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Even the way I treat my dogs has improved in Addictive Eaters Anonymous

On the outside, my life looks similar to the way it used to before I found recovery in Addictive Eaters Anonymous. But a closeup view of my daily living shows how everything has changed. As one example, when I was eating addictively, I didn’t treat my pets well. Over the years, we’d had a few dogs in our family, and they were generally neglected or ignored. I would get angry if they didn’t do what I wanted, and, on a few occasions, I hit them. It took a neighbour seeing me abuse my dog for me to finally feel ashamed and to change. But I didn’t care enough to spend time training any of the dogs. And they were definitely never allowed in the house or treated like they were part of the family. We never took our dogs to the vet and we didn’t get the male dogs neutered.

Making amends freed the shame and regrets I felt from living in addiction

As part of Steps Four and Five, I finally got honest and shared all of my past with another person. Then I made amends for the harm I had caused when I was bingeing and in addiction, including for not being a responsible pet owner. As I look back, I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to make a living amends to our dog, Rex. For two years before he died at the age of 14, I took care of him and nursed him like he was a family member. Now I have no regrets or shame as I have been able to clear away the wreckage of my past.

These days, when I arrive home from work, my two dogs, Dexter, a Golden Labrador Beagle cross, and Sophie, a Cavoodle, wag their tails in excitement to see me. After I put everything down, I sit on the stool and pat them both, telling them they are good dogs and I love them very much. It’s a far cry from how I used to be before I got sober from food, pills and alcohol.

My home life has changed dramatically over 12 years in recovery

Not long ago, when we discussed as a family about getting another dog, we talked about what type of dog we wanted and who would be responsible for training, feeding and walking the dog. We discussed whether we wanted an inside or outside dog and if he or she would be allowed on the sofa and beds.

We now have two wonderful fur babies in our lives and are so very happy with them. If you would have asked me over 12 years ago if I were a dog person, I would have said no. But now our holidays are based around where we can go with the dogs and if we can’t take them to a national park like Fraser Island, which is about 8 hours north of where we live on the Gold Coast of Australia, then we put them in a kennel with our local “Friend of the Pound” foster carer and pay for their care. This is something I never would have done before recovery because I didn’t want to have to pay someone to look after our dogs. These days, I’m proud to be a dog person and to care about living things around me. I even let the grasshoppers eat some of my veggies in the garden because I figure there’s enough for us all.

I’m grateful to Addictive Eaters Anonymous for transforming my life each day that I’m sober

It’s now time for Dexter and Sophie to take their daily walk and they are beside themselves with excitement. A few months ago, Dexter tore ligaments around his knee and ruptured his kneecap. Thankfully, he’s recovering well from his surgery, helped by the medicine, by the new food regime we’ve implemented - per the vet’s suggestion - and from our careful attention to his needs. A favourite part of his rehabilitation is the 10-minute gentle walks outside in the fresh air. After our walk, it will be time to enjoy the rest of our afternoon. Thanks to AEA, life is good today.

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