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All Gone

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I’ve always been an angry person. When I was eight, I became enraged and pulled a soap dish out of the bathroom wall. In adolescence, I sought help from teachers, pastors, and a psychologist, but my fear of telling family secrets made it hard for anyone to help me. Something I’ve always loved to do is cook and eat. On Saturday afternoons I taught myself to bake. That’s another habit that started at age eight.

I was an active kid and young adult, running around the yard or climbing trees at every opportunity. I played sports in school and continued playing soccer through college and beyond, until I became pregnant with my first child. I gained 75 pounds (34 kg) with him and then lost the weight. I gained only 55 pounds (25 kg) with my twins. After they were born, I miscarried twice, and my serious mood struggles began. When I was depressed, I felt numb, ate constantly, and gained weight. Overnight, I would switch back to hyperactivity, lots of exercise, and dieting. My weight ranged from 175 pounds (79 kg) to well over 200 pounds (91 kg).

I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder 2. What a relief to know what was wrong with me! The medications caused weight gain, but I rationalized that I’d given up too much already. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted.

Every day I’d resolve not to overeat, but every evening I would eat anyway. I ate because I was angry, and I was angry because I ate. I prayed for help and even told the food to “shut up talking to me,” yet the illusion persisted that I would one day magically stop overeating. My weight ballooned up to 238 pounds (108 kg).

In September 2014, my Higher Power gave me the idea to try OA. I stopped overeating that day, and I’ve been abstinent ever since. I went to my first meeting a few weeks later and got a sponsor shortly after that. I’ve given up 50 pounds (23 kg). The physical recovery is a miracle, but the greater miracles are my emotional and spiritual recovery.

When I first stopped eating and got abstinent, my anger blossomed from a slow burn to a full conflagration. For the first three weeks, I was in a state of confused irritation all the time, but I hung in there. Then one day I was walking along, and suddenly I realized the rage was all gone. I was free. I couldn’t even remember why I had been angry.

It’s no coincidence that food rhymes with mood; the two are inextricably linked. Abstinence has given me the emotional stability that eluded me for my entire life.

— Kathy B., Nashville, Tennessee USA

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