My name is Cathryn C., and I am a compulsive overeater and this is my story of recovery.
To sum up my story: I ate compulsively for 46 years. My insanity can be described in this way: I was in denial that I had a problem with food; I tried to control how much and the type of food I ate; and I ate compulsively, moving from grazing to bingeing on a daily basis.
When I met people who said they had given up certain foods that were my binge foods, I said “I’d rather die than give that up” – and I meant it.
In the food, I lived in isolation and despair – never mind the extra weight I carried. I hated myself and didn’t want to live. My world was as big as the radius of food stores I went to in a futile search for the food or combination of foods that would make me feel ok. In the end, nothing worked.
The final convincer was seeing the needle of the scale jump up by ten, twenty pounds, and honestly not knowing how this related to my eating. I had been bouncing in and out of Overeaters Anonymous for several years, attracted by what the program offered but unwilling to commit. Fear drove me to come back in the fall of 2012. By the grace of HP I have been here ever since.
What I found in my first meeting, what I continue to find, and what brings me back, is HOPE. When I connect to others in the fellowship, I realize that I’m not alone. There are others who have felt the way I felt and done the things I’ve done, faced the same challenges or bigger ones, and have come through abstinently.
Over the years I found it difficult to grasp the spirituality of the program, but I acted “as if” and kept plugging away. It wasn’t until last year that I started to develop a relationship with an HP, which has made a stark difference. I continue to seek and discover new resources in and out of program that sustain and nourish my recovery. As I find the things that have personal meaning and work for me, I feel encouraged. As a by-product of working this program, I was led to another 12 step fellowship that has also helped my recovery. And another blessing is that I’m rediscovering my creative side, the things that nourish my soul, such as art. My world has expanded, and with that I’ve faced more challenging situations, but by the grace of HP and with the support of my fellows, as well as outside help, I have remained in program and, for the most part, been abstinent.
My journey in OA has been a long one, and I hope will continue. I work the tools and steps to the best of my ability, and though I have had breaks, I have always come back. That, for me, is the key: to keep coming back. And that has become my motto: to show up, do my best, and don’t give up. Before OA I could not do that. Now I am living life in recovery, facing my fears, and coping with the ups and downs of daily life. And when I forget how far I’ve come, I have my fellows to help me remember the progress I have made, which fills me with gratitude for the wonderful blessings of this program.