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Lockdown: Once an opportunity to isolate and eat now a chance to be still and serve others

Lockdown and home shelter are words that would not have scared me. I used to love total isolation. I loved being at home, being under the duvet and eating. I'd unplug the phone, draw the curtains, sit in total darkness and eat. I’d have stockpiled sugary stuff, salty snacks and strong tasting heavy foods, like chicken spinach curry and naan bread. And I adored rich birthday and Christmas fruit cakes, not to mention high quality, layer upon layer of chocolate cake.

Obese and full of self-disgust, I was like a drunk with food

Long weekends and night duty were my favourite times to isolate and eat. I’d come home and sleep after a shift at work. I’d wake up heavy with tiredness but with an active mind. Then I’d gorge myself back into a drunken stupor. The only time I felt bad about it was in the morning when my feet hit the floor and gravity caused my 325 lb body to weigh me down. I’d get dressed in my uniform, looking and feeling like a whale! I’d drag myself to work and hide behind the desk or the steering wheel. All the time, I could feel the disgust from my colleagues and the public. But why not? I disgusted myself and the world reflected it back to me. The 24-hour garage called to me all through the night shift and I’d give in to it as soon as the hit from the last binge had faded.

My life was a nightmare until I found true freedom in Addictive Eaters Anonymous

Almost 12 years have passed since that nightmare had me in its grip; the people in Addictive Eaters Anonymous taught me how to live my life without abusing food and fear. I never really believed that this enormous whale of a girl could truly be free of the hold food had over me. I knew that inside there was a beautiful slim version of a friendly confident person, but I couldn’t get out. Addictive Eaters Anonymous and the 12 Steps, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous, have transformed my life into unrecognisable freedom beyond words!

A different experience of Lockdown in recovery from food addiction

Lockdown and home shelter are words that still do not scare me today. I relish time at home, time for spiritual reflection, and time for being still - for being on a personal retreat. The kitchen and the 24 hour garage no longer call to me; a miracle has occurred. I have a simple routine while indoors where I keep in regular contact with members of AEA, I attend online meetings and I ’sink deeper’ into a Power greater than myself. I listen to the news minimally and just trust I’ll be guided to take the right action for the safety of our Human Consciousness. I’ve learned how to shop thriftily. But the funniest thing is that the shelves are abundantly stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables, and I’ve not had to notice the processed and sugary foods. Shopping has turned into a pleasure as I find I need only replenish the cupboards every five days or so. My body has stopped salivating and craving enormous piles of binge food. And my life no longer resembles a zombie movie, since the pain of my eating drove me to follow a few simple suggestions and to recover from addiction.

Through love and service to others, I am free from the bonds of addiction

Since then, I have learned that it is the service to others that rewards me with complete freedom from addiction; being able to call a relative, a friend or a stranger has released me from thinking about myself and the food. The current world health situation hasn’t stopped me smiling at people passing by, and I laugh that it has brought me closer to God, to being myself and to everyone and everything about me.

I’m seriously trying to think of anything I’m struggling with currently….. I have three friends whom I’m wishing would behave differently. One is my previous landlord, who hasn’t responded to a text message I sent him. I’m uncomfortable when other people don’t behave as I think they should. In the past, I would have eaten over it, blamed myself and called him like a stalker to check his tone of voice to make sure I hadn’t upset him. I would have spent hours eating over it and allowing resentful and fearful thoughts to run around in my head. Today I can see that thinking is what used to make me eat. It was the craziness of giving power away to a story in my head. Today, recovery from addiction has taught me that other people have priority in their lives that I have no idea about and to live and let live. I know the world does not revolve around me. So I let those thoughts go and turn to stillness and most certainly to helping the next person right here, right now.

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