Reignfyre Recovery

A record of a womans recovery throught addiction. Primarily food addiction using the 12 steps of OA (Overeaters Anonymous). Also includes recovery from sex and love, drug and alcohol addiction.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

10:00 2 slices cheese & 2 oranges12:00 2 bowls salad w/salsa & 1 (2) bannana & 1c? milk milkshake3:00 5 slices cheese, 1/4 c pecans & 3 oranges
Well, that was the good part of the day! Then I got it in my head to binge. Went to the store...had the items on the counter & decided I didn't even want it....but bought it anyway. Well, there is some good news in this.
1) I didn't even eat 1/2 of what I bought2) I didn't eat until I was sick3) I was sick of sweet
Big trigger here was my period. I crave chocalate 1 day a month....guess what day was yesterday?
I also got up and weighed myself this morning. I am at 252 from 185 (that is how fast I gain weight. And no I am not crying about it. I have been afraid to weigh all this time but this morning I was ready for some face the facts. Weird. Anyway....this is what I recall eating last night...
1 slice of angel food cakea container of ice cream1/2 a container of marshmallow cream3/4 a container of chocalate syrupa few yogurt covered raisins6 or 7 chocalate mint candies1 container (serv) mac & cheesebowl of crackers
I think that was it. Starting over this morning. Yesterday would have been 2 years abstinent! Oh begins again if we are not dead!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I am a coe & fa, that is why I choose to medicate my feelings with food (as opposed to another substance or behavior). I believe I was born an addict, possibly even specifically a food addict, and definitely groomed to be a food addict by life's circumstances. But why am I an addict was not the question.
Why do I do this to myself? Why do I binge knowing eventually I will die from morbid obesity, heart attack, cancer, pancreatic attack, slitting my wrists? Because I don't want to feel. I want to be numb. I am scared of my feelings, the world, and most of all of being out of control of what will happen next. Large quantities of food numb me to pain & caring about what will happen next. And if those large quantities of food are sugary, I get some temporary pleasure thrown in for the ride.
Yes, large quantities of food numb my pain, but it also numbs *all* my feelings. I lose the ability to be human without my feelings. I lose me.
The BB says why I am an addict is unimportant, and I think that is correct. I do happen to know the why's, but it has never helped me manage the addiction. Why's gives me some great excuses to NOT recover, lots of fodder for therapy, lots of justification for my actions, and a lot of resentments too. But the why has never helped treat the addiction.
If I have an infection ravaging my body...well, knowing the why may help prevent me from getting the infection again, or it may not. But the treatment is known without the why....antibiotics. Hook me up doc!
The same with this disease. I know the why's and it has never helped. But the treatment is there, in the BB, 164 pages worth. You can condense it down into 12 steps, 12 traditions, & 12 concepts. Thank God my food addled brain doesn't even have to do that. I can just sit in meetings and absorb the message until I am straight enough to think again. Thank God for the slogans which make the message simple enough for my complicating & dissecting brain. Thank God for a sponsor who never gives up on me, though I give up on myself often. Thank God for a HP that is always there for me, though I often forget to ask for help. Thank God for miracles, which save my butt when I need it even though I shun the solution.
My name is Amy, and I am a hopeless, dying, and depressed food addict and compulsive overeater when I am using. Life is shitty when I am using, regardless of my true life circumstances.
My name is Amy, and I am a hopeful, recovering, feeling, learning, growing, compulsive overeater and food addict in recovery today. My life circumstances are unchanged, but today I am hopeful. The sun always shines a little brighter when I am in recovery.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I am doing step work & this is a major revelation for me. I just realized why my self-esteem is so badly hurt when someone treats me poorly. I think that when others treat me bad I deserve it! I assume that others treating me badly means that I must be bad. I have done something or they wouldn't treat me bad. The truth is 99% of the time when someone treats me bad it probably has nothing to do with me!!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I am grateful to be abstinent!
I am grateful to have a sponsor.
I am grateful to have program friends where I live & in other countries.
I am grateful for the wisdom of the BB.
I am grateful to have a relationship w/my HP which has many faces.
I am grateful to have "permision" from program to choose a HP that works for me.
I am grateful for my sponsees who keep me "plugged in" to the program.
I am grateful for service that forces me to be program involved, even when I don't want too.
I am grateful for a job that is not overly stressful.
I am grateful I have a relative that allows me to drive their vehicle.
I am grateful for a beautiful day.
I am grateful my body still works....and works well despite how badly I treated it.
I am grateful that today, I love myself.
I am grateful for TRG....which was here when I had no f2f meetings.
I love my loops! Very grateful.
I am really grateful for the 12 steps which have changed my life.
I am grateful for laughter.
I am grateful to go for a walk on my lunch instead of binging on 2-3 meals while driving deadly.
I love my life today!

