Step 0: Put Down The Food
Hello Greysheet Family! Regards from New York City and many happy abstinent days to everyone for 1996. I would like to qualify as I reached my 90 days yesterday, December 28th, 1995. It was a pleasure to speak to the community at the West Park Presbyterian church which was honored by the presence of one of our "GreyNet" community from Texas who spoke very highly of the benefits of our email system.
I was a compulsive overeater from the start. I stole money from my father's pants pockets when I was five years old and convinced my mother to let me "sit on the stoop" which I promptly left for the corner store where I asked the store keeper to give me as much (fill in the sugar-laden blank) as three quarters would buy me. On the way home I was apprehended by my mother and sister and promptly dropped my newly bought stuff all over the street. My mother died that year of Hepatitis B. She was a raging alcoholic and a compulsive overeater. I remember stealing a bag of (fill in the familiar blank) out of the kitchen cabinet right after she died. I was six.
I moved overseas with my father and his new wife who was physically abusive to me. I remember I was not allowed to eat with them, but I was made to do their dishes. I remember eating the remains of their food, which was a lot better than mine. I stole food out of the kitchen, out of drawers where sugar-laden things were hidden, and from any store where I could get away with it. I was ten and at the end of that year, in La Paz, Bolivia, my father died. After this I was sent to live with my stepmother's parents in Germany where I was sexually abused by her father. Eventually I was sent back to the States where I lived with my aunt and her seven kids. Needless to say, I didn't fit in and I wasn't happy.
I stole money from any place I could find it, including the housekeeper's pocket book, and I would go down to the local store and I would buy enough stuff to make me ill and eat it all on the way home. I was sent to an all girls' Catholic boarding school where I got into a lot of trouble doing drugs. I eventually went to a liberal school in Woodstock, Vermont where I finished high school.
I returned to New York and discovered speed. I got very thin and never ate and ended up passing out in the shower almost breaking my neck/skull in the process. I stopped doing speed and started eating. I married very badly to someone I didn't even like so that I wouldn't have to worry all the time about the rent and food money. My daughter was born two years later and after her birth, I weighed 280 pounds. I was miserable and then some. I realized I might have a problem with food, but I couldn't deal with it at that point in time. I had to blame my (now) ex-husband for everything and got divorced before it even dawned on me that I was an out-and-out, down-and-dirty food/sugar addict.
In 1985 I joined the "regular" OA rooms in Rocky Point, New York. For one whole year I remained abstinent. Unfortunately, I did not work the Steps. I also lost my sponsor when regular OA went "food plan-less." I promptly went out and gained right back the 100 pounds I had lost. In 1990 I had an awakening. I was miserable, no diet worked and I wanted out from life. I had the most amazing gift of being able to go in-hospital in California at the Bradshaw Center where I did major therapy/anger work and got to deal with me. I am extremely grateful to both the regular rooms and the therapists with whom I had the honor of working. I know my life was saved at that time because of them. When I came back to New York, I tried to find a therapist like the ones I had worked with in California and found a man who said, "Sure, I can help you, but you have to put down the food first. Why don't you check out GreySheet?" I said, "Sure." (Translation: "I'll go to the meeting for you, but I'm going to eat what I want to eat.")
Well, sure enough, I didn't surrender. I didn't do the work. I put down the food, but my head wasn't there. I got 90 days and had a party (so to speak) and went out for a year.
(Backing up slightly, I met a wonderful man in abstinence and married him not in abstinence.) He supports me 100%+. I gained back 65 pounds that year that I went out, but after trying EVERY diet YET AGAIN, I realized that I was a goner. This time my surrender was absolute. I crawled into a Greysheet meeting and said, "I'm back. I'm staying."
Today my abstinence comes first. It comes before my job (where I have been very honest and open about what I do so that I can go to the two noon meetings here at St. Thomas Church.) It comes before my marriage (otherwise, I wouldn't have one, thank you), and it comes before the rest of my life. I have gone from a size 22 to a size 16 in my 90 days. (I know it's not about that, but it counts!) My relationships just keep getting better and better. My life just keeps getting better. I turned 40 on the 19th of December and I joyfully blew out the candles on that carbohydrate thing. What could have been on of the most depressing days of my life got to be one of the happiest.
I have to share how much I love my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God. When I was eating, I turned my back on Him. When I surrendered, I turned towards Him and asked him to lift my compulsion to overeat, which was done IMMEDIATELY. I have to say that, for me, this miracle has to be what turned me on to Him in the regular rooms, and I have never forgotten it.
I might be a secretary in a French bank, but for today, my job is to stay abstinent and help other overeaters to achieve abstinence one day at a time! Thank you, all of you who do what I do. Your courage and your commitment mean everything. Without you, I could not do this. So, thank you for being there and for letting me share my story.