Getting Honest about my Food Addiction

Here is a letter that I submitted, and was subsequently printed, in OA’s “Lifeline Magazine” in April of 2008.:

One principle that has made a difference in my life is honesty. Ever since I can remember, I have always loved sweets and sugars. I could never get enough of them. My mom used to hide them from me because she knew I couldn’t control myself to eat a “normal” portion. It never occurred to me that there was something wrong with my mom hiding food from me. It never occurred to me that the quantities I ate were a problem. I never thought that, when I was teen, buying sweets, eating them and burying the empty packaging in the trash so no-one would see them was a problem. I simply had a sweet tooth, right?

Throughout my entire adult life, when I went to any kind of social event, my goal for the evening was not to enjoy the event or my friends, but to enjoy the deserts over and over again. Each time, I would feel awful and disgusted with myself and told myself I had to stop doing it. I just had a sweet tooth, right?

It wasn’t until I was close to my 40th birthday that a thought occurred to me one night. I’d like to think it was my Higher Power who thought I was ready to face the truth about my sweet tooth and popped the concept of compulsive overeating into my head. I immediately got on my laptop and started doing some research. I quickly found myself at the OA website and the list of questions that ask “are you a compulsive overeater?” Wow. I answered most of the questions with a “yes.” The honesty was finally beginning.

I devoured the website and then began to compose a letter to my dear husband to tell him what I have discovered about myself. I was a woman possessed writing down all my food-related secrets. The truth came pouring out of me. Finally. I was completely honest with myself. It was such a catharsis. The reality of what had been going on in my life for over 30 years was now set in front of me. A few days later, after I digested this information within myself, I read the letter to my husband. I cried while I read it, I cried while he held me for a long time afterwards. I continued to cry as I revealed to him even more of my eating habits and secrets that I have never told to anyone.

Now that I had this knowledge, I had to do something about it. I found the OA meetings closest to my home and I started to look for a therapist. Within days, I went to my first OA meeting and had an appointment set up with a psychologist. I clearly remember sitting at my first OA meeting with my eyes filled with tears throughout the whole meeting. These people all had the same problem that I did. Amazing. One woman, J, who I never met before in my life, hugged me at the end of the meeting. Little did she know how much that meant to me. I went out to my car and cried some more. I cried the whole drive home. I cried more the following day for no particular reason.

I heard somewhere, maybe it was on Oprah, that when you cry a lot, it means that you really had something buried deep in yourself. I had no idea that so much emotion about my so called “sweet tooth” was inside of me. This honesty was very powerful and was the beginning of my recovery. Thank you Higher Power for helping me to realize that I had to get honest about my so called “sweet tooth.”

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