Eating was my dirty, dark secret until I found freedom in Addictive Eaters Anonymous.
When I first came into the fellowship, I wasn’t interested in 12 Steps or finding a Higher Power. All I was interested in was losing weight. If I could just do that, I thought I would be fine.
It was the identification with the people in the meeting that kept me coming back. My eating, which had always been addictive, was my dirty, dark secret. I hadn’t heard of eating disorders at that time, but the people in the meetings talked about having a disease—that they were, in fact, addicted to food. I didn’t think I was as bad as they were. After all, I hadn’t suffered from anorexia or bulimia. But many times during my years of addiction, I wished that I had, because I so desperately wanted to lose weight.
However, as I kept coming to the meetings, my binge eating stopped, and I started to lose weight. With these results, I thought I was getting better. But at the meetings, I could see others had a freedom and a happiness that I certainly didn’t have. They were smiling and laughing, and I wasn’t. I was still full of secrets, and couldn’t be honest about my eating, or anything else.
Relief from addictive eating started with getting honest.
By continuing to attend meetings, I started to realize that the freedom some members had seemed connected to Step One of the Twelve Steps: “We admitted that we were powerless over food”. I didn’t know how to do that step, but it became increasingly apparent that this was the key to their freedom. As I was confronted with recovery in meetings, it became clear that, despite losing weight, I was not getting well. I heard it read out from the Big Book about those who are “constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves” and thought that was me. On the way home from meetings, I would think about driving into a lamp post.
One day, I woke up knowing I had to do the unthinkable.
I needed to go to the members in recovery and be honest with them about everything. It was our meeting night, but they gave up their meeting to see me. They explained how they had gotten well from their addiction and, for the first time in my life, I asked a Higher Power for help. From that day on, I was blessed with an incredible willingness to take the necessary actions to get well. I tucked in behind those members who were getting well. I abandoned myself to the programme, and now, many years later, continue to go to regular meetings of Addictive Eaters Anonymous.
Today, I believe that when I woke up that day, a long time ago now, I had done Step One. Or rather, Step One had happened to me. It wasn’t a day that was different from any other. But I had reached the point of being beaten—beaten by the food to a place of surrender. Reaching this point, although I didn’t know it at the time, is what enabled me to put down the food and begin getting well.
Now, I share freely with others and I live free of any obsession with food.
Today my life is very, very different. I never would have imagined the freedom from the obsession with food that I have today when I came to my first meeting. It was not why I came because I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t see it as something that could be different as I had had it all my life and thought I would always have it. In Addictive Eaters Anonymous, I have found a connection with a Higher Power, who has removed the want to eat and is the basis of my life. My Higher Power works through the fellowship, as long as I continue to work the Twelve Steps of Addictive Eaters Anonymous and share what I have been given to other addictive eaters, as it was first shared with me.
-Member, Addictive Eaters Anonymous
For more information about Addictive Eater’s Anonymous (AEA), visit www.addictiveeatersanonymous.org or call (657) 999-3303.