I had a whacked out dreams last night & it was really meaningful.
The last one (I had just as I woke up) involved my father. He has always been a trigger person for me & in general a negative force in my life. We have really worked at developing a relationship the past 10 years however and I was devastated when he told me he is moving across the country with his wife. He is however, very, very controlling. So I have been staying away from him not because I don't love him, but because I no longer want to be controlled by anyone but my HP.
Last night I dreamt I went to visit him before he left for Vegas. He wanted/demaded I get in the truck & that I drive. I did as he said but then he said put the truck in reverse & drive as fast as you can. I said, "No way!! Why would I drive backwards." In the weird way dreams can magically make things happen he made the vehicle drive like 60 mph....but I had to steer while the truck went backwards. I was screaming desperately!! "Stop, stop, Oh my God!!!!!!!!!" I was terrified!!! I knew I was going to die!
As I woke up I realized that this move of my fathers is one of those blessings in disguise. He always wants me to live my own long as I make the choices HE wants me to make. He is always wanting me to steer my life, but only where, when, & how he tells me. I think this is one of HP's ways of making sure I "grow up". Removing one of my very controlling parents from me. I wonder what will happen with the other one! :D

wrote to someone in paticular but wanted to share my ESH with myloopies.I too have struggled all my life with food and was inprogram31/2 years with no abstinence....though I thought I was doingwhat Ineeded to (sponsor, step work, service, etc). The truth isthat in orderto recover the first thing *I* needed to do was putdown the food. I wasnot capable of the honesty neccessary to workthe steps while I was usingmy drug. Using my drug automaticallymakes me a liar, a sneak, a fraud.Abstinence is a gift....but it isa gift I give myself! My HP is alwaysgiving me everything, but Ido not always choose to recieve. What I hadto struggle with is thatsometimes a gift doesn't seem like something youwant. I rememberbeing fired from a job I was very good at. They said Iwas the bestat my job when I was there....but I was not there enough. Iwas notthere enough because I was struggling with this disease &depression (now I see the depression was caused by the foods I waseating). At the time being fired didn't seem like a gift. I hatedeveryone involved with this, including my conception of God at thetime. I thought I was drowning, dying. People were trying to didnot seem like a gift. Looking back it was a gift!!!! Itwas the strawthat broke the camels back for me. It was one of themany things thatled to a suicide attempt. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, doesn'tlook like a gift yet,does it? But that led to me going to anintensive outpatient therapyprogram which helped me process a lot ofdeep & intense pain. It wasthe beginning of what was to be along road back to recovery & OA. Without the "gift" ofbeing fired....I would have stayed in aneverlasting sea of misery.That was a long illustration to show whatabstinence was like for meat first. It was NOT easy. It didn't seemlike a seemedlike pain. Detox sucked! It wasn't fun to NOTturn to food when Iwas bored, uncomfortable, lonely, or in pain. Food& eating WASmy major source of entertainment. It was the carrot thatgot me upto go to work in the was everything. Food was myGod. Followed closely by television and sexually acting out. I made achoice to not eat my binge & trigger foods. I had made a decisiontonot eat this or that a thousand times but then would turn around& eatit. This was my first stab at integrity. It was hard. Iliterally hadto sit on my hands once to keep me from eating(something I heard in ameeting once). I had to distract myselfconstantly. But after a coupleof months it got easier, a loteasier. One of my distractions was goingto online meetings. I wasgoing to 3 & 4 a day. That is what Ineeded to make it throughdetox. Any lengths is what I agreed to, and I amproof that it can bedone. It does mean living through the pain ofdenying yourselfpleasure (though that pleasure is fleeting, and causes aninfiniteamount of pain later). The good news is that once you clean outyourbody of the toxic/allergic substances the physical cravings go away. The step work will help you change your reactions to life. The toolshelpdeal with the mental obsession until the step work promises meetyou. Thephysical abstinence takes care of the phyicaldesires/cravings for food. I do not eat ANY sugar except fruit. Even that I eat it with fat &protein to help modify how itaffects my blood sugar. I have eveneliminated certain fruits frommy diet because they don't make me feelgood when I eat them. Theymake me crave more, and I am spoiled now. Idon't like physical ormental cravings. I would rather do without makes lifeso much easier. I do have the promises however so ifI accidentlyingest something with sugar in it I find that I do recoilfrom it asif it were a hot flame. So I have more freedom now that I didwhen Iwas first abstinent. I really didn't eat out at first. Now I findthat I can...though I am careful. If I try something that has sugar initthat I didn't expect or was told didn't....and it affects me, Istopeating it. I had something recently out that I am sure musthave had somesugar in it...though I didn't taste it. It didn'tbother me at allthough. It reminded me of the time I was with mysober alcoholic lover. We were eating something & I discoveredafter we were done there wasalcohol in it. He was unconcerned and Ididn't understand (sure he wouldbe drunk any second now &wouldn't stop drinking) but he explained tome that "he hadceased fighting anything or anyone--evenalcohol.....he reacted"sanely and normally" and this happenednaturally. I didn'tget it at the time, but now I do. After awhile ofworking theprogram you begin to react normally to food, so accidentlyingestingone of my trigger/binge foods doesn't kill me. However that isahuge leap from deliberately ingesting these foods....which is a smackinthe face of my HP. It means I am doing MY will & not my HP'sWill. Ihave eaten foods in a restaurant I thought would