I too could have a wonderful life!

I can honestly say I believe I was born a food addict. I grew up
on a farm, my parents were busy doing their own thing, my older sister didn't want to play with me, I was to mean to her. My great grandma raised me and because she was raised during the depression and knew what it was like to go hungry she never wanted us to feel that. So she spoiled me and always gave me as much food as I wanted. My mother struggled with her own food issues and felt if she controlled my eating I wouldn't have the problems she had. Little did she know she couldn't help me. Growing up I had very few friends and always seemed different than the other kids. I was bigger than the other kids and always felt like they had much better things then I did. It left me feeling not good enough and alone. Living on the farm away from everyone didn’t help either. Food was my friend from the start; so many childhood memories of sneaking, stealing, plotting and hiding. I could never seem to get enough of food!

When I was 18 I moved into an apartment, high school was done and I had broken up with my boyfriend, my eating grew like a wild fire! I was always a sneaky person, never wanting anyone to see what I was doing. I remember taking grocery sacks to work with me each day so I could hit the fast food places on the way home and my neighbors wouldn't see me bringing fast food home every night. I worked in a day care where I would help prepare the meals every morning and make extra just for me. During meals and snack I would always help myself, even off of the kid’s plates! Then came my first crash diet; within 6 months I lost over 100 lbs. I looked great everyone liked me and paid attention to me for the first time in my life, I felt on top of the world. Then came the fall. I wasn't able to realize what was going on.  I did call a number for Overeater’s Anonymous, she scared me and I didn’t think I was that bad. I knew about eating "disorders." I spent quality time as a young child in "group" at the hospital where my mom went for bulimia. I felt I knew enough about eating disorders, I didn't need help I just need to do what I had been taught. Within 6 to 8 months that 100 lb. loss turned back to gain. The shame and isolation returned in full force.

For a few years this continued. Then I moved into my first house. It had an attached garage, so I could just bring home whatever I wanted, drive in the garage and be safe from the rest of the world. No one could see what I brought home! Within the first month I guess I gained at least 50lbs. I hid this side of me from everyone. I never discussed my eating. To the outside world I was strong and confident and I had a huge “don't mess with me” attitude that kept people at a safe distance. I couldn't even look at the real me. I cannot begin to tell you all the times I cancelled plans, choosing the food. I just wanted to be alone with my food.

Then I started working at an office. At about 2:30 I would start fantasying about what I would eat when I got off. By 4:00 I was ready to kill someone to get to the food. I had rehearsed in my head where I was going, what the fastest route was, exactly what I was going to order, and then the fastest way home! I would rehearse my order the entire way there and talk about road rage!! Don't get in the way of my food; I am shocked I never hurt myself or others trying to get to the fast food line. The drive home from the drive thru was a little better, because I bought food to eat on the way home, along with my “dinner.” That would calm me down a little but I still felt an urgent need to be in the safety and privacy of my home. Occasionally I would stop at the store, but I was always afraid I would run into someone I knew and they would see me buying my "fix" for the night. I couldn’t get out of the drive thru fast enough. Intense fear gripped me; someone may see me!  I also made sure to order food like I was ordering for at least 2 people so the drive thru people would never think it was all for me! I couldn't get rid of the pizza man fast enough, didn't want the neighbors to see him at my house.

Looking back it is amazing how I justified things in my head and the crazy lengths I went to get my food and to keep it secret. Money never seemed to be an issue, I had credit cards. I remember when fast food started taking credits cards and I told myself I would never use them for fast food! When it came to the food I wanted nothing stopped me, it came before all else. I would drive to another city to get my food, terrified of someone seeing me. I would throw food in the garbage telling myself I wouldn't eat it if I threw it in the garbage, only to dig it out and eat it later. I even would hide fast food bags in other bags to put in my trash! I didn't want the garbage men to know what I ate! I don't even know the garbage men... I would always have the shades closed and the door locked. If the phone rang I would sit there very still in fear, as if the person on the phone would be able to tell I was home and not answering. I would never let another soul see me like this, I would isolate while I was eating. There were days I would wake up and not be able to do "battle" for the day, I would call into work then hurry to the store to get my food for the day before anyone would see me out. There were also days I would convince myself I was too sick to stay at work, so I would go home early, but had to stop to get food for the afternoon first. Always fearful that I would get caught buying food, like there was a food police.  Or many times I would have to stop at the store to buy an outfit first before binging, knowing if I didn't buy bigger clothes I would have nothing to wear to work the next day. For at least a decade I had a house full of clothes size 6 to 24; never giving up the small clothes determined to get the weight off again, but always quick to give the "fat" ones away only to have to turn around and buy more. Not until recovery did I even realize how crazy my actions were.

