By OA Member, May 25 2013 03:41PM
From the time I was a little girl I can remember not being normal with food.I know this because I used to eat secretly. One of my earliest memories is sitting in a field surrounded by wrappers on my own.I can remember quietly creeping around the cupboards and fridge in the kitchen hoping my family would not hear me. I used to steal food and money for food, always knowing it was wrong but my desire to eat always won. Going to birthday parties I’d be told not to eat too much or I’d be sick. It was never enough to stop me and I always went home ill.
I don’t remember ever feeling comfortable in my own skin. I have found it difficult having friendships and relationships with people all my life. My dishonesty with food and myself found me demanding for constant approval, attention and acceptance from others.
In my early teens I was made by my parents to cycle to school 2-3 times a week.Over the years I had gained a lot of weight. Understandably my folks worried for my health. I still couldn't stop eating and hated the cycling. It appeared to me nobody ‘cool’ cycled to school and I felt big, frumpy and awkward on a bike. The truth was I felt big, frumpy and awkward anyway.
In time I lost weight and began to love the attention and comments it brought from others. I started to feel confident and gradually became accepted by what I considered at that time to be the ‘cool’ group in school (a group I strived to be in since childhood).
The pattern of gaining weight and losing weight was to continue on a long journey for a number of years. At that time I was not aware I had a disease that affected me mentally and physically. I thought I just had weak will power with fierce determination to lose weight in between. As my disease progressed I became more and more obsessed with food, weight and what I looked like.I thought whenever I put food in my mouth the weight would go on. I believed if I was thin I’d be at peace with myself. I tried different forms of self help to try figure out the reasons for why I ate the way I did. If I could just go back far enough in the past, If I could just look at how others had behaved and treated me and how that had affected my life I’d be ok. Of course I still wasn't able to stop eating or control the food in any way.
I started to attend Overeaters Anonymous.Here I could identify with other members when they shared their experience.I could see I was powerless but didn’t see what I could do about it. It was suggested I keep coming back and I did.
At one time I attended an Overeaters Anonymous meeting overseas and experienced something different to what I’d seen before. I listened to members share their stories about what it was like for them when they were eating but they no longer behaved that way with food. These members had peace of mind that I wanted in my life. I didn't want to surrender at first and my disease had to get worse before I was ready to ask another compulsive overeater for help and be willing to go to any lengths to get well. I have found my addiction swaps from substance to the next (alcohol, pills, food) and have needed help with all areas in my life.
Today, the compulsion and obsession for food, diet, weight and exercise has been lifted.For me this is as a result of putting the food down and working the 12 steps with the help of a sponsor and a power greater than I.
I have that peace of mind that I once saw in others and I’m truly grateful that there is a solution.