I always suspected that I was the food equivalent of an alcoholic, though I’d never admit it. I could never stick to a diet. I ate out of habit, not out of hunger. I’d have trouble paying the rent on time, but I’d always find money for some large-sized fast food meal. I was out of control, and I was determined to follow in the footsteps of my father, who ate himself into an early grave a dozen years earlier.
“You don’t have a problem,” I’d tell myself. “People who are addicts have real problems. You’re just a fatass who can’t stop eating.”
This voice was both right and wrong. By choosing food over the things that really mattered, such as family and health, I was playing with fire, and I knew it. But at the same time, I knew there was something more, something else I needed to resolve.
I entered treatment for an eating disorder late last summer. At first, it was easy to stick to the meal plans. But after a few weeks, I found myself consumed with negative emotions. Without that crutch of junk food, I was forced to deal with the real issues that I was trying to avoid. Every bad meal was an attempt to keep these issues hidden, in order to keep up the act for everyone else.
I’d gone five years without self-injuring, a streak I was extremely proud of. But in my food-deprived sense of despair, those old tingles came back again. So many times I considered going back to my old ways. After all, a razor blade has zero calories.
It was at that moment that I realized I was exactly what I thought I was. I was an addict.
I was down 30 pounds after treatment. People started to notice. As they asked me about “what I did,” I felt so violated. My weight issues were tied to much deeper, much darker issues. Every question brought my lifelong struggles with self-worth to light. As a result, it didn’t take me long to resume blocking out negative thoughts with food. It was just easier to not wage an internal struggle that would destroy me one way or another.
I found Sober Mommies through a friend’s Facebook feed, and I was blown away by the stories I read. These people, who are much braver than I, shared their stories for the world to see. These stories struck such a chord with me. I admired everyone who told their stories… and for the first time, I wanted to be one of them.
The stories on Sober Mommies detail the lives of people from many different situations. But they all share one common theme—the journey of an individual who eventually comes around to deciding that she’s worth saving. I’ve never believed I was worth anything. And in retrospect, I can see that I was trying to overeat to the point that I’d go away permanently. Reading these success stories showed me that it was possible to come around, to gain some semblance of love for myself.
I’m not an alcoholic. I’m not a drug addict. But I easily could be. It just so happens that food is my vice.
My ultimate goal is to be able to look at food as just food, without any of the thoughts and feelings that accompany eating. I’m not there yet. But I’m closer than I’ve ever been.
This post was submitted by Bryan.