be OK butas soon as Itaste it I recoil from it. It is good to know my HPprotects me by givingme back my body's senses. In the past I soabused food that I lost"normal" reactions to food. Icould eat insane amounts of food,and not be full. I could ingest somuch sugar I am shocked I didn't dieof shock. I lost my taste budsability to taste food normally. I havebeen abstinent 1 year & 4months and my taste buds reset back tonormality. My ability tosense hunger & fullness is returning. Myreactions to food arenormalizing. I started out abstaining from sugar(all forms butfruit) & wheat, desserts & my personal binge &triggerfoods (which pretty much encompased anything w/sugar &wheat!) But I had some biggie foods that needed to be listed seperatelybecause foods that mimick them without these substances are too muchforme. It seemed like giving them up was like giving up my bestfriend. Nowit is a blessing. I am free!!!!!!!!!!! I don't WANT topick up thosefoods. To me they signify being imprisoned & inpain. Being free ofthem, out from under their grip, is a gift. Laterin my abstinence Irealized that flour was an issue for me. I waseating a paticularnon-wheat flour everyday...craving it. I decidedto experiment & giveup flour for a few days and see how I felt. I felt even freer. I haven'thad any since. To me flour is aprocessed substance that makes my drugeasier to deliver. Although Ido eat oatmeal that I occasionaly grinddown....just not to the samedegree as processed flours. I do eat brownrice and cereals andother whole grains. Just not wheat & flours& pastas. Idon't even miss them. I do not fear eating out anymore. I stayedaway from eating out when I first got abstinent. Gradually Iwouldtry it. Based on how well I did would usually determine how long itwas before I tried it again. Now it isn't even an issue except thatIlike & prefer eating at home the food I cook. But if I have toeatout (traveling for instance) I do & I don't worry. I alwaysbringabstinent food just in case....but often I find something onthe menu. Astime goes by I trust myself more & more because Itrust my HP more& more. I went to an amusement park lastweekend. I hit a low pointwith my blood sugar and was ready to gohome (after only 3 hours). Myniece was terribly dissapointed. Iknew I needed hot food. I had myabstinent dressing on me so a saladwas fine but I needed something hot(it was really cold!) So I stoodin line thinking at a Italian placethinking "there is nothing Ican eat here hot" and HP put thisvery bossy, loud woman next tome. Here was a gift in disguise. As sheimpaled me with her loud,bossy attitude (and me getting more irritable bythe second as myblood sugar dropped) it came out that she used to managethisparticular restaurant. She was a head honcho in the park yearsearlier & though she was retired she was a wealth of info. Turnsouther husband had a severe allergy & she was used to navigatingtherestaurants. She KNEW what I could & couldn't trust here. Shefigured out the eggplant & sauce (I would never dare try onmy own)should be fine. No wheat or flour in it at all. I wasworried therewould be too much cheese on it & sugar in thesauce. But the cheesewas clumpy on top & easy to remove &the sauce wasn't sweet &didn't trigger me at all. It gave mejust what I needed and I ended upclosing the park with my niece& we had a ball!! The next day wasbusiness as usual with myabstinence. I really feel that my HP put thiswoman there to helpme. (She also got us front row seats to a SRO showwhile we ate aswell as a "special" discount!) Then she left ourlives! Itrusted myself enough at this point in my abstinence to put downthefood if it triggered me & to survive the cravings. Everythingjust worked out. I have also been in a situation where I have eatenafood that SHOULD have been purely abstinent but one bite revealeditWASN'T a safe food for me. I put it down & lived through thecravingsfor a few hours and lived to be abstinent another day. Thisis how itworked for me. I really stay away from all processed foods& foodswith chemicals (long ingrediant lists) and try to eatfoods my HP put onthe planet in their natural forms (whole grains,vegetables, fruits, nuts(raw & HP made them)& seeds. Natural, natural,natural. If I eat a natural foodthat triggers me....I put it down. Recently I had to put downcashews & bannanas as they caused cravingsin me. I tried toreintroduce cashews....but they caused Iput it backdown. But I only tried to do this after I was really securein myabstinence. I tried to stay away from anything remotely"iffy" in the beginning. MY food plan has changedduring myabstinence because your body has normalized and I also Ibecome less &less willing to "suffer" cravings. Idon't know what my foodplan will be next month, next year, nextdecade. Only my HP knows. But Iknow what I can safely eat todayand not have physical and mentalcravings. I KNOW there are certainfoods I cannot eat safely, EVER. These include ice cream, macaroni& cheese, cake & pastries, bread, etc. I have so abusedthese foods....I have eaten enough forseveral people for severallifetimes. I have given up the right to safelyeat these foods. Iam fine with that, I no longer miss them. They do notsignal joy orhappiness anymore...just pain & suffering. I have livedwithoutthem long enough to get sane. My sane brain tells me they arepoisonfor me & choosing to eat them will never be the right choice. But I make this decision daily...just like an alcoholic. AlcoholicsKNOWalcohol will never be OK for them to drink again....but thedecision tonot drink alcohol is made daily, everyday they are alive.That is metoo....I am an addict. Honesty tells me I cannot eatthese foods again. But I can only make choices NOW. So for this dayI choose to maintainthis beautiful gift of abstinence, which I givemyself. Thanks to my stepwork given to me by my wonderful sponsor,I have a connection to infiniteHP & I have integrity to livethis daily promise. Amy M. COE/FA/addicted tovolume Age: 40 Height: 5'11" 1/4" Top Weight:Appox 430-450lbs Starting OA weight: 333lbs Current weight 180lbs Date of Abstinence 6/17/06 Food plan: No sugar, wheat,flour, binge or trigger foods, desserts Why I got abstinent:"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was morepainful than the risk it took to blossom." Anais Nin

