I am truly a mom over the top! I have been a compulsive overeater for most of my life. The first time I remember specific over the top eating behaviors was when I was 13 years old. That was 24 years ago. I started on this journey to health, to abstinence, to sanity in May, 2010. I hope that by blogging I can help, not only myself, but help others to know that they aren't alone. My tools on this journey are Overeaters Anonymous and SparkPeople.

Let go and let God

The past two months of my life has been more than chaotic.  If I didn't have OA, online meetings, f2f meetings, other OAs to call I know what I would have done.  I would have gone back to being completely out of control.  In the past two months we have battled rotavirus in our toddler, a child being bullied at at school, another child battling anger, our daughter was diagnosed with asthma, our car broke down, our landlords told us that they need to put our house on the market and we discovered that we still can't get financed to buy it or any other home, our money issues have been a mess, I have had chronic bronchitis for nearly a month, the kids have been battling severe allergies, our gifted son was being ignored by the staff at school, and the list goes on.  To top it off my parents are gifting us with a trip to Walt Disney World next week and I sprained my ankle two days ago.  

Through it all my sponsor has been beside me.  When it has been overwhelming she has been able to talk me down.  If I needed someone and she couldn't be reached I grabbed my phone list or wrote an email or wrote a blog entry.  My food has not been spectacular through it all, it hasn't even been good but it has been okay.  I have not binged (which is a huge success for me), I have not turned to sugary foods, I have not gone over my daily calories but I have been carb loading which can lead to problems for me.   

The other day I realized that I haven't been reviewing the steps each day and I decided to start.   I told my sponsor that my theme for each day right now is "Let go and let God".  After I sprained my ankle not only was I devastated but my parents were upset by the money that has been spent to make this a fantastic vacation and now I am injured.  However, after just letting go and asking my HP to take my burdens and to guide me I have been able to, with the help of family and friends,  stay almost entirely off of my feet for the past couple of days.  I have crutches to use for the times it just isn't possible.  The big kids were taken to school yesterday by my parents and picked up by a friend.  Someone else stopped and picked up soy milk for the toddler when I ran out before my husband got home from work.  My ankle feels a ton better than it did two days ago and I think I will be healed enough by Monday to spend some time on my feet each day. I was a bit panicked about not having internet access while we are gone (we can't afford an extra $50 for the week) and a friend from OA handed me $10 so I can log in during the middle of the week and enter my food into sparkpeople and touch base with my sponsor and anyone else I feel a need to reach out for.   I just had to share how amazing things can turn out when you allow yourself to be led and you do accept the things you can't change.   

There is a serenity to be found.  I can't undo my injury but I can rent a motorized cart to ride around the parks.  I can't change our financial situation at the moment but I was able to talk with our landlords and they are giving us until spring to move so we have our income tax return to finance the venture with.  They also gave us the name for some lenders who could possibly help.   I can't be on my feet making the house sparkle before we leave but I can get the family up and working and at least get it completely picked up so we don't come home to chaos. 

The whole point of this ramble is that I am incredibly grateful.  I could weigh 20 pounds more than I did 8 weeks ago, instead I have lost 4-5 pounds during that time.   I could have been on the path to destroying all of the progress I have made with my help but instead I am still (at least mostly) on track!


I am not alone

Sometimes it is hard not to feel isolated when much of the world doesn't understand the struggles I face each day but them I remember....

I am not alone.  I will never be alone.   I know that if I listen I will be lead on the right path.  

I am so entirely grateful for the support of friends and family as well.  I can't do this on my own.   I am grateful for my sponsor and my OA friends.  I am thankful, in this month of Thanksgiving, that I have found a new way to live.

Addiction is such a dirty word

ad·dic·tion  [uh-dik-shuhn]

the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
I think there are lots of people around who have compulsive eating problems who would never come to a realization that the way they were living was the life of an addict.   It saddens me to see other people living like I did, in denial about the problems facing them.   It breaks my heart.   I spent so many years making decision after decision that would lead to my early death.   I wish I could travel back in time and tell my 16 year old self that in 20 years weighing 165 pounds would feel amazing to me.  That I would be one of the thinnest of my acquaintances.   How dreamy it would have been if I had sought counseling, an OA meeting, or even talked with a Dr. before I had done so much damage to my health and to my self-esteem.
During high school I was so incredibly shy and my feelings were hurt so easily.  There was a small group of boys who  I was friends with but the oldest of the bunch not so much.  I would love to go back and ask him if he was compensating for a small penis by picking on the insecure teenage girl.   As for the mean and nasty teenage girls, well most of them look like I did six months ago.  Karma.   I reacted to all the sadness, shyness, insecurity, depression and insecurity by sneaking food.  By eating crud instead of making healthy choices.  I pray that my children somehow escape the teenage years without lasting scars.

I went away (an entire 1 hour drive) to college with a very low self esteem and shortly after I started school my 22 year old boyfriend of 15 months decided to dump me because weekends weren't enough.   I moved forward by spending time with friends, including guy friends.  A word of advice.  Don't become friends with the boyfriends of your girl friends.  Eventually it will bite you in the ass.   Whether it is your friends' resenting you or you picking the wrong guy to befriend who takes advantage of you (or worse) it just isn't a good idea.   I am not saying that girls and guys can't be friends, just try to avoid situations that could make your life complicated and difficult.

After some pretty intense stuff went down I ended up with a private dorm room a few months into college.   I think that was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  Not only did I eat crap in the cafeteria but I came back to my room and drank soda and chose very poor snacks.  If I hadn't made some good friends I can't imagine how much more weight I could have put on.   

Another bit of advice.  Unless your grades are perfect and you actually have study skills (high school work came easy to me so I never really developed study skills or the ability to manage my time well)  make sure that your parents are monitoring your progress.  I had some problems financially and also ended up in a pretty severe depression my third year of school.  It led to me skipping classes, dropping classes and eventually transferring in an effort to salvage my academic career.  I failed to salvage anything.  I had some close friends left from high school but wasn't able to keep in touch with many of my friends from my first years of college.  

Another sage bit of wisdom.  If you can possibly get through college without student loans do everything you can to make it happen.  Go to a community college and pay cash, apply for grants and scholarships, transfer to a state school with great grades and get a scholarship.  Don't blow it.   What I wouldn't give to have been an educated professional for the past 14 years.

There are definite advantages to how my life moved forward after college though.  One of my very best friends and I were reintroduced to each other by a mutual friend.  We had barely known each other in high school but it was amazing to find someone so easy to love.  She is the reason I met my husband, over 12 years ago.  I turn 37 in February.  I will start back to college in January.  I am attending the local community college.  I am determined to ace my classes and begin the process of forgiveness---forgiving myself for all of the bad choices I made and the damage I caused myself.  In so many ways I was more a victim of myself than of any high school bully, purse snatcher, credit card company or poorly chosen friends.
So, if you are a person who eats to illness often, who hides food, who eats in secret, who binges, etc.  Please step back and figure out that this is an addiction and that no diet alone can make a lasting change in your life.  You have to move forward and heal all of the things that lead you to self destruction.   Find counseling, find a support group, check out an OA meeting online, on the phone or face to face, talk to your doctor, talk with a friend.  Whatever it takes to start the healing process and change your life for the better just do it.

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