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Old 10-05-2006, 10:48 PM   #1
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Default My food addiction and recovery story

I've been asked to speak at my OA meeting next week. So, here's what I've written and plan to share.

My life before OA was empty. I sought out God, relationships, and happiness, but seldom achieved them, and even when I did, they were short lived.

I grew up as an only child, also known as a lonely child. I spent a lot of time alone and that only increased once my parents divorced when I was 8.

My mom had to work full time and I was left alone with the TV for company and the kitchen for comfort. Food was my friend. I wasn’t relaxed or easy going in social situations, so it was hard for me to make friends. I ate.

My mom was exhausted when she was home from work, so together we watched our friend the TV and ate.

I didn’t have other family. My dad was an alcoholic and absent from my life much of the time. My mom’s family, were in our perception, either addicted to a substance and too scary to be around, or they were judgmental of us and too scary to be around. So we ate.

I was rewarded with food, comforted with food, entertained by food, and obsessed by food. Only I didn’t know I was obsessed. Like much of my odd upbringing, I thought it was normal.

I went on my first diet at the age of 11. My mom helped me. Over the years I watched my mom try weight watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutra System, eating only natural foods, eating only high fiber, no fat, low fat, and in between the diets was one long binge. I thought this was normal too.

As a kid, I followed my mom’s model of when to eat, when:
Bored, lonely, angry, tired, happy, celebrating, sad, depressed, socializing, and for entertainment. We went to the fair to eat, to the movies to eat, and camping to eat. Everything was about the food. I went to the fair for the corn dogs, to the movies for popcorn and kit kats, and camping for the cookies. They were all places where I believed that I had permission to gorge myself with no guilt over quantities.

As an adult, before OA, I thought that I was in control. I was lonely, tired, and felt like I was barely getting by. I would despair at my feelings because when I logically thought about all of the blessings in my life, I would feel guilty for not being happy and thrilled with them. I had a wonderful husband, a beautiful child, a comfortable and safe home, an education, financial security, friends, freedoms, and opportunities. But, no matter how much I accomplished or how hard I worked, I still wasn’t happy. I was always thinking about the next time I could eat, and guilty about the last time that I ate.

I would stress and fret over decisions that I had made. And I would stress and fret over decisions that I needed to make.

I took every experience that I had personally. I often felt attacked, misunderstood, unappreciated, and taken advantage of.

I did not trust people. I didn’t even like most people as they didn’t seem to value me the way that I thought they should. If friends or family didn’t put my needs, wants, and desires first, then there was something wrong with them.

I was not honest with people. I didn’t lie, but I didn’t tell the whole truth about myself. Clearly that is because I wasn’t even honest with myself or God. If I didn’t like some part of me, and I couldn’t easily change it, then I changed my values about it.

Over time I was sinking lower and lower into a valueless oblivion.
I ate because it was an escape from my life and feelings. Food was my friend no matter where I was.

In recent years, I spent a lot of time in bed. I spent days laying in bed, watching TV, and eating. It was isolation to the extreme. I didn’t interact with my daughter, my husband, my friends, or the world. I would hide out with my chips, my cookies, and my ice cream. I would watch TV and wonder how all those people stayed so thin. I would watch those diet commercials with disdain because I knew they wouldn’t work. I would wonder why my husband didn’t leave me as I was a worthless wife and mom. I would wonder why my friends didn’t call. I would wonder how I got so fat. I would wonder what else there was to eat.

During better times when I was willing to leave the house, I was planning on leaving only with the promise that there was food involved. My favorite part of going away on a trip was that we would stop at McDonalds in the morning for breakfast. Honestly, I would have been completely content to just go back home after that.

Holidays were about eating. I would buy my favorite candy to pass out at Halloween. I would bake my favorite cookies at Christmas, and there were times that they didn’t make it past the day they were baked. Winter months I would invite people over so I’d have an excuse to bake bread, pies, and drink Irish coffees with 3 inches of whipped cream floating on top. At Easter, I was sure to put my favorites in my daughter’s basket. I looked forward to my birthday because I could throw a big party and the more people I invited, the more food I could serve and have.

Along with all the eating came all the guilt over what I had eaten and how much I had eaten. I would beat myself up over it, and then go get something to eat to make myself feel better.

What changed?
Two things changed. I became acutely aware that the disease had progressed although I didn’t know the name for it. And, I moved here to Placerville. Here, I couldn’t isolate in isolation. My mother in law lives right next door, and although she respects our privacy, she does drop in from time to time. Whenever she dropped in, I was in bed. It didn’t matter what day or what time. I started reading the Mountain Democrat. Why I would be reading the ads for local meetings is beyond me—it was direct intervention by God. I saw the ad for this OA meeting. I thought about it, and went back to bed. After all, anything with the word “anonymous” after it had to be for wierdos and complete losers.

Some months passed. The progression of the disease became more severe. I was so ill, so selfish, and so far away from God’s plan for me. I began hurting my family, my friends, and myself in very deep ways. I felt like I was at the bottom of a very dark and deep pit, and had no idea how I got there or how to get out.

One evening, I was in bed finishing my third Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich and wondering how many more were left in the freezer. God intervened again, and made the question ring in my ears, “Why can’t I stop?” I knew right then that I was beyond my own help, and I was willing to do anything. I picked up the newspaper, found the ad for the meeting, and decided to go.

