Right now, I am sitting at home in my lovely flat, feeling peaceful and enjoying the view of the park from my window. This is a dramatic change from when I was in full-blown addiction and before I knew about Addictive Eaters Anonymous. I didn’t dream that I could ever feel comfortable living on my own.
I craved escape from loneliness and discomfort
I remember living in a house with 10 people and feeling painfully lonely. I would leave the house at night time in search of excitement, companionship and escape. Eating and drinking gave me the courage to seek out men who could provide me with the attention I desperately craved, but ultimately meant that I found myself in situations I didn’t want to be in. During the day I would often go out ‘shopping’. This involved dressing up so I could get as much attention as possible, fuelling up on coffee, and then going from shop to shop, sometimes buying and sometimes stealing. I would steal food, clothes, make-up and anything else that I could get away with.
I had no idea what was wrong with me. All I knew was that I felt deeply uncomfortable and isolated at all times. I was constantly trying to cover up my feelings with food, caffeine, alcohol, drugs and attention. Sometimes it worked, and I would experience temporary relief, but as time went on, nothing worked anymore. I just couldn’t rid myself of all my uncomfortable feelings, no matter what I tried.
Food was a temporary fix and comfort
I had a constant craving for food, accompanied by a heartbreaking obsession to lose weight and be slim. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I discovered that by avoiding certain foods I could eat as much as I wanted without putting on weight. It seemed to me that I had found the solution to all my problems. Yet it didn’t have a lasting effect on the way that I felt, and I was still plagued by an obsession with food and the craving to eat. Eventually, I would give in, and once I started eating I couldn’t stop. I would then feel remorseful, ashamed, guilty and fat. I would promise never to do it again and would come up with an even more extreme plan to control my weight. Meanwhile, alcohol was always an exception that I kept picking up as I couldn’t bear the thought of not having some means of escape.
Eventually, my binges got closer and closer together, and my ability to control my eating was diminishing rapidly. I was terrified. It wasn’t only the prospect of morbid obesity that frightened me. My thoughts and emotions were all over the place, and I was afraid I was going insane.
Addictive Eaters Anonymous provided genuine connection and recovery
That was the point when I first came into contact with members of Addictive Eaters Anonymous, nearly eight years ago. For the first time in my life, I met other people I could relate to, who understood my problem with food as well as the way that I was thinking and feeling. They were willing to share their experience so I too could experience freedom from it all.
Serenity and usefulness replaced my food addiction and loneliness
Today, despite living on my own, I don’t feel alone. I have a Higher Power, a sponsor, and other members of the fellowship, all of whom I have the privilege of being in contact with regularly. I actually enjoy having my own space, as it gives me the freedom to do what I need to do for my program. Thanks to the fellowship of Addictive Eaters Anonymous, I am able to hold down a responsible job and be of service to others, going to work and coming home without food or any other substance getting in the way. During my time off, I no longer feel the need to roam the streets in search of somebody or something to change the way that I feel. I can sit at home on my sofa looking out of the window, contemplating how lucky I am to be clean and sober, and to have found a fellowship where I belong.