I walked into the meeting armed with a lot of knowledge. This isn’t a short term commitment. This isn’t a “crisis to crisis” visit. This is about the rest of my life. No stranger to 12 step programs, I was ready to confront this every consuming part of my life.
I am a sugar addict. I am a food addict. I eat when I’m happy, sad, lonely, bored. My relationship with food has proven destructive and yet, intimate. Through the roughest times I could always count on food. A binge eater, graduating from bulimia in my mid to late teens to early twenties. I’ve been overweight most of my adult life and I hate it. But this weight serves me well, just as the food used to.
It is protection. A barrier between myself and others, particularly men. Overweight people are often overlooked, so the weight played an important role in my life, particularly as things were heading south. I remember seeing the first picture of myself since losing 40 lbs, my reaction? Oh my god, where is my protection? Sad but true. I don’t expect others to understand unless they, too, have hidden behind excess weight.
A binge consisted of more than the food. There is the craving, the planning, execution. The planning, acquiring the chosen binge food was as much a part of the fix. What word can I use to describe this? Foreplay? The chase? The actual bingeing would indeed bring me peace, delight. Always filled with sugar, what followed was a nasty case of guilt, self loathing. I would tell myself I will start again tomorrow, a diet, surely the cure for what ails me. Losing weight, being thin would make my world so much better. Over the course of my life I have been on umpteen diets, having been successful with many. I’ve lost hundreds of pounds and gained it back. I had three wardrobes, thin, chunk and fat.
This past year my bingeing escalated to alarming levels. Levels in which I had little if no control. I remember sitting on my couch, inhaling whatever the days pick was and seeing a commercial on television for an eating disorder clinical trial. I called. I went through the 30 minutes of questions, and as each draw to close I was becoming hopeful. Perhaps they can help me. Perhaps this will work for me. Perhaps this will arrest the eating disorder that has plagued my life, stripped me of self confidence, esteem, worth. At the end of the phone interview I was told that I didn’t qualify because I lived more than 20 miles outside their acceptable location. You have got to be kidding me? I’m calling, reaching out for help and you are denying me because I live 20 more miles than your study permits? Unbelievable. I drove and drive longer distance to Boston for oncology and spent many hours, weekly, traveling back and forth for treatment. Nope, I’m sorry.
I remember walking into therapy one day in a panic. “There is a guy on my facebook, he is local to me, I think he’s going to ask me out. I was hyperventilating, fear filled. My therapist replied “There are worse things that could happen!” For a woman fearful of intimacy and a few scars to my heart I have found this fear escalating. Hence, put on some weight. I am not going to downplay what I know, however. As with any addiction it progresses, escalates. My eating disorder was now a full fledge addiction.
What developed, however was that which develops for an alcoholic, a drug addict. The high didn’t last as long, and it would take more and more food to achieve it. The guilt, the self loathing, the vicious cycle of addiction became clear. I didn’t want to accept it. I can get a handle on this like I have so many times before. What I am referencing is the many times my willpower was in check and I managed to lose the excess weight. This goes beyond willpower. It goes much deeper than food. In some ways food became love. What would I date tonight? Cake? Cookies? Candy? It served to replace the companionships lost. It served to be the one constant in my life. Now, however, it doesn’t work that way.
I am aware of the vicious cycle, the lies I tell myself, or that the disease of addiction disguises. The illusion that I was coping with life which is why I binged became clear. It was now a short lived high, followed by intensifying remorse. The isolation, the barrier and protection that being overweight offered was no longer working. The healthier I get the more I see, the more I want good things for myself. Nothing good can come from this. It is like chasing your own tail around, and around, and around. What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results. Insanity.
I finally reached my limit, my bottom. I finally reached acceptance of what was happening in my life, what has been and is keeping me from the self confidence, worth, esteem I deserve, from the love, peace and serenity I crave. No more. It’s time to get a handle on this, and I certainly cannot do it alone. My best efforts only reared powerlessness. With acceptance now under my belt I could and can acknowledge powerlessness. I could now reach out to others with like struggles for I am certainly not unique or alone with all its nastiness.
As I sat in the meeting I realized I was here for me. That may sound ridiculous but many years and various 12 step groups I didn’t feel like I was going for me. I went because I was married to or living with an alcoholic. It was their fault why I was there. Yah, and it’s my denial of how dysfunctional my life had become. I was at this meeting not to make my therapist happy and to get her off my back, I was at this meeting because I love and care about myself and I want to get better. I don’t want this to be in my life any longer. How can I get what I want? Diving into a program, reaching out and listening to others who are or have been in similar state. Learning from those who have walked the path of recovery before me. One day at a time, just one day at a time.
Tonight I have hope, I am not feeling hopeless or helpless. I have to work this program, trusting in the recovery of hundreds of thousands before me, reassuring me, this can be achieved. Achieved with brutal honesty. The more honest you can be with yourself, the higher your chance of achieving recovery.
I was glad that I went to the meeting. I am grateful that I am ready to face this beast and start the rest of my life being the person I want to be, the person I hide from. Before I die I want to know what it’s like to be spiritually, mentally, physically healthy. I’ve never had equality of all three. I want it. I want it, I want it, I want it.
Wish me luck, drop a prayer or two for my success if you want, I’ll take both. I’ll take both. ♥