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

This is something another coe wrote on a loop. It was so beautiful I didn't want to forget it.

"I now understand that I am no more (or less) a precious and intentional expression of HP's Creation than a brilliant star in the Universe, a vast ocean, a glorious tree, or a tiny, smooth grain of sand. "

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Food memories.....
Wheat thins were one of my favorite binge foods. I used to eat them with strawberry cream cheese. I remember the first day I tried this combination. It was on the way back from a trip to visit my aunt in Pennsylvania. My parents wanted a quiet car ride home & they knew personalized snacks always shut us children up. I got my very own box of wheat thins that day, and my own package of strawberry cream cheese. I had never eaten cream cheese before and never had any other kind since. I remember the orgasmic feeling of gripping my own box & feeling the sweet chemical taste of slippery strawberry cream on top of salty sugar crackers. I never forgot that feeling and tried to duplicate it hundreds of times since.

Pizza was a favorite binge food of mine. I used to order 2 large pizzas from Papa John’s with several butter sauces & extra cheese. I would devour one immediately and save the second for later when my food hangover set in & I needed a fix.

My favorite all time binge food was ice cream. Especially strawberry milkshakes from McDonalds. Before I got abstinent last year I was up to 4 a day. It would have been more if they served them before lunch. I used to hit 2 – 3 different McDonalds on the way home from work everyday. If I didn’t hit McDonalds it was only because Klondike’s were on sale 2 for $5. That would get me through 24 hours.

I actually had a form of abstinence before I came back to OA. It was broken by soy ice cream. I knew ice cream was a problem for me so I had abstained for 6 months. But I was still ingesting sugar in the form of flour so the cravings never abated. One day, standing in front of the freezer at Ukrops’s I thought….soy ice cream is healthy. It’s a health food…no problem there! I ended up hitting Ukrops daily for months to get 4 pints of tofutti. I just couldn’t get enough. Shortly after trying the toffuti I was eating non-stop again….and gained back ½ the weight it had taken me a year and a ½ to lose. It took 3 months to gain it back.

Pastries are another big trigger for me. Sugar/flour/wheat….the holy trinity. The only thing better than pastries, pastries with ice cream in them. Toward the end of my binging I was eating an entire ice cream cake a day. Pop tarts were my inexpensive pastry of choice. If it was pay day it was the fancy pastry case at the local grocery store that held my attention.

