I came into the rooms motivated solely by fear and desperation. I was 360 pounds (I think – scale stopped working), and I was living to eat. My day started with the obsession and ended with obsession.
But I didn’t even really know I had the obsession. All I knew was that I was going to die prematurely and my son would be without his mother. My eating was robbing him of time with me. It was killing me.
So I came into the rooms for him. Because I wanted him to have his mother at his high graduation, his wedding day and all the other big life moments we want to share with parents.
My son is my main motivation, and it is good to be reminded of the dire consequence of relapse. If I returned to compulsive eating and reengaged the behaviors, I KNOW I would very quickly regain the weight and then some.
And because a picture is worth a thousand words…..
I would go from this…..
Once again, I wouldn’t be able to walk without my shoes because my feet hurt. I would get stuck in booths and be unable to sit in most chairs with arms. I would be afraid to fly – not because I am afraid of heights – but because of the size of the seats. I would be unable to find clothes that fit and be uncomfortable in whatever I did find that fit. I would be unable to run or walk upstairs easily.
And beyond the physical, I would once again be trapped in the hellish isolation of food obsession. I dreamed about food obsession last night. In two separate dreams, I was with other people but spent all my time and energy figuring out how to get rid of them, so I could eat. I wanted nothing in the dream but to be alone and eating. I wanted the food and nothing else. In one of the dreams it was my son I was trying to get rid of, so I could eat.
And I remember doing that. I got into recovery when he was five. Before recovery, I couldn’t wait for him to take a nap or go to sleep, so I could eat. And when I dropped him at pre-k, I would celebrate my alone time by binging then falling into a food coma.
It is strange to look back now and wonder how I could have been so blind – how could I have not known I was sick. The obsession was all I knew – I didn’t know of a life not lived around food and my body. I didn’t know the freedom from the bondage of self.
But today, I do know that freedom. My internal life is nothing like my internal life before recovery. Just like my physical body is nothing like my body before recovery.
And I am currently gambling that recovery each day and each moment that I continue to hide in books and movies. Each day that I ignore steps 10, 11 and 12, I am closer to burying myself in fast food bags and cans of frosting. Each day that I don’t pray and meditate, I am closer to the cacophony of food obsession. Each day that I don’t ask for help and give help in return, I am closer to the decision that just one bite won’t matter.
And that one obsessive bite will lead to another then another. Then a binge. And who knows if I will come back from it? Who knows if I will decide that donuts are more important that my husband and son? I used to believe that. Granted, I would never *say* that donuts were more important than loved ones, but I sure acted like food was more important.
And what is the saying – I can’t hear your words because your actions are so loud?
Well, my actions were always that food was more important.
Today, food is in its right place. But I must, must, MUST, MUST recognize the danger I am placing myself and my family in when I refuse to do recovery work. Each time I don’t write a step 10 or don’t do prayer and meditation, I am once again showing the selfishness that trapped me in food obsession.
Yeah, life isn’t what I want right now. Sometimes, it downright sucks. But I have a solution for that – the 12 steps and Higher Power. Acceptance that life isn’t what I want, I can’t control others or my problem with food. But I can take action and allow Higher Power to work through my life instead of burying my head in a book and pretending like what is going around me will magically resolve itself.
So, the WHY of my recovery is love. Love for my son. Love for my husband. And love for myself. I certainly didn’t have love for myself when I first started this program, so it is amazing I can say today that I do love myself. I am worth the effort it takes to write a 10th step. I am worth the effort it takes to pray and meditate. I am worth the time it takes to listen to a podcast or attend a meeting. I am worth all that and more.
Another love I didn’t know before program was love for fellow sufferers. Today, I love freely and with abandon. I love others and seek to help. Before program, I thought I was worthless and unable to do much good in the world – and definitely not be able to help someone recover from food problems.
But today, I can help others, as my sponsors helped me. I can love others until they love themselves. I can pass on this message of recovery.
Today, I am passing the message again to myself. Reminding myself of all I stand to lose and what life was like before program. It is easy to forget the pain and be complacent. I seek to not allow complacency to take further root. I weed the garden of my recovery and toss those complacency weeds into the compost.
Because I love.