Home Relapse & Recovery Out of My Closet

Out of My Closet

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I have been in the rooms of OA for five years. I have been relieved of 91 pounds (41 kg). I have been in and out of relapse and have heard many stories of fellows who suffered terribly in this disease. I did not understand the phrase “we use food to stuff emotions we do not want to feel” until today.

While doing my morning meditation, I found myself weeping. Why was I crying? Where were these waves of emotion coming from? I was celebrating two weeks of abstinence. My food cravings and obsessions had been relieved, I was sane and serene, and I was in communion with my Papa (my word for Higher Power), so what was wrong?

I have abused food since I was 3 years old. Sitting at the dinner table with my dad, I was ridiculed for the way I ate. When I refused to eat in front of him I heard, “You eat everything on that plate, or else you will go to bed with no dinner! Eat your food!”

Because of these mixed messages, my 3-year-old self grew reclusive and secretive. One night my mother found me eating out of the trash; I couldn’t reach the cupboards, and I was so hungry. She held me and gave me a baked treat and said, “Run and hide so your dad doesn’t see you eating this.”

I did. I hid in my closet, and I ate that treat to satiate the horrible feeling of not being good enough to love.

I literally hid in my closet until I was in my 30s. My emotional journey took me through self-abuse and five suicide attempts. A great deal of therapy helped.

Through those years food was my soulmate—it filled me up in ways no human being could. It kept the intensity of my emotions in check, but abusing food created an emotional anorexia because as long as I ate and kept myself full I could not feel. What I did not realize was this: Not feeling starves the soul! When my soul was starving, my body was numb. I was existing but not experiencing life and all it had to give. I could not know communion with my Higher Power when my soul was starving.

Today, as emotions overcame me, I had my aha moment: Clarity of thought is the gift of abstinence. I was weeping for the loss of my husband two years ago and, in the last six months, the loss of my brother-in-law and my sweet little dog, Winnie. As I wept for all these losses, I knew intuitively that my soul is once again breathing, thriving, growing, healing, and giving. As the numbness wears off, I am grateful for this program that helps me find my way beyond the food and frees the starving little girl from the closet.

— Trudy N., Ohio USA

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