Addiction has a way of cutting off our path to any kind of fulfilling future. In the midst of addiction, our future plans mostly involve when we’re going to get our next “fix”, whether that’s alcohol, drugs, food, sex, control…you name it.
Focus on The Inside
I struggle with food addiction/BED (Binge Eating Disorder) and it wasn’t that long ago that I was spending a lot of my nights sitting in my living room in front of the TV, stuffing myself with pizza and Ben & Jerry’s and then washing it all down with a big dose of self-hatred, guilt and fear. My dreams for the future didn’t exist, except for the plotting and planning of diets and exercise so I wouldn’t gain any more weight from the binge fests. I had already binged my way to obesity; I was wearing my addiction and I was miserable.
I hated myself for what I couldn’t get under control and I hated myself for what I had become when I looked in the mirror. There were so many moments of hopelessness because I couldn’t get a grip on it and all the excess weight was overwhelming. I felt like, “why even try anymore? ” It just seemed impossible.
But after many years of the insanity, of dieting and putting the focus on the weight (and always gaining it back), I discovered a 12 step recovery program that changed everything for me. It made me realize I had an eating disorder and an addiction to food and no amount of “dieting” would cure it. I learned that what needed to be dealt with first was my inside. The outside would have to wait.
I was desperate to be done with all of the insanity and misery so I jumped in. Step by step I uncovered the things that drove me to addiction and I faced a lot of demons from my past. After a few years of “progress not perfection” and “one day at a time” I was finally healing. Day by day my mind was being renewed and restored along with my body, and the pounds started to come off. It has not always been easy, but these days I remind myself that the time and energy I used to spend feeding the addiction is now much better spent on recovery and a full life. The transformation happened slowly and even as I write about it I am still blown away that the life I used to have isn’t part of me anymore. So many things have changed for me:
- The evenings I used to spend isolated, in shame, sitting on the couch watching TV and mindlessly binging are now spent at recovery meetings, step work, blogging, and reading any kind of material I can get my hands on about food addiction.
- The mornings I used to spend wracking my brain as to why I ate so much the night before, feeling physically ill, and cleaning like mad to try to redeem my out-of-control behavior are now spent in prayer and step work.
- The days I used to spend shopping for new outfits in the attempt to like my appearance better and fill that empty void are now spent at the gym or out running.
My old ways of sneaking food, secretly hitting the drive-thrus during errands, and buying desserts while grocery shopping that I eat on the way home have turned into a solid food plan for recovery (see overeatersanonymous.org) and texting my meals to my sponsor for accountability.
My husband reminded me the other day that when I got home from my very first Overeaters Anonymous meeting I said, “They told me if you work this program your food obsession can go away completely. I don’t believe it, but I am going to try.”
Today, for the first time in my life, I believe in myself and in a promising future. I thank God every day for giving me the courage and willingness to let go of what I want to control so He can take over. Because, based on where my best thinking got me, I know He can do a better job than me!
Latest posts by Debra Solberg (see all)
- My New Future, Or: How I Came to Terms with My Addiction to Food - April 24, 2017