I thought about my experience of hitting bottom. There’s the old saying, “Your bottom is where you stop digging the hole” – different for everyone. For me personally, I remember very well how I used to wish and pray for the ability to make myself sick, to get rid of what I had just eaten, and no matter how I tried I never could.
Today – as I live abstinently, sanely – I can only humbly thank God that I never succeeded. I suspect it would have cost me more years in the disease as I might have been able to avoid some of the weight gain… it would certainly have ruined my teeth… my oesophagus… who knows what else. Looking back I can barely believe how desperately I wanted to be bulimic! So I stopped digging before I got to that point, but I’m quite sure that eventually I may well have succeeded. And dug deeper.
Also, I never broke the 200-lb mark, not even close. The misery I had was bad enough for me; perhaps my threshold for pain is lower than that of others. I hated, loathed myself, couldn’t look in the mirror. I got out of breath too quickly. I sweated too much.
I remember one particularly humiliating episode, while living in New York. Once again I was on a diet and exercise regime, and so I went to run in Central Park. Much, much further than my fitness level allowed, I pushed myself hard. It was summer, and I was wearing long, loose training pants and a T-Shirt. My thighs rubbed together, but with the pain I was feeling all over and ignoring, I ignored the pain of that until it became fiery and very acute. So then there I was, in the middle of central park, and I felt like my inner thighs were on fire and bleeding – and I could hardly stop, bend over and check! So I had to keep going, at that point I was walking. Somehow, walking like the Michelin man or a sumo ringer, I slowly staggered back to the subway, and back home. It was a long, slow, painful, humiliating journey.
Once I got home I saw that the chafing had actually destroyed the seam, which had disintegrated and the ragged edges of fabric and stitching had produced something of a burn on the insides of my thighs. That didn’t heal completely for weeks! I don’t remember if I ate that day, but I’m sure I did (or soon after): after all, now that I couldn’t exercise for a while, what was the use anyway?
That was one of my bottom experiences. I didn’t get abstinent then. A bottom experience was never enough for me to get abstinent… I think I needed all of them, together, added up to defeat any notion of willpower or self-sufficiency I had. I had to be beaten, and I guess it took me fewer beatings than it did others – I’m a wimp really – and more beatings than still others who had the sense to recognise their patterns earlier. I hate thinking of all these humiliating episodes I went through and yet they took me to where I am now: abstinent, healthy, sane. For that I am grateful.