(The story of an OVER- EATER)
“I have to tell you. I am not a double dipper. Although, as horrible as this may sound, when I lost my OA [Overeaters Anonymous] abstinence, I went down to the local discount liquor place and set out to become an alcoholic. I stupidly thought I could switch addictions. In my mind, being an alcoholic was somehow better. I never thought all alcoholics were thin nor had eating problems. Boy, was I ever wrong! I bought bottle after bottle trying to become what I wasn’t.
I was ashamed to go to OA, because everyone had put me on a pedestal for all the years I had been abstinent and was working the program. Worse yet, I began to believe what they were saying. So when I started to get shaky and slip into relapse, I could not, or would not turn to anyone for help. Another hindsight thought. For all those years in OA that I was abstinent, working and living the program, for the first time in my whole life, I started to think of myself as a success at something. No longer abstinent, once again I saw myself as a huge failure.When I decided to drink and go to AA meetings, it was my way of running away from this failure. At the time, I desperately needed to be accepted somewhere. The drinking was such a sham! All the AA meetings, the detox, the rehabs. I literally forced myself to drink so I could qualify to be there. To feel like I fit in somewhere. Neither did I like the effects of alcohol or the taste. In fact, I never even drank before this.Even though I put on a good performance of being an alcoholic…(well, at least good enough to get me into some in-patient treatment), I always knew the truth.
What an absolute lie I was living!
Since that time in my life, I’ve seen other OA’ers, suddenly drop out of OA and go to AA instead. They are doing the same thing I had done. They are running from the truth. They just won’t or are not able to give up the food and they need the ‘strokes’ that 12 step programs provide.
In my experience, it is only truth in this life that will truly make us free. So hard though. To try to be truthful especially when the truth hurts and is a lot of time just plain embarrassing. But, if we want to get well and have our lives back, we must tell the truth and let the chips fall where they may.
I was at an AA meeting several years ago. A rough and tough guy who had been in the program for at least as long as I had been and had been sober for years came up to me after a meeting and said: “You are so full of bullshit….you ain’t no alcoholic”! Well, to put it mildly, I went into hysterics in my car on the way home. How dare he!!!! At first I was so angry with him, but my anger turned to grief. Then to fear. I knew he was right. That I was not telling the truth but, now I knew others knew it.
“I cried all the way home because I knew I could never go to another AA meeting as an alcoholic. That I would have to face my relapse with food and go back to OA. Get real and truthful about what I had done and then pray that I have another recovery left in me. So, this is the point where I am at now.”
I have been to a lot of OA and AA meetings since 1976. I have seen so many double and triple dippers. Many of them were men who were drinkers and anorexic or bulimic. Some were too ashamed to say anything about the eating disorder, so they suffered with no help. But the few that got brave and talked about their conditions, seemed to get well and were able to help others that were ready to be helped.
I was lucky enough to start out in Philadelphia, then New Jersey, Syracuse, California, and finally landed here in Michigan. There are so many men, (especially in California and Philadelphia), that have eating as their primary addiction and alcoholism as a close second problem. Unlike stopping drinking for good, “A day at a time”, (a feat in and of itself) with Food you have to let that “Tiger” (compulsion) out of its cage three times a day and pet “It”. Then re-cage It. So, in that respect, it is a bit harder, (but not impossible), for someone to stop for ever.
It would be like saying you must drink three drinks a day but no more then that. For an addict, that would be impossible to do. But overeaters have to do that every day when they eat their meals. I think the effects of drinking on alcoholics or drug addicts come faster, are more violent, and affects more people faster then people who are addicted to food. But in the end, what ever the addiction is, the simple truth is that “It” wants to see Its victim dead. That’s why we all need so much help.
This is too big a problem for one person to handle. We truly do need a Higher Power, ourselves and other people in order to get and stay well. I also think you have hit the nail on the head, I think all these addictions have an allergy component to them, but they also have mental and spiritual sides to the problem. I sure hope your friend gets honest with himself and others and takes care of all his addictions. It’s the only way. By the way, an excellent book for him, or anyone to read is “From Chocolate to Heroin.” I wish I could be of more help. But like I said, I was never a double dipper. But maybe in just saying what’s true for me, someone can pick something out of that mess that will help him or her.”
East Lansing, Michigan
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Story as an ‘Over-Eater’, Recovery in Michigan
May 9, 2012 by Leave a Comment