Finding Greysheet

Now, my story… I’ll make it short, it feels a little worn these days – like a familiar kind of garment that kind of survives in your wardrobe even though you don’t like it.  An heirloom I can’t throw out.  But that’s a good thing – it’s part of who I am – and I’m just finding other people’s stories that much more fascinating than I do my own.

I’ve always been an overeater, but there was never any guilt attached to that.  My parents didn’t care what I ate, and I ate incredible amounts and extremely one-sided (for years, there was one particular frozen dinner – only one kind – that I would eat.  Nothing else.)  After my mother’s death I went to live with my aunt and cousins and we all dieted together occasionally, but I was never very good at it or motivated enough to really try.  I didn’t like being fat (and I was moderately so), but I liked food too much to do anything about it.  All my pocket money went to food until I started smoking at 14, then I had a real money problem. 😉

It wasn’t until after high school that my eating began to really escalate.  It began with a real wish to finally lose weight.  I went online and learned a lot of things, somehow ending up in the vegan / fat free corner of things.  Contributing to this was the BSE crisis in the UK at the time, the pictures of mistreated animals and mountains of dead cows being burned, I decided to go vegan.  I also cut out all fats.  Over the following two years, I ate like that – it suited me because I could still eat huge amounts of food, I just had to know which kinds to eat.  I ate constantly, all the time.  One summer I remember my boss asking me if I was turning orange, and I was – all the carrots I was eating!!  Kilos and kilos.

Well, over those two years the diet became more and more restrictive as I was trying to lose weight and it kept getting harder.  I began to restrict my starches.  (on a diet with no protein or fat, that leaves you with rabbit food.)  Then my calories.  I exercised at least two hours each day, every day, high-energy aerobics classes.  At the end I was eating about 600 calories a day, working out 2-3 hours a day – and, the irony of it, I weighed as much as I do now, I never got skinny.

It all ended on my birthday in Durham, my 22nd. I decided to have whatever my friends were taking me out to have, just for that one day.  Well… imagine… floodgates opened!  Suddenly I found myself having to catch up on years of deprivation, and I began bingeing like there was no tomorrow.  I gained 30 lbs. in about 3 months and everybody saw it.  I remember going to an aerobics class and not being able to lift the dumbbells I usually used because I was so exhausted from having just finished off a pint of ice cream – my body couldn’t cope.  And I could not, absolutely COULD not get back to my vegan regime!

The next few years I tried every diet under the sun.  I hated myself and I kept gaining weight, bingeing and dieting, round and round.  I rarely binged on really tasty food, rather on whatever diet I was on – for example, those low carb bars which are terrible (and they would give me diarrhea, too) – I would eat loads of those.  It wouldn’t taste good, but I was still bingeing.

I found GS in New York, on the Internet at first but as I was living in NYC I was able to get to live meetings.  I had never heard of OA before and have never been to an OA meeting, I went straight to GS – after reading the stories on the website I knew it was where I belonged.  I went to meetings, got a sponsor, got abstinent for about 18 days and then decided I wasn’t really so bad as these people, and went out.  I kept the Greysheet itself, as a kind of souvenir, glued in my day planner.  The next year I continued to diet and binge, diet and binge.

Finally, at that time living in MD, I was just coming up on two weeks on the South Beach Diet and I knew that the next binge was absolutely inevitable.  There was nothing, NOTHING I could do about it – it was coming.  I knew I couldn’t do this, or any other diet – the binge was coming.  Then I remembered the GS – that was almost exactly a year after I first found it.  I dug out my old planner, took the GS, went out to get a scale and got abstinent.  I no longer had anybody’s phone number but I remembered the Greynet and the website, so I went there, asked for a sponsor, got one, and got abstinent.

That’s my story of finding GS – it’s been a long road since those first days, and I haven’t been abstinent ever since (summer 2006 wasn’t abstinent) but I am here to stay and to grow, abstinently.  Thank God.

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2 responses to “Finding Greysheet

  1. i understand your struggle, gosh you had it hard and i’m so sorry you had to undergo so many obstacles.

    the thing i don’t understand is how could you have been vegan and to the point of anorexia but not lose any weight?

    “At the end I was eating about 600 calories a day, working out 2-3 hours a day – and, the irony of it, I weighed as much as I do now, I never got skinny.”

  2. I was as perplexed by this as you… I have no idea why my body never let go of the weight. I never binged during that time, and the quote above was my normal day routine. My body just wouldn’t cooperate, which seems to be the theme of my weight struggles…

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