My ‘trigger’ for eating was being awake!

There was a time when I could not stop eating. From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, I was eating or thinking about eating. Even at work, I got to the point where I hid in the teachers’ cafeteria with a few magazines and ate, instead of performing my job duties. I just couldn’t get enough food. Any feelings of satisfaction were short-lived, before the obsession and the craving for more food took over completely.

By then, I had long since given up dieting, self-help books, retreats, and therapy. I even canceled a lap band surgery, knowing my situation was hopeless and that nothing would stop me from putting food in my mouth. It did not even matter what I ate. Once, the palms of my hands turned orange from eating carrots nonstop. People tried to encourage me and said they were proud of me because I was eating carrots instead of cookies. UGH!

I ate like this for over a decade, during which time I divorced my second husband, I was demoted at work, and my relationship with my only child was strained to near breaking point. Because I always spent more money than I had. (mostly on food), my checking account was constantly in overdraft. I was 135 pounds overweight and I was on pills for high cholesterol, prediabetes, and depression. Doctor visits were a regular occurrence.

When I look back, I am amazed that I lived through it, all the time pretending I was fine and appearing to function. Nobody knew how much I hated myself for being so weak, and that my constant companions were shame, self-pity, resentment, and envy of anyone who had what I thought I wanted. My idea of a great day was to sleep all morning, miss work, watch TV by myself, and not get off the couch except to retrieve more food.

12 Step Recovery in Addictive Eaters Anonymous worked for me.

Eventually, my powerlessness and desperation brought me to my knees. I reached a point where I knew there was nothing I could do to stop. But I did not want to die or live this way anymore. That’s when I found myself uttering the words “God help me,” and something changed. The next morning, I woke up with a surprising resolve that maybe one last thing could release me from the grip of the insatiable need to eat and my constant misery. That day I found the 12-Step program of recovery, Addictive Eaters Anonymous.

At my very first meeting, I heard what my problem was (not at all what I thought) and I heard the solution (not at all what I had tried). There were others like me, who were sober and living life to the fullest without eating addictively. I was given simple and clear directions and suggestions for how to get started on the road to recovery.  All I had to do was be willing. It seemed easy enough, considering how hopeless and defeated I had felt.

Grateful to be relieved from food obsession.

This morning, as I sit on my patio soaking in the beautiful spring day, thinking about the words I have written, I marvel at how unrecognizable that life in addiction seems to me now. I have retired now, with no worries about finances, thanks in part to getting promoted soon after I got sober. I’m truly grateful that I’m no longer in debt and that I have extra money at the end of the month! I am not on any pills and I am a healthy weight. Due to my recovery, my health insurance premiums even went down recently. I’m surrounded by wonderful friends in honest and satisfying relationships. I cherish my daughter and two wonderful grandchildren, who see their grandmother as someone who loves life.

I never dreamed or expected my life would be so good. All I wanted was the insanity of my eating to stop, which, miraculously, has happened. I’ve been released from the merciless obsession with food and other substances. My Higher Power continues to free me from the bondage of shame, fear, and self-will. I am blessed with the help of others and a sponsor I can talk to every single day. I’ve discovered that there is a power greater than me, whom I call God, that solved my food addiction. Each day, if I surrender to this power, I get to pass on the gift that was freely given to me and share the solution of Addictive Eaters Anonymous with others, if they want it.

– Lori
Member, Addictive Eater’s Anonymous

For more information about Addictive Eater’s Anonymous (AEA), visit www.addictiveeatersanonymous.org or call (657) 999-3303.

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this essay. It drove home eating as an addiction, with a path of recovery very similar to substance use disorder

  2. I’m curious about something. What’s the difference between OA and AEA? Thank you for your time.

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