My name is Susanne and I’m a compulsive overeater. Today I get to be abstinent as I weigh my 3 meals off the CGS, write them down, commit them to my sponsor, and eat those meals with nothing in between but approved drinks, no matter what. Because I have made this my #1 priority for the past 90 days, and continue to do so today, I have been given a wonderful and contented relationship with my food.
This time around was my third Day 1. The first was when I lived in NYC and managed to get abstinent for all of 18 days before I decided that I wasn’t all that bad. What followed was a long stretch in food hell. One year later, living in Maryland, I was finally ready to surrender. I had tried more diets. I had binged my brains out. I weighed 180 lbs. I found the Greysheet I had, thank God, kept as a sort of “souvenir” and got abstinent. I had no phone numbers or contacts, and there was nobody in my area, but I remembered the website and the Greynet. I got on there, asked for a sponsor, grabbed the first person who replied, and was abstinent.
Miracle of miracles – I was given such freedom! For nine months, I was abstinent in MD as an outpost, staying in contact via the Greynet, phone calls, phone bridge meetings, my sponsor, and by sponsoring others. I even went to Chicago (a most outstanding event!). Life was throwing me all kinds of curve balls but I was able to deal with it because my food was in order. My weight had gone down to perhaps 135 lbs. – near goal.
Then I moved to England. Not by choice but because I couldn’t remain in the USA (which is a country I passionately love) as my job had ended and I was unable to find another one that would sponsor me a work visa, which costs a company about $4,000 in legal fees. Again, however, God provided me with wonderful people around me, my church, and today I am happy here.
Back then, January 2005, my sponsor who I had from the beginning, was unable to take my call at a different time and our regular time slot was impossible for me to make. So, with her blessing, I looked for a new sponsor within the UK. With the loss of my previous sponsor, my contentment in abstinence ended. Different sponsors have different ways of doing things, and while I learned very valuable things from each of the people I asked, I had trouble finding somebody who I clicked with and who had what I wanted. Eventually I found a wonderful sponsor in the USA who I called daily, and who was there for me. There are millions of reasons but no excuses for my relapse – if anything, I was being more involved in AA and Greysheet, going to a meeting weekly when before there wasn’t one – but I was drifting. Holding on, but drifting. Eventually, I drifted away.
What follows was a summer of more diets, and while I only gained 7 lbs. in those four or five months, my head descended into the obsession that had so miraculously been lifted. My disease is such that I my life itself won’t fall apart immediately if I’m not abstinent. I am highly functional. But food drowns out everything, my head becomes my enemy, I have no peace. Through the summer, I never had sugars, grains and starches (I know better than that) and yet I was out of control. The disease came back creepingly, gradually.
In October, I found myself face down after bingeing two evenings in a row. I had tried to hard to keep my eyes closed and explain them away. They didn’t go away, they were getting worse, and sugars/grains/starches began to call out to me. Defenses were crumbling. I had binged on sugar free sweets and suffered the intestinal consequences. Nothing helped. Then I finally surrendered – I made a call.
So I have been abstinent again since then. It was tough, facing all the people who hadn’t seen me weigh over the summer, but this time I didn’t discuss whether I should do it or not – I simply did. I contacted my first sponsor, and though she didn’t have any spaces, she did refer me to a sponsee’s sponsee of hers, with who I have a very good connection now. I am abstinent now, and while I can only speak for today, I believe that I have finally taken Step 1 fully. There are no illusions, no compromises – I am abstinent today, no matter what. Thank you for walking this road with me.