Tag Archive: compulsive
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I have often thought, where does my obsession with food come from. I grew up in a normal home, with loving parents, grand parents and close extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins. It was a home filled with laughter and love and I was given every opportunity to succeed and thrive yet I made some strange choices.
I have always had this emptiness, this need to feed. I was extremely shy but pretended not to be. I was also the surviving eldest child of my parents, the first grandchild for both sets of grandparents and the baby in the family for my immediate aunts and uncles. I was given so much attention and I loved it.
My grandparents were the survivors from Holocaust Europe having lost so many family members and carrying so much sadness and a zest for joy and survival that is indescribable. They left their homes in Europe with very little and build up new lives from scratch in a country where they had to learn a new language, new skills and new culture. Building homes, communities with a determination to succeed and thrive, especially since they bore such a loss in their hearts. In my grandparents lived the happy memories of better times around food, the table and their connection to their lost lives and families. So much attention was given to planning for meals and events, preparing for them, serving them and enjoying them that it was almost a vocation. To such a degree that my paternal grandmother remembered dates by what she made, and who was at the table.
Every time they looked at me they told me to eat something. Food was the cure all for every ailment – sadness, pensiveness, loneliness, anxiety – food for the soul, they would tell me. We were never that wealthy always got what we needed and money was spent on food, entertaining, education and travel. I am manipulative I realized when I was young that if I asked for something material there was a 50/50 chance of getting it but if I said I was hungry the answer was always why don’t you have some of this or this. I developed a hunger for this type of attention. The type that warmed me from the inside out and filled me up from my toes up. I could feel it, I could stuff myself so much to the point of being uncomfortable – filled with love. People couldn’t believe how much I could eat but they also didn’t see how much I purged to be able to keep stuffing and filling myself. You see even though we had a lot of laughter we never discussed our feelings. Feelings were too painful, they would open up cans of worms of things that my Grandparents didn’t want to feel or think of. It was easier and more delicious focusing on stuffing down our feelings.
I used to tell myself that I love food, until I realized that I should love me. The food choices I made weren’t always the healthiest the fatty, salty, sweet each had a different affect on me, my brain and how I felt. My brain and body were at odds, as I was loving myself with food, my body was getting clogged, bogged down and beaten up. My health started to deteriorate, so did my relationships, my world got smaller and I had to make different choices. My body was collapsing under the weight I was carrying, the yoyo dieting, the extreme measure – the abuse. My life had become unmanageable, that was 18 months and 130 lbs ago. Today I’m blessed to be in recovery and I have come to realize that there are many ways to feed my soul, food is not one of them happiness, good health that enables me to enjoy the world around me and for this I’m grateful.
I have been fastidious about eating clean, keeping to my eating plan and doing all those things I needed to do except surrender. I have been in relapse mode for the past 2 weeks, I have been craving, obsessing and I know I have triggered my addiction, my allergy. My downfall is my ego and the space inside my head, I struggle with the concept of surrender, asking for help and being honest with myself and my emotions. It started 3 months ago, with cinnamon Altoids. For many this is not an issue for me this became a trigger, developing into a need to feed – I need to have something crunchy. It started with eating one every now and again to eating one regularly, when in my car, when at my desk then it became eating 3 at a time, finishing a box in 2 days and a general escalation a need developed. I also didn’t realize that need for crunch started triggering my cravings. I started thinking of other snacks, nuts, fantasizing about potato chips, fresh breads and other starches and really obsessing over food again.
This past Friday night at 9pm, I was 355 Days 21 hours before my 1 year clean looking forward to getting my medal. In fact I had mentioned this anniversary at home group meeting the week before. I was blase and almost arrogant, as though it was a given, so close – guaranteed? I relapsed 4 hours, 240 minutes before celebrating 1 year clean. The nature of my dis-ease is do detrimental and so severe that I hurt myself. I’m an addict, a compulsive overeater, my downfall is my disconnect between my head and my heart = my obsessive mind and my drug of choice.
Heid that’s so innocuous you say. Maybe but let me put it into perspective.
- I’m not hungry but I’ve developed a habit that went from counting cashews to eating a 5 oz bag every 2 days.
- Over the past few weeks I have been more irritable, disconnected and restless with extreme anxiety.
- Yes it’s protein but I have previously been hospitalized and almost died when my colon developed an ulcer and perforated from Diverticulitis.
- The past few times while indulging my impulses I haven’t enjoyed the food but I couldn’t stop. I was using food to self soothe it started with liking the affect, almost getting high, feeling good. Then it wasn’t feeling good anymore.
- After I fed my obsession, my compulsion I felt terrible, I was guilty and ashamed and I treated myself worse than I would ever treat anyone else. Psychologically I berated myself and I beat myself up.
- I spent Friday night, Sat, Sun and Monday in bed as I was in extreme pain and discomfort, praying to G-d to alleviate my pain and suffering and toying with the idea of going to the hospital. I’m now on an extreme course of antibiotics and still recovering.
- After this binge, I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday remorseful. Feeling terrible, berating myself, feeling worthless, feeling ashamed.
- I didn’t ask for help or call anyone.
- I can’t do this on my own in my own way anymore.
