When I started high school I was a normal weight, but quickly grew bigger. I loved to eat and constantly felt hungry, always wanting more. I’d binge on chocolate bars, chewy sweets, whole packets of biscuits, multiple slices of toast with lashings of butter. Next would come several large bowls of cereal with ice-cold milk (at any time of the day), left-over fast food for breakfast and the list goes on. Addictive eating and thinness obsession controlled my life.
As I continued to gain weight, I became very self-conscious about how I looked. I desperately wanted to be thin and pretty like the other girls and often wished I had their lives instead of mine. Believing that being slim would make me feel better because was a constant thought. I had an emptiness and loneliness inside of me that never really went away.
Constantly obsessed with my weight, I ended up obese and too depressed to care anymore. I avoided having my photo taken and would often refuse to take part in activities because of how I looked. Because of my paranoia regarding my size, I missed out on lots of fun times, especially with my nephews and nieces.
Drugs, alcohol and men offered temporary relief.
I was forever on diets that I could never stick to and used laxatives and slimming pills. Purging my food was also something I experimented with, which I really didn’t like. In my late teens, I discovered amphetamines and thought I had discovered the answer to life. Finally, I had found something that suppressed my hunger and constant craving for food. The weight fell off and I loved it, but no matter how slim I got, I was never thin enough. Even when friends and family told me they were worried about me, I just laughed. I couldn’t see what they could see.
My new look attracted attention from men and ended up in one toxic relationship after another. I was so desperate to be loved that I put up with many behaviours that I wouldn’t accept today.
I spent the next 13 years addicted to drugs, alcohol and food, although I didn’t know it at the time. The delusion that I was in control because I chose to take pills to manage my weight and to drink to have a good time was pervasive. But I came to learn that drugs and alcohol, just like food, controlled me. I finally reached Alcoholics Anonymous, underweight and broken. Through working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and by the grace of a Power greater than myself, I stopped taking drugs and drinking alcohol. Many things changed for the better in my life.
Food addiction got worse until I found Addictive Eaters Anonymous.
Without the alcohol and the drugs, my weight ballooned and then the self-loathing and despair returned. Thankfully, this pain drove me through the doors of Addictive Eaters Anonymous, where I finally got the help I really needed. The message I heard very clearly was that my obsessive thinking and behaviours with food and my weight were all part of my disease and the spiritual malady of addiction. With the help of a sponsor, I went through the 12 Steps of AEA and for the first time started to experience a solution. Soon I began to be relieved of all of my obsessions and old ways of thinking. I came to realise that true happiness comes from within and by being of service to others.
Today, I am blessed to be a healthy weight and to not be obsessed with being thinner. Addictive eating and thinness obsession controlled my life, but not anymore. It is amazing how I never think about food these days and it doesn’t “call” me to eat. It’s no longer necessary to hide when someone brings out their camera. In fact, I am often caught photobombing on my friends. I have enjoyed many fun times with family and friends because the focus is on them, not on how I look. Contentment, freedom and peace are familiar feelings to me now. I am happy being me today, and I wouldn’t swap my life for anyone else’s.
If you think you have a problem with food, or you know someone who has, you are welcome to join our regular international online meetings. Please visit Addictive Eaters Anonymous for more details.