I am restless today. I want some excitement. I want to change my reality. Nothing actually bad is happening today. My family and friends are all well and coping with the current world health situation; my extended family is well. My finances are stable, and I do not have to work today or stress or strain. I could read or draw or play the piano, watch a movie or play games with my kids, but instead, I’m restless. I’m looking for something to take the edge off. The edge off what? I’m not sure what it is that stirs in me and wants my attention, that longs to be filled or fixed. But it’s there. It used to make me want to eat, to binge and then starve and to exercise obsessively. I knew no other way to quiet the beast. It was like a pressure valve. I could feel the ‘want to eat’ build and build. I’d have the thought to eat, that I would avoid and ignore for only so long until it would be a relief to cram food into my mouth and quiet the obsession for a time. Then the worrying about what I’d eaten would start and what all that food would do to my weight. Then the starving would start. I would put off eating as long as I could, skipping meals, avoiding food situations, avoiding cooking, and exercising. It was one endless merry go round, with no start and no end in sight. The bingeing, restricting and over-exercising just got worse and more and more extreme as I tried to quiet the restless, hopeless, horrible pit of nothingness in my being.
Action in Addictive Eaters Anonymous relieves my troubled thinking
Today, I nearly reasoned and justified making an addictive food decision. I have given up food, exercising and obsessing over my weight. I rely on the Twelve Step programme of Addictive Eaters Anonymous to help me live well today. I practise conscious contact with my Higher Power, I attend recovery meetings regularly and speak to others in recovery every day. In the beginning, I needed help with sorting out a food plan, which I now treat like medication. I noticed how uncomfortable that food decision was making me feel and decided I was better off talking to others in recovery first, particularly my sponsor, before taking that first bite.
I nearly tried to control my family’s movements and decisions because when I feel restless I sometimes think other people are to blame. I realised what I was about to do and decided to take a different action instead. As everyone was resting after lunch doing something quiet, I realised it was time I found something I’d like to do. Mmmmmm what would I like to do? A lot of the time I don’t know because I’m too busy thinking about what other people ought to be doing. Since I was still restless and even irritable, I decided to do what AEA has taught me to do. I needed to do something to help others. People have taught me that they feel better when they think about how they can help others, especially those who identify with wanting to eat all the time, who obsess with their weight and feel restless and irritable.
Freedom from my misery by trying something different
So I sit and write my experiences of what it used to be like, what it is sometimes still like and what I have learned to do about it today. Today I know how to take action and live in the solution. I no longer have to live in the problem, thinking around and around, repeating behaviours that don’t work and hoping for a different outcome. Today I have the freedom to try something different, perhaps something I haven’t tried before, and see if it works better. Perhaps I can even try something I’m not sure I want to do, since my old habits no longer work. I can even try things I’m frightened of doing because I’m more scared of staying and feeling the same old ways that lead me back to misery, hopelessness, unhappiness and bad decisions. I’m grateful today to be able to write this blog and have the opportunity to share with anyone who may be suffering like me that there is a way out. I have found a way out of the food, weight and exercise obsession in Addictive Eaters Anonymous and I can find my way out of feeling restless, irritable, and discontent today too.