- I needed help and I didn’t ask for help because I thought that it would make me less than, make me weak, make me vulnerable and open me up to hurt. So I took it on myself to become my worst enemy and hurt my best friend – me.
My problem is a disconnect of my head from my heart . This is not my first binge but it is my first real awakening, that my ego is a problem. I can’t keep doing things the way that I have in the past, relying on my feelings, relying on my reasoning, listening to me, my thoughts, my reasoning on my own without help. Honesty – if I was honest with myself I would have noticed the progression that’s happened over the past few weeks. I started snacking before going to sleep, my mind is so warped and my addiction so strong that I can justify to myself why that’s ok. Even though I’m wasn’t hungry, because I had eaten dinner not so long ago. Even though I didn’t want to but it becomes a need, a compulsion that I have to feed. With all addicts it’s a thought that starts as a whisper and ends up as an all consuming scream that I chose to feed. My head and heart are so disconnected that I felt compelled to start feeding my addiction, increasing my cravings and eating nuts as a snack before going to sleep. The truth is feelings are not facts, when there’s a battle of emotion over intellect my emotions win, my head lies to me to feed my addiction because I am an addict., I have momentary lapses of reason and that’s why I do crazy things. Why else would I do things to harm myself, think that it was okay and justify my actions and behavior afterwards. The question I have to face is do I want to be happy and healthy or right?
I always thought that being right made me happy how insane is that. I want to be happy and healthy and I promise you over the past few days I have not been either. In fact I’ve been miserable and sick. Being in recovery for me is the answer, being in program, asking for help, relying on a higher power other than myself to help restore me to sanity because experience and my past behaviors have shown me that I can’t do it on my own. Acknowledging that I’m not perfect nor do I need to be is key to regaining my health. It is my humanity that when I tap into it that helps my recovery. When I tap into what’s eating me – acknowledging out loud when I’m scared, anxious, unhappy, bored and discuss it with another human being is when I stop isolating and using. When I go to meetings, stay connected, use my food plan and tap into my higher power that I can stay free of obsession. Being spiritually connected is key for my recovery being truly grateful that I have been granted another day is truly a blessing and being kind to myself is essential.
I may not be perfect and I am disappointed that I couldn’t celebrate my one year clean. I fought back tears at the meeting on Monday night when I insisted on doing the coin presentation and congratulated a fellow addict on their 1 year clean but I am responsible for letting my ego get in the way and for picking up and for using. You see my relapse may not seem like a relapse to others but it was to me. What do you think? Heid E
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I just love food I said 120 lbs overweight, sick & tired of being sick and tired.
When I was first introduced to the concept of recovery, as the only effective way to treat compulsive overeating I balked at the idea. The person who proposed the idea is an alcoholic in recovery. My discussion with her started with – food is everywhere, I love to eat. For you it’s easier because you don’t walk into that area of the supermarket or into the liquor store. When I checkout of the supermarket there’s food on both sides of the aisle. “That’s not the issue she said. “I need food to live”, I responded getting quite indignant. “That’s not the issue”, she responded. It’s taken me 2 1/2 years to face the issue. It’s not that I love food any less or that I don’t need food to eat. The issue is that I don’t have a healthy relationship with food. I crave food, I overeat, I obsess about food and I will sometimes choose eating over living a happy healthy life.
Sounds morose but it’s true. I have spent hours planning my next meal while eating a meal. I have eaten more food after a meal even though I wasn’t hungry. I have missed events because I couldn’t fit into my clothes, suffered with sore joints, ill health and depression, because I love food. I have justified why I should answer the call when cravings call and pick up and eat those foods. My brain comes up with reasons are so darn compelling that they make sense and I justify my using. The problem is that I’m an addict, my drug of choice is food. I will lie to myself and others just to eat what I want to eat when I’m compelled to eat. I didn’t have lunch or breakfast that’s why I can eat more for dinner, after dinner and before bed. I’m like the alcoholic that believes that if I go on diets, or abstain from certain foods for a period of time I can eat them again. But I can’t because I don’t look at food the same way as a “normal” person. I don’t get full – 1 is too little and a bag is too much. I have a continual internal struggle, suffering with this conflict. 120 lbs overweight is not a question on beauty it’s a question of health. I know and knew that things I do and were putting in my mouth were unhealthy, not good for me, not necessary, not rational but it’s bizarre because I’m sane in every other respect.
The issue is that I am responsible for what I put into my mouth. I love the concept and the taste for a few seconds but do I love my health more? What is the cost of putting that first trigger food into my mouth – those foods that talk to me, that take control of my world, the ones that I’m powerless over that once I have the first bite the ones for which I have no fight against – willpower out the window and compulsion takes over. Those wheaty, salty, or chocolately little devils.
The issue is that I have to take drastic action, throw certain life long conceptions out of the window. I cannot eat like a normal person, I cannot eat certain foods, they are like poison to me, like those sirens of old who sat on the rocks calling ships resulting in wrecks and destruction.
Abstinence is the key for me and being in recovery a lifeline for being healthy and for this wisdom I’m grateful.
Being in community, being accountable and being honest are key to my success. I invite all of you who suffer like me, to join us on our free no cost, no selling, no supplements, no diets pure recovery telephone call on Sunday. Register here