I've had an eating problem as long as I can remember. I would steal food, and money to get food. I was ashamed and had no idea why I did it. As a teenager, I didn't want to be overweight, so I tried to eat healthily at first and then tried to eat as little as possible. I also exercised to control my weight. All these things stopped working by the time I was twenty-one years old.
The constant thinking about food and losing weight made me ring for help from a Twelve Step recovery group. I found people that I knew had a solution for me. I tackled the programme – meetings, a food plan, the Steps, a sponsor and service – through hard work and trying to do it perfectly.
However, I still had to exercise to control my weight. If I didn't do yoga and walk to work every morning, I would feel anxious. I walked up the stairs to my office on the sixth floor, whenever possible starting at the basement rather than the ground level. I told myself it was good for me and didn't talk to anyone about it.
My life got worse. I couldn't work, I was full of fear and my relationships were falling apart. I didn't know what was happening to me.
One day I heard someone with many years recovery share about her surrender and knew I didn't have what she had. I realised that the exercise was part of my addictive eating and finally became honest. Even then, I couldn't stop doing it.
One day, I prayed on my knees for one day free of all my addictions. It was the first time I had asked for help in that way. I did the Twelve Steps, this time out of desperation. Every day I would ask myself what I could do for other people with an eating addiction.
It took a long time for the nagging voice telling me to go away and for the fear of going back to it to leave. Today, I am not afraid because I believe that a God of my understanding has taken it from me.
I didn't think I would be able to have a baby because I had done a lot of damage, mentally and physically. Today, I have two children and a normal family life. I have a feeling of well-being that I never knew before, which I keep through staying honest and trying to practise the Twelve Steps.