Before he died, my father celebrated his 20th year in recovery for alcoholism. Before that he was a mean drunk but after he worked hard to be a better man. He reached out to children he had abused and abandoned, seeking a new relationship. He worked at being a better husband to the woman he loved so much. He wasn’t perfect and never really accepted responsibility for the damage he had done – he found a loop-hole in the making amends step – but he tried to be better, do better, going forward.
My daughter is a recovering addict from meth and heroin. She also completely turned her life around and is the daughter I thought I could only dream of having. She is active in AA and helps others with their addictions. She works her steps diligently and lives a life she loves.
I have Binge Eating Disorder (BED), another type of addiction. Food is my weakness. I have gastroparesis which the doctor says is from stretching my stomach out so many times from binging. I’ve had two surgeries and only have two-thirds of my stomach left and yet I eat like there’s nothing wrong. I’m trying to recover and turn my eating over to God, but I regularly struggle. I was in a BED recovery program that was helpful but not a cure-all.
I came across one insight in the program that put things in perspective for me: I need to make the decision to never binge-eat again no matter how much I want to. I must choose to use other behaviors to cope with life instead of turning to food. And then I realized, if my dad can give up alcohol and my daughter can give up drugs, I can give up binging. Like them, I need to turn to my higher power, but it is a decision I make not to give in to my addiction. Each addiction has its own challenges. I can’t just stop eating but making the decision to stop my destructive behavior is as important for me as it was to my dad and daughter. If they can conquer their addictions one day at a time, so can I. It’s not quick or easy but it is vital. If I don’t, my stomach will stop working altogether. I risk a feeding tube or worse. My ignoring my situation will not make it go away. My only option is to stop binge-eating. If those I love can do it, so can I.