I was totally freaked out. I didn’t want anyone to know. I made some excuse so that my mother in law would watch my daughter. I didn’t tell my husband. I drove into the parking lot, and without breathing or thinking, got out of my car and walked inside.

I don’t remember much about what was said in the meeting that night, but I do remember the feelings that I had while I was there. I felt confused by all the new vocabulary and ideas. I felt unsure if I really belonged here. I felt amazed by the honesty that I heard when people spoke. I decided that I would come back if only to hear the realness and honesty some more. At my second meeting, I began to get used to the format and feel more comfortable.

I bought the 12 and 12 after my first meeting. I drank it in and took it with me everywhere. I attended a month of meetings before getting a sponsor. I wanted recovery, and I was willing to do whatever I was told to get it. I ordered every OA book that I thought would help me, and took them with me where ever I went. I read them in parking lots, waiting rooms, parks, and in McDonald’s play area.

Fear was my biggest opponent to working the steps. I learned to trust God through little baby steps. He came through for me on the little stuff and I figured that I could trust Him with the big stuff.

After sharing my 5th step with my sponsor I had freedom like I had never known before. I see it as the beginning of my sanity.

Today my days begin with the 3rd step prayer, and end with a 10th step inventory. I’ve developed the habit of focusing on program and God’s will every single day. That way I keep it in the forefront of my mind. If I don’t do it everyday, then the program and God’s will, will slip to the back of my mind, and take a back seat to my emotions, my will, and whatever the world presents me with.

Today I am sane, and have serenity. I don’t worry about food, my weight, other people, or my needs being met. I entrust everything in my life to God’s care including my marriage, my daughter, my relationships, my abstinence, my sobriety, my food plan, and my finances. I listen for God to tell me where I can be of service to Him and to others. I set aside time for worship and devotion. I set aside time to take care of myself through yoga and therapy. I set aside time to deal with my addiction by attending meetings, calling my sponsor every day, and working the steps. I trust people, love people, and honor them. I make amends as soon as I realize it’s needed.

The excess weight has taken care of itself. My trigger foods look like poison to me. I feel happy and have purpose.
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Last edited by marny; 10-05-2006 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 10-06-2006, 02:07 AM   #2
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Marny-
I'm a new poster to 3FC, but I've been lurking here a while. Recently, I've been reading thru the OA thread and saw much of myself reflected in the posts. You're story has been very inspiring. Congratulations on your accomplishments.
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Old 10-06-2006, 08:39 AM   #3
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Marny! Is that you?! I was looking at your picture and thinking, "What a cute girl! We've got a new member!"
I LOVE what you've written, hon. It's so poignant. You've come so very far, and I'm so impressed. Thank you for sharing that with us... it's incredibly inspiring.

Adriana, I'm glad you've come out of "lurkdom". I hope you continue to post, and that it's helpful to you. Some great friendships have been made at 3FC.
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Old 10-06-2006, 12:53 PM   #4
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Yep, that's me. :-) My cousin took that picture of me last weekend.

Adriana- It's great to have you here. Thanks.
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Old 10-06-2006, 05:31 PM   #5
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Thank you so much for posting that!
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Old 10-06-2006, 05:44 PM   #6
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Marny,

Thanks for sharing your wonderfully inspiring story! Sharing your story can help so many people. Your story helps illustrate the facts that there is hope and there is help available. Best wishes for many blessings and happiness in your life!
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Old 10-06-2006, 07:30 PM   #7
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Katie and Elizabeth--
Thanks for your supportive words. Posting it really helped me to get ready for Monday night.
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:26 PM   #8
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What an inspiring story. Thanks so much for sharing, I hope to be where you are one day.
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Old 12-27-2008, 09:47 PM   #9
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What an amazing story. I see some of myself in your statements. You are going to do great at the meeting.
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Old 12-28-2008, 09:08 AM   #10
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Marny, so great to see you! I've been reading again lately but not posting for whatever reason. Thanks so much for sharing your story, gives me lots of hope.

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Old 01-02-2009, 09:36 PM   #11
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Marny thanks so much for such an inspiring post! I have looked into the OA meetings where I live, but the only two that are close enough for me to attend are during the workday and I'm a teacher. Do you think I would get the same kind of help by just reading or going online? What would you suggest?
Thanks again for sharing your story.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:09 PM   #12
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Dear Marny,
Thank you for sharing your story. I know it will help many people. OA seems like a very supportive, kind, and powerful organization! But I know the individual must put in a great deal of effort, as well.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:23 PM   #13
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Great story, Marny. Thanks be to God for your discoveries and sharing them with us.
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:25 PM   #14
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Marny! Well done! I hope your talk went well
ChrissyAck - why don't you contact your OA - I'm sure you can call them and ask if they are interesting in organising another meeting - OA meeting can consist of 2 compulsive eaters! I bet lots of people will be interested - my therapist recommended that I go every day for first few months - and I'm sure lots of people will benefit from more frequent meetings. As for online bloggs, I got really inspired but i don't know how they can replace working with sponsor - I'm new to OA so I learning myself.
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:50 PM   #15
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hi iam dawn and i need help with my weghit
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