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We know the peace of freedom from compulsive eating

My name is Wendy and I’m a compulsive overeater and bulimic.

At the time of writing this, I’ve been in OA for two years. I’ve lost three stone, I’m a healthy body weight, I love myself and I haven’t binged and purged for two years.

It has been nearly two years since I last ate my main trigger foods, which are sugar and cheese. I can’t touch those foods because there is no such thing as ‘enough’ for me. I don’t know when to stop or HOW to stop. I have an illness and that illness is called compulsive eating.

I’m going to tell you a little about the hell I’d been living almost all my life. My only joy and comfort was food. It was a constant for me. Other things like alcohol, music, infatuation etc. gave me a sense of euphoria. But for that warm, happy, comforted feeling – I turned to food. I’d had a pretty traumatic childhood, but in the grand scheme of things, I was fairly lucky. I had all the components of a happy life but I was desperately unhappy and I used food to make me better.

And, as with all things we use to make us feel better about the pain we’re not facing, it quickly turned from pleasure into addiction.

From a young age I stashed food under my bed, in drawers, in wardrobes, behind or between books so it was handy for when I had a moment alone and could just binge. I lived for those moments. Everything was an excuse to eat. I’ve had a bad day – eat. I’m ill and feel sorry for myself – eat. I’m in love and I’m happy – let’s eat. I’ve walked for miles and I’m tired, I deserve to eat. My weight grew until I discovered I was obese in my twenties. I couldn’t walk up four stairs without getting pains in my knees and feeling exhausted – I was 24! Then started the cycle of diets and fads and compulsive exercise.

I lost weight, gained more, lost more, gained more and so on until after a trip to South East Asia (where they don’t eat cheese and chocolate) I found myself at a healthy BMI. Of course when I got home, the weight piled on and I panicked. Hello bulimia – my new best friend.

Mentally I was on a constant cycle of self loathing and inner turmoil. Nothing gave me peace. Nothing gave me joy but losing weight and successfully purging. I was a mother and a wife and I hated my life, I feared for my beautiful child and I allowed my alcoholic husband to control my life and verbally and mentally abuse me because I felt I was lucky to have anyone when I was so obese and out of control.

Diets stopped working completely. I had chronic tonsillitis from vomiting every day. I had no social life. I was dead inside. I just wanted to eat and sleep and wait for death. And then I found OA.

By finding a sponsor, following the Steps and allowing myself to believe in a Higher Power (whatever that might be), I am today free of the compulsion to overeat or stick my fingers down my throat. I’m a healthy weight. I’m an active, involved mum and I completely adore my beautiful son. I have an amazing career. I am no longer married to a man who had no respect for me. I am a work in progress, yes – but progress is all I have.

If your only peace and joy is bingeing, purging, starving or damaging yourself with too much or too little food, OA is your home. We can help you. We’ve been there. There’s hardly an experience you can have had that one of us will not know. As a famous singer said, “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done.” We’ve all done it and we’ve all found the solution and we’re desperate to help you find it too – because we know the peace of freedom from compulsive eating.

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