An addiction is an addiction...there is no getting around it. When the word “addiction” is heard most people immediately think of drugs and alcohol...but what about food? People's addiction to food gets swept under the rug quite a bit but...an addiction is an addiction, and every form of addiction also has recovery on the other side if the person is willing to surrender and accept help.
This woman was skinny in high school. Her body was perfectly toned. She was an athlete and because of the discipline she had learned through playing sports, she managed to maintain her petite frame even after high school. Her body had always been her prize possession but ovarian cancer struck at a young age and her body started changing in ways she could not control.
She had chemotherapy and tumors removed. When it was all over and she was in the clear on the road to cancer recovery, she looked at her body and was absolutely disgusted. She jokes, “Why couldn't I have gotten the cancer that makes you lose weight??” For the first time in her life her body was not perfect to her. She knew she had the discipline inside of her, but because it was not just an extra 5 or 10 pounds to lose, it seemed impossible to her. She went into a depression and began using food as her coping mechanism. It became her coping mechanism for self hatred and then stemmed to become her coping mechanism for whatever it was she was feeling. The weight just kept piling on. She would look in the mirror and cry, she would step on the scale and begin sobbing...she eventually hid the scale from herself because she figured “What was the point of continuously making myself feel worse and worse?”
The day came when she could not handle it anymore. She recalls sitting in her comfy leather chair and attempting to get up but feeling if she moved too quick her skin might rip. She says, “I felt as if I was suffocating in my own body. I felt if I kept going, my skin might actually begin ripping, I felt it getting pulled tighter and tighter. I knew something had to be done.”
She had tried the diets, tried the gym membership, bought all of the infomercial products and none of it was working. She tells me “None of it worked because I was trying to do it on my own and I did not realize that I actually had an addiction to food. I thought I just had poor self control” This time, she was so committed to actually changing she became willing to surrender totally, ask for help and search in places where people were actually seeing permanent results. She found a program for women that have food addictions. She began attending the classes and found herself relieved to know she was not alone in this. She built up a support system around herself. The support system contained women that knew the struggle but were also recovering, (not just losing the weight but keeping it off). She began to understand that it was not the food that was the issue it was her. She needed to deal with herself. With the group's help she learned how to eat healthier, still treat herself to sugars occasionally but how to be the one in control of her mind. In controlling her mind she could control the food, and the weight was finally starting to come back off and stay off.
I asked her, “So why did this program work, what was so different about this one?” She explained it was because she got to understand what it meant to recover not just suppress something. “The diets, and infomercial bs was only a band aid put over a much bigger problem. This program was like surgery, actually fixing what the root cause was. With any addiction there are underlying issues, this program worked on my physical health but more importantly on my mental health and the change in my thinking is what actually changed my life.”
Today she has lost over 60 pounds. She still regularly attends her group, she is happy with her body, with her life and is inspiring some of her friends to lose the weight they never thought they could either. “Recovery is a process, it takes time but recovery changes your life permanently, it is the best gift anyone can give to themselves.”
- a the word changes contributor