Cheese, hard cheese, is a huge trigger for me…as is wheat. Anything that combined these two was deadly for me. Macaroni & cheese was #3 on my all time binge foods list with spaghetti a close third.
Cool whip was a favorite binge food of mine….that specific brand. I used to buy 2 at a time. One to eat as a dessert with chocolate pudding or strawberries….and one to eat by itself frozen….like ice cream. I got into the habit of eating frozen cool whip because mom used to keep it in the freezer for holiday baking….thawing it out for use. She used to use it…then freeze it. The young coe in me used to sneak into the freezer & take spoonfuls…thinking it would go unnoticed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Found some old writings today....written after I had been released from the hospital. I almost died from compulsive overeating. Yo-yo dieting, binging, vomiting, bad food....led to gallbladder disease. That led to pancreatitis and liver problems. It was hell. Here are some excerpts...I had forgotten how bad it was.

It was orange, bright orange, and stained the toilet. But that was not the worst part. It was the stench. The fluid that kept me alive was a sticky, sweet syrup that permeated every pore of my body. I smelled like yeasty blood. But the urine, God! The odor lifted itself to my nostrils before I could move my weak body out of the way. If I had anything resembling food in my stomach I surely would have vomited. But it had been weeks since I had anything to drink let alone eat. Doctors orders, I must starve like those Ethopians mother always told me about. In the land of plenty I was too have none. As I slid my robot companion (I lovingly dubbed him R2D2) past the bathroom door I glimpsed trays upon trays stacked against the far wall. FOOD TRAYS!!!!! Vegetarian that I was, I would kill for some jell-o. Flavored ground bones mixed with water, sloppy cold on a pale gray tray. How wonderful it would be! To roll the coldness against my tongue and teeth. To feel something, anything in my mouth other than the protruding thermometer that sabered itself against the delicate underside of my tongue. Perhaps there could be a dollop of cool whip? Sugared milk whipped to perfection. Creamy white snow atop a glistening green gelatin mountain. Who was to stop me? The nurses busied themselves cackling over some poor wards misery no doubt. They paid no attention to the desperate, dying girl, who would literally die for some jell-o.

I woke up.....alone. i heard the machines working. Beep..............beep.....................beep. Would it never end? Pshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...............pshhhhhhhhhhh.....shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

It was 2 AM and the clatter ceased to abate outside of my room. The nurses station never slept and the noise grated against my nerves that so needed rest and sleep. The fat nurse with the big painted lips (the only one who could find a vein for my IV now) had said they needed me to be close to the nurses station. I liked her. She told me funny stories and tried to make me laugh as she trolled my arms for sinkholes. I couldn't laugh, but appreciated the effort and intention. I would need her soon. My arm was throbbing with pain. The fluids that kept me alive were hard on my veins. I felt no pain other than the agony in my arm. It was screaming....always screaming. But I had to weigh the consequences of the pain I was feeling now, against the pain of another fishing expedition. My right arm was used up. So was the left now. The thought of walking to the bathroom with those cords hanging between my legs inspired me to keep my finger of the nurse call button. Instead I would sing with the pain, and ride it's waves. Over and over and over, until the morning comes.

Damn them. The TV wasn't working. Didn't they realize there was nothing to do? This was my only salvation until my family got off work to keep me company and take my mind off the agony. Damn them. No cable, no color, a screen 2x2. And that was not torture enough? Damn them all. I would not make it easy for them today. I would fight them with passivity. I would make them give me a sponge bath. I will forget I am here. Beep........beep.........beep.

"You may take two umbrella steps."

"Mother, may I?"

"Yes, you may."

As gracefully as I could I moved my left arm in a swan-like arch towards the sky letting my left hand gently come to rest on the top of my head like a brownie beanie. I moved my right arm away from me until it hovered above the floor as if suspended by invisible strings. I was my mothers play puppet; my every move dictated by her whim. I smiled dutifully, and took one step forward, swinging my body round in a dainty circle twice fulfilling my mother command.

"Andy, you may take three toad hops."

His hair was rough & unruly and ran about his heat like a rambunctious two year old. His eyes were nearly invisible as he beamed his response back to mother."

"Mother may I!?"

"Yes, you may."

Andrew squatted with his arms between his legs and leapt forward thrice with all the might his chubby little body could muster....

I was awake now. The painful organ no longer troubled me while I slept under a haze of morphine. I felt....nothing. Somehow, this seemed more dangerous than the pain.

Mother stood above me. She was smiling but she could not hide her anxiety from me. Damn her! Don't hide it. Be worried. Be AFRAID! I need to feel. Someone needs to feel. Fear, fear keeps him away.