TRG SPEAKER PROGRAM
Personal Stories of Recovery
~ Ann ~
My name is Ann and I am a gratefully recovering compulsive over-eater.
I was raised in a family with an angry father and an aloof mother. Both had
an alcoholic parent and even though they did not abuse alcohol, my parents
had alcoholic traits. My mom was not really overweight, but she played
around with food. I learned at an early age to stay out of the way when my
father got home. The best way was to grab food and go eat in my room. When I
was upset, the first thing I would do was grab something quick to eat and
eat it so fast I barely tasted it. One of my earliest memories of binging
was when I was about nine years old. I was standing in front of the
refrigerator and ate five Bologna sandwiches with the door open. I then sat
down and made one in front of my family and ate it. That was the first time
I felt the rush and power of the food. It kept me from feeling my pain,
fear, and low self-esteem.
I continued to use food, but luckily I did not gain weight in my body. I
wasn't so fortunate in my thoughts and self-perception. I felt huge. I felt
100 pounds overweight. I hated my body and hated myself. I could act the
part of a normal teenage girl with my friends and family, but I was dying
inside. I continued to use food in large quantities and gained about 20
pounds -- not overweight by any means -- but I felt as if I were the biggest
girl at school. I still grabbed food when I felt sad, angry, overwhelmed, or
fearful ~ and even when I was happy. It never gave me the euphoria it did
that first time standing in front of the refrigerator when I ate the
bologna, but I still tried to recreate it (insanity). I remember in the
spring I would wear a jacket because I felt so fat and ugly. I did not want
anyone to see my body. I was so insecure that I looked down when I walked
down the street. I was unable to look at others because of how ugly I felt.
Food was always there for me -- at least I thought it was. I started dieting
in high school, starving, binging, purging -- same old cycle over and over
again. When I moved out, I really started to binge and I finally started
gaining weight. I am 5'2" and went up to 267 pounds. I spent about eight
years trying every diet known to man. Pills, WW, shots, hypnosis, Atkins,
Beverly Hills (still can't eat mango), a cabbage soup diet, on and on. Sure,
I would lose 10, 20, 30 pounds; but always gained it back. I started with
such resolve, "This one will work, this is the magic diet." It did for a
short time, but then I would take that first bite and be off and running,
eating out of control until the next big thing I could find that would
"help" me. I was binging and purging most of the time. I felt so hopeless.
My life was a living hell but I could not stop eating. Food was in control
of my life. The days without binging were getting fewer and fewer. I would
pray, but not the way I needed to -- I was seeking my own will.
Then one day I was reading the newspaper and I saw an article on OA. I knew
it was for me. The story was about a woman describing what I did with food.
I could not believe it. I called the phone number listed in the article, and
a wonderful woman explained the OA program. I went to OA the next day and
got abstinent that day. I got a sponsor, worked the steps and did service. I
lost 100 pounds and found serenity. It was great, I felt great, and I looked
great. I felt alive for the first time. THEN my ego got big. I was asked to
speak at many meetings, and I was soooo good. I was still abstinent, but my
ego was getting out of control. I met my future husband and did not go to as
many meetings as I had been, and I did not call my sponsor every day. I was
in love, and hey, I looked great. I thought I could do this on my own. I ate
things with flour and did not really have a problem with that, or so I
thought. Then I picked up the sugar and was off and running once again.
I slowly gained all my weight back. I now had two wonderful boys, but I
weighed 267 again. I spent the next 15 years losing and gaining weight --
again trying every diet out there. I felt fat, ugly, horrible and was an
angry woman. Thank God for my husband and kids. I don't know what I would
have done without them. One day my sweet husband said, "Why don't you try OA
again? You were so happy when I met you." I got mad of course: how dare he
suggest I needed OA! He supported me on every diet gimmick I bought, every
program diet I started. I am so lucky to have him.
On November 10, 2004 I walked back into the doors of OA and got abstinent
the next day. I got a sponsor and lost 99 pounds in a year. WOW, what a
program we have! Why did I ever leave? This program always works if we work
it and take action. I call my sponsor every day, commit my food, read, write
and pray. This is a three-fold disease and a three-fold recovery program. We
have to work all levels all the time equally. This program offers us
recovery based on our spiritual program. We have to be willing to do what it
takes to recover. What am I doing today?
I have a food plan.
I call my sponsor daily and commit my food.
I read recovery books.
I meditate (listen to God).
I work the steps.
I read the BB and 12 x 12.
I go to f2f meetings.
I go to on-line meetings.
I lead on-line meetings.
I give service.
Do I want to overeat sometimes? You bet I do...but only when I am not fully
working my program.
We seek progress, not perfection.
This program is wonderful. I now know I am in OA for life. I can't leave it
again because I don't know if I have any other recovery in me.
I am in recovery today because of OA.