Today, I had to attend a lunchtime meeting with some colleagues from work. When it was time to eat, I simply took out my lunch, ate in peace and then proceeded with the meeting. There was no desire for more; I wasn’t obsessing over whether I would buy a piece of cake or not. I enjoyed my foodplan meal and was at ease.

Gut-wrenching fear of being caught didn’t stop me from binge eating.

Before I found recovery in Addictive Eaters Anonymous, I was a binge eater for a long time. In previous years, I can remember walking from café to café buying and eating food uncontrollably. I would buy a couple of things at one café, eat them and then proceed to the next place, restaurant or take away and order more food so that nobody would see how much I was eating. My gut-wrenching fear was always that someone would see me eating a cake at one café and walk past me eating more food at another. I would switch from a sweet chocolate-based cake to a savoury pastry until I was in such physical pain from all the food, I would have to lie down for an hour or two only to get up and start eating again while I still felt desperately sick.

From a very young age, I can remember there being a sense of ‘dis-ease’ around food. Eating was always a big thing to me and something I really looked forward to. I was aware that others didn’t seem to have this want for more and I felt embarrassed and ashamed about it. My relationship with food was always a secret—something I wanted nobody to ever know. I was never overweight most likely because I would eat normally in front of others and then binge secretly alone.

Trying to control my addictive eating behaviours made life worse.

This conflict with food led me to all kinds of crazy methods to try and control my eating and to stop binging. I thought sugar was my problem, so I would vow not to eat anything sweet. I could do this for a period of time, thinking I had my problem solved, but then I would “slip” and just one bite of something would send me spiraling into a week-long binge of round-the-clock eating. During these episodes, I would become so depressed that I would stop getting dressed. I would cancel my commitments and my life spiraled down. Then, I dropped out of university. I was losing the ability to function normally in the world. I was in therapy and had tried anti-depressants, but nothing worked—I simply couldn’t stop this cycle of binge eating. There seemed to be no hope.

I have a full life today free of the obsession with food.

Since coming into Addictive Eaters Anonymous over a year ago, my problem with food has been removed. Since I am no longer plagued by the obsession with what to eat, I am able to get on and enjoy my life. I’ve been able to hold down a full-time job, and just recently resumed my university degree.

I am grateful that I no longer need to hide and eat in secret, while fearful of others finding out. I am grateful to be sober and free of the obsession.

-Member, Addictive Eaters Anonymous

More Information on AEA:

We are a worldwide Twelve Step fellowship of people who have found recovery from binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, other forms of addictive eating and compulsive exercise. Through working the Twelve Steps of AEA, members find peace of mind and the ability to live a meaningful and productive life. We have regular online meetings available through our website which are open to anyone and there is no cost to attend.

Wherever you are, whatever your problem with food, AEA can help.

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

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