My addiction, my recovery
This integral part of the book sets forth the circumstances of my life that qualify me to know, on an in-depth personal level, the disease of food addiction and what does and doesn’t work as a solution.
When I was seven, my personable and charming alcoholic mother, who was also depressed and addicted to prescription pills, attempted suicide for the first time. At age eight, I was misdiagnosed as having rheumatic fever and was confined to bed rest for three years. When I was finally released from this confinement, I felt overweight and ugly. At my request, the family doctor prescribed an amphetamine (Dexedrine) to control my appetite, and I loved the way they made me feel. This launched me into a twenty-year addiction to amphetamines with alcohol added at a subsequent time.
At the same time, my alcoholic/suicidal mother’s drinking progressed, and I describe the covert messages I received from her as to who I was and the rules I had to follow to survive the minefield, which was my home. My life proceeded to college (AU), moving to NYC, passing the CPA exam, working, moving to, and living in Spain (where amphetamines were easy to obtain), physical, emotional, and spiritual bankruptcy when the pills no longer worked to keep my appetite and weight at bay, I began using laxatives and enemas to unsuccessfully avoid the weight consequences of my bingeing.
Back in NYC with no more amphetamines I was unable to control my eating—usually bingeing at night. I was bingeing throughout the nights every night until I found a 12 Step food fellowship. That started my long, slow recovery journey which was relapse-prone (often back to night bingeing, once eating my way from a size 2 to a devastating unrecognizable size 16) until I learned the truth, I was a food addict and learning that sugar, flour, wheat, caffeine, & other refined carbs kept me prisoner to active food addiction. I describe the major triumphs along my journey including the opportunity to co-build/develop what are today the major outpatient addictions treatment centers in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
While working in Realization Center in those early days, loving it, I was led to the process of becoming a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC). I also was led to develop an education series, “The Key to True Recovery,” which explains why food addiction is the primary addiction with some addicts going beyond the food to alcohol and drugs, and that recovery from the primary addiction, the food, is the answer to continued sobriety, finding one’s authentic self and living in one’s potential. This recovery journey has allowed me to live in my potential, as a long-time recovering food addict with a healing of the issues that drove me to hide, isolate and live in shame and despair.
Today, I live as a confident person with self-esteem and hope for the future.