery:

Resentment Equals Leaving FA

My story is a little different than most members in FA (spoken like a true food addict-only me right?).  I left program after 6 ½ years.  That’s right; just walked out the FA doors and never looked back.  This grand idea of mine was based solely on resentments. During those 6 ½ years of program, I gave away 81 lbs., and had one break; held most of the meeting positions between two meetings; had 4 sponsees, went to night school working on a bachelors degree, and worked 10 to 12 hours a day.  

I had back-to-back abstinence for 5 years then I ate two cookies in December; never told my sponsor until February and the end result was she dropped me as her sponsee.  I was crushed, felt abandoned and hurt.  I lost a great deal due to being dishonest. I went through numerous sponsors when I finally found one I thought would work for me.  Keep in mind I was having issues not my sponsor. I never told her or anyone in program the emotions and struggles I was encountering. I didn’t want to “bother” anyone with my problems.  You will not find help if you do not open yourself up to people. I was sliding down that slippery slope of resentments.  I was trying to deal with menopause during this time too.  My weight was fluctuating, mostly upward. Soon afterwards my mother passed away rather suddenly. Again, I was unable to speak openly about my emotions. I changed sponsors thinking this was the solution; never realizing it had to come out from within me to another person – my sponsor, my fellows, and in my phone calls to find peace and serenity. 

I went on a once in a lifetime European cruise during this time to relax and to celebrate graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree, cum lade honors.  I had my phone service all in order so I would be able to make calls from the ship to keep my AWOL(A Way Of Life).   There were storms while at sea and no phone service so I was unable to make the two AWOL phone meetings.  Lost my AWOL of eighteen months.  Remember, there are no exceptions to the “rule/guideline” of missing two meetings in a row. I felt sick, like someone punched me in the stomach.  When I came back from the trip, I made many phone calls to get it “up and out.”  The calls at first helped, but then I spoke to a fellow member who told me I should never have taken the trip to begin with knowing I was in an AWOL so what did I expect.  Really?  During the last 1 ½ to 2 years in program I white knuckled it every day. Not for food, but for friendship, love, understanding, and support from my fellows.  I expected them to know how I felt without telling them.  

I had had enough of program and all the “stuff” that comes with doing it. I threw the towel in and decided to walk out the FA doors and not look back. Keep in mind I was full of resentment toward the program and all that it stood for because in my mind it had let me down.  Isolation became my “safe place”. I had lost the willingness and the acceptance to be an FA fellow. Peace and serenity were lost.

The weird part of my journey is that I never lost sight of being a food addict. Nor did I pretend I did not need FA.  I am not going to tell you that I did not enjoy being out there eating all the junk that I had not eaten in over 6 years because I did, initially. You know the feeling, the high at first then I ate more to have that “high” back, but I never found it. What I did find was 45 pounds of fat added to my body in a few short months.  The health problems came back as well.  In my mind I thought I was eating just a little of the crap, but obviously it was in my mind only. My body proved to me I was not in reality, but fantasy. I became short-tempered and just plain miserable.  I knew what I had to do and that was to go back to FA. I told my husband and family that the day after my birthday, I was going back to FA. They all sighed a sigh of relief.

Many months later, I mustered up enough courage to pull into the parking lot of a local FA meeting. There I sat for the next 15 minutes frozen in time; scared someone would recognize me and become horrified at how much weight I had gained. My husband called me and gave me encouraging words to go inside.  When I walked into the room I saw friendly faces and was greeted with open arms. I was deeply touched. The humility, embarrassment, shame and guilt seemed to melt away. I was back home with my family. 

Currently I have 11 months of abstinence, am 5’4”, gave away 34 lbs., have a sponsee, an AWOL, a wonderful caring sponsor and most of all – beautiful loving friends in FA.  Returning to FA taught me to take responsibility for the way I am today; stop blaming others; look at myself and make the appropriate changes or at least make an effort to change them. I am not a saint, but I am a work in progress. The calls I am asked to make each day are now perceived as calling a friend or making a new friend.  I make calls for my own recovery. I need to open up to members in order to have their support, tips and advise. Most of all it is so very important to let go of resentments. Even if it means to make 100 phone calls to get it up and out, just do it in order to let it go.  Also, I talk it over with my sponsor as many times as needed.  I am just another “bozo on the bus” who has learned a valuable lesson and that is to be open, willing and have acceptance. 

Today I am married for 41 ½ years, have two grown daughters, 5 grandchildren, work full time and will be 60 years old in one month.  Only because of FA and my higher power whom I choose to call God, do I have a content useful life today.  FA is truly a gift; a gift I am not willing to give back, but rather cherish. Thank You God!


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.