Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Slippery Slope

Hi. My name is Linda and I am a compulsive over eater.
That means I am like an alcoholic with food (actually, more like a heroin addict).
I have been struggling to stay clean for about 5 years now. I have had some long stretches of "abstinence" as they call it, meaning I weigh and measure three meals a day from a very specific food list. I write all three meals down before I eat them, call my sponsor everyday at the same time to “commit my food” and then I eat exactly what I commit to without exception, with nothing in between except black coffee, tea, diet soda or water...No Matter What, no matter who, no matter when, no matter where and no matter how.
It may sound extreme, cause it sort of is...
But then, I am pretty extremely insane when it comes to food and the lengths I will go to eat what ever I want, whenever I want and still stay “skinny”.
I am a down and dirty food addict.
I have stolen food…from friend’s homes while they were there and hid in their bathroom’s to eat it.
I have hidden in closets and public bathrooms to secretly eat.
I have thrown food away only to dig it back out of the garbage hours later to eat it.
I can barely eat in front of anyone because all I can think about is what I really want to eat that I am afraid to eat in front of anyone. I have gone out to dinner, eaten a whole meal and then afterwards, once alone, eaten another entire dinner of the food I really wanted.
I am a fast food junkie and a sugar whore.
Nothing is ever enough or ever hits "the spot".
I have stolen from my son’s Halloween, Easter and Christmas candy, and all but finished it off...he now knows how to hide it from me.
I have gotten up on the middle of the night to secretly eat more.
I have binged all day long and then pretended to not be hungry for dinner with my husband.
I constantly lie about food, what I ate, what I want to eat, what I am eating, when I am going to stop, why I am eating, why I shouldn’t eat, why I should, when I should, when I can, why it’s OK and why its not.
I lie to you but mostly I lie to me.
I lie that I am sick with a cold but really I am hung over from a binge.
I have been addicted to diet pills, the over the counter amphetamine types that make you buzz like cocaine and not eat for days.
I have taken so many laxatives that I passed out of the bathroom floor in a cold sweat in front of my 4 year old son reassuring him, Mommy is fine, don’t worry...meanwhile not really sure if I would live or die.
I will lie straight to your face and feel nothing and not care so you will leave me alone faster so I can go eat more.
I will do what ever I need to get my fill.
I do not care and I don’t care that I don’t care.
I am a master liar and you would never know I was dealing with any of this.
I will give up anything and fuck up everything. 
Nothing is sacred and no one is safe.
I am a compulsive over eater.
Maybe you know what I mean?
I knew most of this about myself, most my life, but I never realized anything was so messed up about it. I mean, isn't everyone like this? Most the women I know are just as obsessed as I am and on a constant crazy diet roller coaster ride. I pretty much felt normal except for the fact that I could never lose the weight I wanted to, or keep it off for any length of time.  So, rather than think maybe I had a problem and just felt like a piece of shit, bad dieter with a lack of will power.
I have been waiting for the day when I would get this all together and learn the big enlightening lesson, wrapped up in a nice package so I can share it with you a teach YOU something on my high horse. However, apparently, much to my ego's dismay, that day isn't coming anytime soon and I am humbled to know I am just another bozo on the bus.
In fact, this lack of ever really getting anywhere with this issue is part of what clued me into my denial and what is actually means to Surrender. Surrender to: that it is the way it is, that its NOT going away and to the cold hard fact that I am a compulsive over eater, an addict, and I can not stop. I am powerless over food, no amount of will power, no amount of pills, diets, books, doctors or nutritionist can ever give me the power to stop. Surrendering is to admit the truth, of how it just is and has been, it the only way out, at least for me.
However before I could even get to surrender, I had to learn to tell the truth. You see the first step to recovery is to  "...admit I am powerless over food and that my life has become unmanageable" Which I don’t know if you notice but there is a whole lotta truth telling needed to be able to even take the first step. So, like the good liar I am, I decided that it must be something else and first went on a journey to figure out WHY first.
You see there is a hole that needs filling, a hole in my soul. It is empty and I am not sure why but believe me I have tried to figure out why. Therapists, hypnosis, acupuncture, psychics, reiki, energy healers, shaman, self-help workshops, self-help groups, religion, yoga, meditation, life name it, I have tried it all to help me figure out WHY. But as a very wise women once told me, figuring out WHY is the booby prize in life. It makes no difference.
I actually know exactly why and if you have like twelve more hours I could tell you the whole sad fucking story that led me up to this very moment while I STILL stuff my face in a futile attempt to feel better, still chasing the high that I felt when I was 5 hiding in my closet eating a can of cake frosting...still trying to fill the this hole to no avail, none whatsoever. After a few years I figured out that figuring out why was just as empty as the food itself, which is just as empty as the lack of something inside me.
Oh don't get me wrong, there is the momentary glee as the chocolate hits my tongue and the temporary thrill of a Quarter Pounder with cheese, super sized fries with two apple pies (and, of course,  a diet coke ‘cause I don't want to drink all that sugar!? fucking insane person), but the thrill gets shorter and shorter and harder to find. Which makes me have to eat more and more to try to find something to fill me up. The more food I consume, the more I am consumed by food. Nothing is ever enough or hits the spot. It is endless and pointless and utterly devastating--to me, to my son, my husband, and my world around me. This is where I learned I am powerless and when I dive down the rabbit hole, my life becomes completely unmanageable...they call this hitting bottom:
I do not give two shits about anything except getting the food at this point.
I do not care if my family eats a single meal, or what they eat, or if they ever eat or what they do or ever do.
The dishes pile up.  The house is filthy.
I stop showering, brushing my teeth and changing my clothes for days at a time.
I sleep as much as possible.
I blow off everything and anything I possibly can just short of running my business into the ground (although I did actually do that once too.).
I blatantly hide from everyone, can't answer the phone, and can barely do anything.
I am irritable, angry and depressed.
I rage at anyone who gets in my way especially my husband. Oh and forget about sex, that's just not even an option or discussable.
Oh and then this is when my denial completely sets in.
I hate my self so much and get so sad, my body aches and I start to think I must have some kind of disease. I must have fibromyalgia, arthritis, lupus, cancer or clinical manic depression...I immediately go to every doctor who will listen. I have been tested for everything you can think of and I am perfectly healthy, not one thing wrong with me, I’m not even anemic. At which point the doctors offer me anti-depressants, which I happily take. I clearly am somewhat manic and the meds at least help me not go so low that I do something permanently stupid. However, no amount of drugs can ever fill this hole
...this is the slippery slope of denial and addiction.
...this is a bottom.
Maybe you have hit one once too?
So, once I hit bottom about, I don't know, 384+ times in my first 32 years of life, I started to think, maybe I need help, maybe there is something I don't see about all of this and got my ass to a meeting.
Day 1…again...wanna come for the ride?
I plan to kick this addiction’s ass...No Matter What.