#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 6°C Monday 17 January 2022

Opinion: 'Food was a drug for me'

I thought if I could just eat and be thin I’d be OK, writes a member of Addictive Eaters Anonymous.

Image: Shutterstock/Yeexin Richelle

IT IS SUNDAY evening as I write this and I am reminded by another person that I haven’t had to eat addictively today.

I haven’t had to weigh myself or go out trying to lose weight. I didn’t have to scrutinise my food for the calorie content. I didn’t have to make promises to myself that I’ll never binge again, start the diet tomorrow or “cop myself on and eat like other people”.

This is because I have found a solution for me to the disease of addictive eating in Addictive Eaters Anonymous (AEA).

Sundays weren’t always like today. When I was obsessed with food and weight, my days looked different. I would start with good intentions but as the day went on I was unable to live up to them.

Breakfast would involve going back into the kitchen for handfuls of more cereal. I ate directly from the box.

One meal would merge into another. I might have plans for the day but often found myself staying for hours in the kitchen eating a variety of sweet and savoury foods.

I went to great lengths to make sure no one realised that I was still eating. I had a double life – eating in the car or in my bedroom had become normal for me. I was ashamed of how I ate and the weight I’d put on.

I tried desperately to control my eating by calorie watching. My weight went up and down (mainly up) depending on what control methods I was trying.

While I could study, get employed, pay the rent and travel I see now that I couldn’t do this without eating. Food was a drug for me. I thought if I could just eat and be thin I’d be OK. I’m not sure I knew what OK was but I believe now I was looking to feel at ease.

I didn’t know then that I was full of fear, found it hard to feel part of a group or communicate. I just felt hungry all the time. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get a handle on this problem I had with food despite my education about health.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

Over the years, the disease of addiction never went away – sometimes I thought I was OK but looking back now I see that I never lost the obsession. Things that hadn’t been hard at one time were now difficult to do – like going to post a letter, showering and having a gap between meals.

Losing my dignity

I got to a place where I realised that I was beaten, that I was not in a rut – I was in a hole that was going further down. I believed that if I lived to be 70, I’d still have this problem, only I’d be worse. I began to feel like I was losing my dignity.

One day I saw a flier in the local library that said, ‘Is food a problem for you?’. Eventually, I wrote the contact number down and after more eating rang that number. An AEA member spoke with me and she shared a little of her story.

I knew she got what it was like to be me. I met another member who shared her story with me.

I couldn’t believe that there were other people I could identify with. I started going to meetings and working the 12 steps of AEA with a sponsor.

Today I have a new relationship with my Higher Power (God). I also depend on my sponsor and the other members, prayer, meetings and service. I get to enjoy the gift of life and the people in it. 

I’m still taking it one day at a time.

AEA is hosting a Public Meeting in Pearse Street Library, Dublin 2 on 16 February 2019 at 10.30am – 2.30pm. Sobriety involves sticking to a sensible healthy meal plan provided by a sponsor. AEA also have a regular Monday evening meeting in Teach Mhuire, 37 Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin 1 at 7.30pm. 

About the author:


Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel