“Powerless with Hope” My Story

(Keisha A., Abstinent Birthday August 25, 2011)

Before the day I became powerless with hope, I was powerless without hope… before the day I met the woman I call my angel who introduced me to Kay Sheppard’s life changing food plan and Recovery from Food Addiction (RFA); the disease as I know it today, “food addiction” had a hold on my very being that rendered me not only powerless, but hopeless.

I have struggled with food addiction all of my life… I grew up in a home full of food addicts, thus, there was no structure surrounding food. I would eat sugary treats around the clock without limits.  I found myself as a little child sneaking into my grandfather’s room while he was asleep eating the cookies, cakes, and candy he had hidden deep inside of his cedar chest that was sitting strategically placed beside his bed. In hindsight as a child I had an addiction and did not know how to identify the misery that was plaguing me, an inner voice drove me to sneak, lie, steal, and cheat when it came to food.

As a teen and on into adulthood, I began to diet, use and abuse laxatives, diet pills, diuretics, prescription drugs, binging and purging, fasting/ starvation, over exercising you name it I did it to lose weight, or to keep the weight off to no avail… I was depressed, oppressed, and isolated. Suicidal thoughts plagued my existence...

Yes, I have always sensed that I had a serious problem, and have hit many bottoms in the bottomless pit of food addiction until one day I realized I could no longer see the light of day. My serious problem was a very serious problem. A day of reckoning that I shall never forget; my precious daughter committed to helping me eliminate one of the addictive substances (sugar) from my diet, “this was before I knew sugar was an addictive substance”. At the time, I had gone maybe 24 hrs without sugar (candy, cookies, cake, ice cream, etc…). My husband took us to the grocery store to make a purchase, one of which I made up as a ploy to get my fix (sugar) for the last time “I was deceiving myself.” In my mind I needed it one last time to help me stick to the diet I committed to do that my daughter was helping me with, with hopes that I could mislead her and go in the store alone and get my fix without her ever knowing.

Along these lines, we arrive at the store and I tried to find every excuse to go in the store alone. I pleaded with my daughter to stay in the car with her dad because I was going to run in the store, pickup “dish washing liquid” quickly and there was no need for all of us to go into the store together… of course, I knew if she followed me into the store, I would not be able to get my fix.  My daughter insisted on following me into the store because she was trying to help me; “you see, my daughter had seen me cry and isolate in a state of depression because of the negative mental, physical, and spiritual affect food had on me”… While in the store, somehow I managed to distract her as I evasively put tootsie roll candies in the basket and rushed to the counter to pay, following me to the counter, I sent her back for the dish washing liquid that I “inadvertently” forgot; I made the purchase without her noticing.  As we left the store, I kept telling myself this would be the last time and that I just need something to get me through that day and I would be able to commit the following day. 

I quickly got into the car and tried to hide the candy under my feet, but before my daughter got into the car, she heard the bag with candy rattling underneath my feet.  As she stood outside of the car looking down at the bag, she knew I was trying to hide something. I finally admitted that I had tootsie rolls and that; tootsie rolls are not as bad,  I tried to convince her that I just needed something to get me through that day, and I promised to stop the next day.  My daughter stood outside of the car determined not to move; she refused to get into the care unless I threw out the candy.  As all of this was unfolding, my husband was clueless as to what was taking place and warned my daughter to get into the car or he would leave her standing in the parking lot of the store. My daughter stood there adamant that she was not getting into the car unless I threw out the candy. 

I begged her to get into the car and she would not, for some reason I was paralyzed, unable to throw out the candy, watching as she stood there she said “mom is that candy worth more to you than me?” I said no and she said, “If that candy is not worth more to you than me just throw it out and I will get into the car.”  I could not do it! I could not throw the candy out! Mean while my husband grew increasingly impatient not understanding the turn of events, he commanded my daughter to get into the car and she refused!  I pleaded with her to get in the car, but I could not throw out the candy! My husband drove away, leaving our daughter standing in the parking lot of the store.

My husband continued to drive making a u-turn back to the store to pick up my daughter, he yelled, “why would she disobey me and not get in the car?” I had to admit that she refused to get in the car because she was trying to help me… I said I bought candy while in the store and she found out and told me to throw it out and I said no, I could not bring my self to do it, “I could not throw out the candy”… My husband drove back to the store to pick up my daughter; she was standing there with tears streaming down her face and vowed she would never help me again.  That was the defining moment in my life; I knew I was sick… I was at the end of my rope and I knew I had to get some help.

I began to read Overeaters Anonymous (OA) literature that my mother had since the early 1980’s. Then I met the wonderful woman I call my angel, who introduced me to RFA, Kay’s food plan, and books; “From the First Bite” and “Food Addiction the Body Knows.” As a result, I listened to her story, I also listened to other RFA members tell their story, I started attending face-to-face meetings, got a sponsor who walked me through the process of planning my meals and showing me how to use the recovery tools to become abstinent. From that moment forward, I knew that there was help and hope for me, I was no longer “Powerless without Hope,” but I was “Powerless with Hope.”  I surrendered to God my higher power. I turned my will and my life over to the care of God as I knew him, and the process of recovery begin to take root in my life day by day; freeing me from the addictive substances that had me bound for many years; sugar, flour, wheat, volume, and high fat processed foods.

Yes I admit, “I am powerless over food and my life had become unmanageable.” Thank God, “I came to believe that a power greater than myself could free me and restore me back to sanity” through twelve-step work, RFA, Kay’s life changing books, and food plan… Today I am free of the cravings associated with the addictive substances, I have lost 65 pounds, and my doctor is amazed at the dramatic change in my overall health.