All through my 20's I worked a second job waitressing on Friday and Saturday nights. After my shift was done Sunday morning at 3:00 a.m. I would head to the store to buy my reward for making it thru the weekend of work. I would go to the bakery section to pick out my cake and then whatever other junk food I needed and go home. Sundays became binge day. I would eat, pass out for a few hours, wake up, binge, and pass out again. I would have contact with no one!  I can also remember waking up on Sunday’s and not being able to feel my feet, they were so swollen from the weight and being on my feet for 12 hours waitressing. I wondered if they would even hold me when I stood up.

Then came my second crash diet and diet pills. I found the diet pills didn't help me loose a pound but it helped keep me going; coffee and diet pills, what a combination. I would get up every morning take a few diet pills and a cup of coffee; go back to bed drink the coffee and wait for the caffeine and the diet pills to kick in just to start the day. I figured out that eating with coffee and diet pills took away some of the effect.  So I desperately tried to stick to just coffee and diet pills all day long.

The bad days were when I was into the food first thing. Then the whole day was horrible, I had no focus and was horrible to the people around me. Everyone paid for my moods but no one knew why because I kept that part of my life a complete secret. Weighing well over 200 lbs. isn't an easy secret to hide, but I thought I was. After I lost the 100 lbs. again I found my first husband. He later told me he was attracted to me when we meet because my eyes were so dilated he thought I was doing drugs! I was appalled by the thought that I would do drugs!!! But my eyes were dilated from the diet pills. I was taking a month’s supply in one week.

Once I was married I am not sure if something in my head switched to "your married now, who cares" or the marriage was so bad that I ate to escape the reality. When I started dating my husband in Feb. 2005 I weigh about 160 and in Feb 2007 I weighed 330. In 2 years I had doubled my weight. My insurance wouldn't pay for marriage counseling so I found a therapist for just me. I needed someone to help me learn to deal with my alcoholic bio-polar husband. He had problems, I didn't. During the first few sessions I would go on and on about him and she would try to direct me back to myself. Of course I would go right back to him; I didn't have any issues. Then one day she handed me a paper that talked a little about RFA and had a list of contact #'s. Never once had we talked about my weight. She said she thought this might be something I needed to check into. I took one look and shook my head in shame. In my gut I knew she was right. It took me two weeks to make that first phone call. I knew at some deep level this is where I belonged. That phone call set me up with my first sponsor and meeting time.

The moment I walked in the door I felt I was finally home! I started the food plan on my birthday, I couldn't think of a better day! By the grace of God in a few weeks my birthday will roll around again and I will have 5 years in recovery!! The past 5 years has been a ride of a lifetime. Within 2 months of being on the food plan I lost everything. My husband and I divorced, I had to file bankruptcy, move out of my house into a friend’s house. I had to start over. The only positive light I had in my life was RFA so I grabbed onto it with everything I had. I was scared to death I couldn't do it, but knew I would die if I didn't. I committed myself to work the steps and follow the food plan. Slowly things changed, the more I let go, the more my life became something I always wanted it to be. I was finally at peace with myself and able to look the world in the eye and not be terrified to let them see me. I no longer had to isolate myself, I had a wonderful fellowship that loved and supported me until I could start doing it for myself. Isolation used to be my best friend, now God is. Our relationship is amazing. He truly is doing for me what I could never do for myself. It wasn’t' until I let go of the wheel that I was able to change. I always thought food addiction was just my burden to bear and I had to figure out how to deal with it. Until RFA I didn't know that I didn’t have to do it by myself and I could hand it over to God and he would take care of it. What an amazing gift.

In the last 5 years I have been able to maintain my weight loss, marry the man of my dreams, buy a home, and I have been blessed to be able to share the message of recovery with some wonderful people. God has opened the doors for me I never thought would ever even be available to me. Never felt I was worthy of the great life that I saw so many others living.

Today I trust God completely and I am very grateful for RFA and the fellowship. Who knew I didn't have to do it alone in isolation, and I too could have a wonderful life!

 Sarah H.