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  • Yesterday, I ate an abstinent breakfast in a little diner by the reservoir. The adorable little size 0 waitress delivered my oatmeal and eggs with four triangles of buttered white bread toast balanced on the edge of the plate. Hm.. I didn't ask for toast yet there it was, smelling all good and buttery and poison-y. Before she could set down my plate, I told her to take the toast. She looked at me askance. "Please take the toast off." I repeated twice, nicely and softly. She finally got it and took it away. There... Did you see me? I performed a death defying act. I said NO!

    Binge eating begets the woman in the photo -- me. It was a Herculean effort to stand and let my friend have a photo taken with me at his wedding. I wanted to run rather than be captured on film. It took me forever to find a dress large enough to wear to the wedding. There are not many pictures of me at this weight from aged 27 to 39. That is not how I look today, but it is how I feel still sometimes -- I worry that I will break a folding chair, not fit into the airplane seat, fit on the sofa in the middle. I worry, but act as if nothing is going on in my addict brain.

    I couldn't stop eating, drinking, smoking pot... facing life. I could only lose weight, 150 lbs., when I accepted the fact of my addiction, my emotional and spiritual bankruptcy, and surrender to it. Through OA, I gave up flour and sugar and I weighed my meals, nothing in between and, in a few months, the weight was gone. I gave my food to a sponsor and control of my life to a power greater than me, my Creator. I don't go to meetings anymore, but I maintain the boundaries, the strict food plan, and I sponsor others.

    No one could tell me how to lose weight, surrender, until I connected with someone else in a meaningful way, really heard their story and was ready to live. She wasn't trying to take anything from me. In OA, AA, NA, GA, Any A, we are here to give you hope through our stories, our strength and experience so we can sustain our own belief in the process of recovery, healing. When an anorexic newcomer sees my photos at a meeting, they always say... " How could you let yourself get that fat?" "I would kill myself if I got fat." And when I was growing up, everyone always said, "But you've got such a pretty face." or "When you find the right man, you'll be happy and lose the weight." If only.

    So when I say "no thanks" to the cookies you've baked and brought to work or the birthday cake with its flickering candles or that wonderfully enticing buttery toast don't be offended. I am an addict in recovery and for me, that's what life is: a death defying act. Keep on talking, keep coming, keep writing, just keep moving forward one minute or one day at a time. That's what I heard, and that's what I say.

    I tried to sprout this story from someone in FL about his bulimia, but he deleted it before I had the nerve to hit save. I don't know if that means I'm not supposed to share what I have written or if the mere fact of writing is should be enough to have served me emotionally, but I've decided to publish it anyway.
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