The Recovery Group is a Twelve Step support group for 
compulsive eaters

Personal Stories of Recovery

~ Dawn ~

Hi! My name is Dawn and I am a grateful compulsive overeater recovering, one day at a time.

I was born a poor fat child trying to loosen up. Actually I have probably been a COE since about 5 years old. My earliest recollection is getting up in the middle of the night and raiding the refrigerator. I remember one time specifically it was around the holidays my Mom had ricotta cheese for an Italian dish she was making. So that no one would know I had been in it, I cut a slit in the side of the seal and sucked the cheese out.

But I think I am safe in these rooms to share my deepest absurdities when it comes to my disease. I couldn't have been more than 8 or 9. I grew up in a house of addictions. My Dad, a Vietnam vet, was an alcoholic and my Mom (untreated) was probably at best chronically depressed. There were constant fights between the two and my Mom cried and talked to me a lot. She encouraged my brother and I to take sides and of course Mom usually won. My memory of her is composed of tears and screaming, laying on the couch most of the day and eating food was seen as a comfort and reward. I was actually a fussy eater until the age of 2-3. When my Dad came home from the war he changed that by forcing me to eat. He would punish me by making me stand in the corner; very mixed messages were received as well. When my brother and I would do something wrong, my Mom would say "Wait until your Dad gets home." When he did and tried to discipline us she would yell at him to stop. Confusing!

I was a withdrawn adolescent, overweight and didn't fit in. At the age of 14 I weighed 185 lbs. My Mom was 320. She joined OA lost some weight and at 15 brought me to my first meeting. I don't remember too much but I know program helped me lose 65 lbs and gave me some self confidence but everyone was so much older and I still felt like I didn't belong.

Anyway, the weight was most important and how to get dates. So I dropped out thinking I was cured. Now I could hang with the cool people. Sickness came in right away. I used black beauties to control my appetite. I starved all day only eating at night. I started hanging out in bars experimenting with drugs, etc. My drug of choice besides, of course, the food on the back burner was weed.

In my 20s I became an everyday smoker. At 21 I came out to my family, after some years of promiscuity with men much older most of the time. I realized there was only emptiness and the relationship had no depth for me. My Mom called me a freak and her angry words remained with me throughout my 20 years. My Dad spiraled out of control besides booze; he was addicted to crack and tried using the gun he used as an alarm responder to kill himself. Although Dad had many issues I still blamed ME, thinking that it was my fault. All of it my whole childhood, my whole existence had been my fault. My Mom was 16 when she gave birth to me. Dad was 18. Mom would get mad at times and say I should have been an abortion. Blah, blah, blah.

I had a breakdown when I was 30, hospitalized for chronic depression and hallucinations while all the while food & weed were my anesthetics. I numbed myself out day in and day out. I didn't try to lose weight, made no bones about it. I like to eat and I was going to eat what I wanted when I wanted except for an occasional Lean Cuisine for lunch. Not much effort was shown and I think the only reason for the lunches was to give the people that worked under me the illusion that I was trying to control myself.

I also bought Richard Simmons "Sweating to the Oldies" but the only one who sweated was Richard, while I sat and smoked and ate popcorn.

I am trying to fast forward to 9/11, a critical day. I worked in the Empire State Building and my office windows faced the World Trade Center. First was that first black hole ... then trying to figure out how that could be only a Cessna. I went into my private office to call a client and while I was on the phone recall thinking; where is that plane going ... there is all smoke. It was the second attack. The alarm in my building went off we were told to evacuate. I had to gather my papers for payroll and such and make sure everyone else got out. We were stuck in the city for 6-7 hours before we could get out. Rumor on the streets was our building was an intended target and surely we would be next. For weeks almost every day the alarm would go off and I would feel my heart jump into my throat. One incident was me and a couple of women were waiting for the elevator during one of the drills and it was packed. We had to climb 24 floors down with the thought that what if this time it's real. It actually took 2 years to manifest but again I found myself in the hospital this time diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and post traumatic syndrome.

Fast forward again, medicine and doctors couldn't help me like this program has. I moved from New York 2 years ago and am now in the mid-west. The treatment out here is so much better. They talk to you before giving you the medicine. They make sure you have therapy along with a psychiatrist. Still not enough, last Jan/06 I went to DMV to get a picture ID. The day started with me not being able to get my seat belt on. How humiliating! Then at the DMV they asked me my weight to put on card. They don't do that in New York. I lied, of course, but said I was 280 which were slightly better than my actual weight of 336 pounds. I went home and something came over me. I know a place that helped me once and this time it is not the weight loss I am after. I need help. I was powerless and had no life to manage. I spent day in and day out smoking weed, eating, smoking, sleeping, eating and smoking some more.

I found and found The Recovery Group and came to online meetings. That was the best I could do for 2 weeks besides following a food plan based on what I remembered of Grey Sheet, my own variation but it worked. After the initial 2 weeks, I knew I needed accountability. I went to my first face-to-face meeting which was a huge tug of war with my isolating inbreeded ways. I found a sponsor. This program is life changing. Together with my sponsor I work everyday on questions, then the Steps. I attended a couple of F2F meetings weekly, along with TRG online. I used all eight tools every day. I worked it as if my life depended on it because it absolutely did. I have since lost 72 lbs and years of shame, guilt and resentments. I have found love and acceptance beyond my wildest dreams. I am sooooo grateful for this program, all of YOU and my God (as I understand Him). I know this was rambling but this is my first time doing this online and I didn't script it before coming. Thanks for being here. I love all of you. Whether you love me or not is not my business but I feel the gift of acceptance and that is powerful enough.


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