In recognizing my addiction to food, I recently joined a Food Addiction Group. Although all of our stories are different, I am finding very valuable info and support within the group.
I recently seen them post of a “Writing for Recovery Basics: Food Addiction” Course. ( http://optimisticfoodaddict.com/courses/)
I knew that writing in a journal has helped me thus far so I wondered what I would learn diving into writing about my relationship with food.
It took me quite a while to do the first lesson; I took the advice given though and took as long as I needed.
I highly recommend the Series. I found it quite enlightening. Something I much needed to further me along in my recovery of food addiction.
I thought I would share the writings of my first Lesson with you.
In the first lesson, I had to get some crayons and choose a color that reminded me of my childhood, write about how I felt about the color and what memories came from it. I also had to smell it…sound odd? Well read on, and see what I found out in doing it…..
I pondered as I looked into the crayon box. “Hmmm, shall it be blue or purple?”
In thinking of my childhood, I pulled out purple. Instantly I thought of my purple fuzzy socks just like Donnie Osmond’s. I smiled as I remembered the huge poster in my bedroom and the album with the song,” the Twelfth of Never”. Isn’t it funny what comes to mind with just a color.
I thought of my first and only pair of jeans; purple, with a peace sign patch. My striped bedspread my Mom had made me; purple. The more I thought of it, purple was quite prominent when I was 10-13 years old.
I then thought of the turmoil of that time in my life.
A time filled with pain and emotion, both of which I repressed for many years. That was a time when my Mom took us kids and separated us from my Dad and Grammie. In not being given any explanation as to the why, I knew; children hear and sense more than a person realizes, the only thing is , they take and warp their own reasonings into the situation.
After a short time, Mom & Dad did get back together. So much was going on, a very defining moment in my life that has caused a lot of pain & confusion which resulted in many behaviors & thought patterns that weren’t the best.
As I put the crayon up to my nose and took in a deep breath, I could smell the waxy strange smell. Yet it seemed familiar. Immediately I remembered coloring when I was a young child. I was around four, maybe five… coloring with my Grammie. This made me feel warm and happy. It is amazing how smelling a waxy crayon evokes such memories.
I tried to think of any moments during that same time in my life that I might have binged. I could not think of one. I remember the treats; Mom & Grammie baking quite a bit. Going to the stores with Grampie who would buy anything for me. I would scrounge for empty bottles too, to be able to go to the corner store for a bag of penny candy. Wait…I can remember eating apple after apple… My Mom said the family use to go through a 50 lb bag of apples in a week…perhaps there was a wee bit of binging when young?
Food definitely was a reward or punishment at our house. Growing up I was to eat everything on my plate or I would get no dessert. There were times my lips never touched the final course and the desire for that cake grew stronger…. feeling that restriction triggered me big time.
I feel my unhealthy eating habits began when I was young and progressed over the years. I remember name-calling and the slurs about me being “fat”…. I hated that word.
I felt very alone, sad, unworthy, shamed, unloved, and different. I was never good enough. I hated myself and kept people at a distance because if they got close enough, they might hate me too.
So as I sat with my crayon, I thought back as far as I could to a time where I would have binged. Surprisingly it was around the same time of my adventures in purple land, actually the latter part when I was 13.
I had taken over a paper route that my brother once had. He had made a fair amount of cash doing it, so naturally I thought I would try my hand at it.
I would go to the News office after school to pick up the papers. It made me feel good that I had a job to make some money, to have in my pocket. I finally didn’t have to beg for money from my Mom when I wanted to buy something.
Yet somehow, saving it was not my strong suit. A habit carried out for most of my life.
I had a habit of stopping off at a store on my way to deliver my papers. I would buy something; any kind of junk that caught my fancy. I sometimes would buy a huge bag of BBQ chips that would have three medium sized bags in it. I would neatly pack them in my news bag and open one of them.
As I walked and delivered my papers, I would indiscreetly put my hand into my bag, pull out a few chips, and stuff them into my mouth as fast as I could, so no one would see. I so remember that feeling of hiding, the shame, yet I continued over and over, I couldn’t stop. The ever pleasing, rather euphoric spicy salty flavor across my lips I can almost taste as I type this. By the time I finished my route of 48 papers and began my trek home, I was getting into my third bag.
There was always something in my bag, filling that empty hole inside me.
When I got home, I was alone. I would turn on the TV, and then go scan the cupboards and fridge for anything possible to eat. I would sometimes pull out the frying pan, heat up some oil, and fry off half a bag of French fries. Pile them high on a plate with lots of salt and ketchup and gobble them down as I watched the soaps. I was in heaven.
I didn’t eat slow though, I ate like a pelican, it’s a wonder I even tasted anything but oh how the smell of French fries today still sends off a feeling of euphoria. I’d watch the clock, get up, fry the rest of the bag and devour them too. I would clean up, hide any evidence, and wait for everyone to get home for supper, that I would have cooked and had waiting. I lived in fear, guilt and shame.
Funny, up until now, I had totally forgotten about how I ate. I knew I was an emotional eater but never really classed myself as a binger. I was in denial, hiding even from myself.
Amazing how this revelation has made a shift in my thinking. I have always blamed myself for everything. I wallowed in my hopelessness. I felt powerless.
Knowing that my emotional eating wasn’t considered an eating disorder, I always felt something was wrong with me, that there was no help for me; I was a defect, unworthy of help.
Those feelings always seemed to be in the background, ready to surface in my down times, which ended up sabotaging my attempts.
I now know, I DID have an eating disorder… I DO have an eating disorder.
I can take back my power and do something about it. That old thinking was wrong and keeps me in the victim cycle, which is detrimental to me.
I believe this shift will help me immensely in my recovery. I know I will still have my moments; those old neuro pathways need some re routing and fine-tuning.
One Day at a time….
I will no longer remain a victim.