Food, Addiction & Me

Published by Lisa J Butler on

Food and eating have been a constant comfort to me throughout my life. It has been my friend, my punisher, my master and my emotional support whether I was happy or sad, having fun or depressed, in or out of love, bored, lonely, tired, stressed – you name it. Mostly I used food to stuff down my feelings. I was unable to cope with my emotions like ‘normal’ people do.

I haven’t yet uncovered the event that triggered my disease. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t. I do know that it was something that happened when I was quite young, because when I look back at my relationship with food, I have always eaten far more than I needed, and I have always turned to food for comfort. From the age of about four I have been overweight, and by the time I was a teenager, my weight and eating were out of control. This sad state of affairs was to continue into my adulthood and although I tried different diets, fads, and exercise regimes, nothing worked for long and if I did lose weight, I couldn’t sustain the diet or exercise for long, which would cause me to fall into depression, and I would end up overeating again. I’d put all the weight back on – and then some.

I used to think that everyone around me was insane. My parents were always separating and then getting back together (they did get divorced at one point and then got back together again). No one in my family maintained healthy or long relationships. I was bullied a lot at school and had few real friends. People never seemed to want the same things I did, and I couldn’t understand that. After all, I knew I was right and that my ideas were great, and they would be so much happier if only they would do as I suggested!!

I was artistic, egocentric, a perfectionist, and often full of big grandiose plans, and I always felt victimised because I’d work hard to achieve something important to me and it seemed that someone or something would always get in the way and destroy my dreams. My motto as a young adult was “Help me or get out of my way!” Such massive self-centeredness takes my breath away now, but back then it was the way I felt. My denial that any of my problems were my fault or caused by addiction, was complete and absolute.

As an adult, I functioned quite well on the outside, and to the outsider looking in, I always appeared very busy with work commitments or with family, gave the general impression that I was a professional business woman, and usually I was. But like any other addict, my life was mostly out of control and completely unmanageable. The people closest to me saw my pain and frustration, but didn’t know how to ‘fix’ me. To them, I was just a hopeless dreamer who would never get where I wanted to go. I was a victim again.

This is basically how my life was right up until November 2007 when I was guided by a friend to Overeaters Anonymous, a 12 Step program based on Alcoholics Anonymous. I had never even heard of OA so it was a revelation to me. And I was ready for a change. Soul ready. I knew that I had to do something about my messed up life and my weight problem, which had by then blown out at 135kgs (around 270lbs).

Although nothing had ever worked for me before, I decided to give OA a try. I got a sponsor and worked the 12 step program, which began my recovery from this devastating disease.

After about 3 years in OA I felt that there was something more I needed to understand about my weight issue. It seemed to me that the 12 Step program kept me focused on the disease and therefore inescapably entrenched in it. At OA meetings, the discussion was always about food, our eating disorder, this disease we had that we would always have. I watched as so many OA members in those meetings struggled and failed to stop overeating, bingeing, purging etc, and find abstinence and recovery. They lived in constant negativity and powerlessness. Some made it, some didn’t. The ones that make it seem to either be resigned and accepting of their state of powerlessness and happy to live their life feeling that way, or like me, they find a new path that leads to a positive self acceptance and sense of power and strength that flows from within, that part of us that is eternal, absolutely powerful, universal energy.

One of the things I’ve learned and experienced through studying and actively practising the Law of Attraction is that we get what we focus on. Whatever we put our mind to, whatever we talk about – whatever we place our energy into – that is what we will get.

These days I focus on wellness, not illness. I focus on positive aspects feelings and things rather than negative ones. I focus on what I want, not what I don’t want – and you’d be surprised how often our undisciplined thoughts, words and actions are focused on what we don’t want! There is a big difference between saying “I want to stop eating and lose weight” and “I am moving toward a healthy state of Being”.

I used to feel grateful for a lot of things. I don’t anymore. I feel a deep appreciation for my life and everything in it. For me, appreciation is a much higher, more powerful and freedom-centred emotion than gratitude.

Today, success as a human being, a mother, friend, artistic creator and business woman is a very real and sustainable part of my life, as daily I allow myself to be guided by that part of me that is eternal and God centred. Using the best of the 12 Step program and the Law of Attraction, along with several other methodologies I’ve learned along the way, I have not only built a life filled with unlimited potential, joy, serenity, forgiveness and love, I can share my experience and knowledge with my clients and help them too.

That truly is a blessing that I appreciate everyday.

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