How I Found Freedom in Addictive Eaters Anonymous

How I Found Freedom in Addictive Eaters Anonymous

Addictive Eaters Anonymous (AEA)

Addictive Eaters Anonymous (AEA) is a worldwide Twelve Step fellowship based on Alcoholics Anonymous.  AEA members have found recovery from binge eating, anorexia, bulimia, other forms of addictive eating and compulsive exercise.  AEA is a design for living through which members find peace of mind and the ability to live a meaningful and productive life.

AEA is not a diet or weight-loss organization. AEA members follow a Twelve Step program, based on that of Alcoholics Anonymous. Through working the Steps, members find a Higher Power and freedom from the obsession with food. Members share their experience with newcomers of how they have found sobriety. Sobriety in AEA is freedom from addictive eating and all mind-altering substances.

AEA is not affiliated with any other organization. AEA meetings are open to anyone. There is no cost to attend. 

Anyone with a desire to stop addictive eating can become an AEA member. Everyone is welcome in AEA, including family or friends of anyone who suffers from anorexia, bulimia, obesity or other forms of addictive eating. AEA also welcomes healthcare professionals and members of other Twelve Step recovery fellowships.

AEA members, known as sponsors, are available to guide newcomers, or sponsees, through the Twelve Steps. An AEA member’s primary purpose is to stay sober and help other addictive eaters to achieve sobriety.

Wherever you are, whatever your problem with food, AEA can help. www.AEAunitedstates.org

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Serena’s Story  

I was obsessed with food, being thin and how people saw me until Addictive Eaters Anonymous offered me freedom, love and joy.

I got up early this morning because I was awake early. I ‘blame’ my farming genes. Some part of me is genetically driven to wake early because there may be cattle to milk!  My grandfather was a farmer who loved his life. I remember, as a child, us holding hands as he brought the cows into the dairy. My grandfather enjoyed a few drinks with his pals, my grandmother’s baking and an active life. He could do what I couldn’t do. He could control and enjoy his eating, drinking and exercise. He could live his life without being driven by self-centered fear. 

As far as food was concerned, I was not like other people.

I am an addictive eater who has found recovery in Addictive Eaters Anonymous. Before finding the solution to my problem I was driven by mental obsessions and cravings for food. I constantly thought about food, my weight and looking ‘cool’. I wanted everyone to like me and worried terribly if I thought someone didn’t like me. In school, I worried about my teacher’s reaction if I accidentally missed some of my homework. In college, I was meticulous about going to lectures, and at times, I’d use the excuse of having to study to get out of participating in other areas of life. I was afraid and didn’t know it. I thought because I was able to travel, go to concerts and work in a profession, that somehow I was ok, but I couldn’t do any of that without eating addictively. One was never enough and when I started eating I couldn’t stop myself. I was mainly a binge eater and never felt satisfied. Often, I’d find myself standing in the kitchen after having finished breakfast with my hand in the cereal box, eating handful after handful of cereal. 

Even being a doctor did not help me with my obsession with food or my fear-filled life, but the Twelve Steps did.

I had to do a lot of eating and trying to manage my life before I got to a point where I was beaten. My education and profession in healthcare had been no defense against me becoming an addictive eater. Likewise, being a physician didn’t provide the solution I needed for the disease of addiction. I found out that my recovery needed to be spiritual.  I needed a Power greater than me, God, as I understand God, to do for me what I can’t do for myself. This Power came to me through working with a sponsor and practicing the Twelve Steps of Addictive Eaters Anonymous. Today I am not driven by the obsessions to eat or to be thin. 

I have worked as a doctor in general practice in the same location for over a decade. This is surprising to me as I thought I would fill in for other people and not stay in one place. Lately, there has been a lot of change at work, including the setup of a new computer system. But instead of avoiding it or trying to escape, I’ve focused on the basics of the programme to help me through it. I talk with my sponsor up to four or five times a week and other members in the fellowship, I attend four or five meetings a week and I pray – “God, help me, help”. Another prayer I heard recently attributed to T.S. Eliot “God help me to care and not to care”. Actually, I have just checked this and he said “Teach us to care and not to care” but you get the drift and it works for me. 

Today I am free from obsession and fear and AEA has brought love and joy into my life.

Today, I have found a way to live that is different from my old life. I no longer have to hide what I’m eating, obsess about my weight or pretend that everything is ok if it isn’t. I am free of the obsession to eat and to be thin. Today, I can share about the situations or events that I’m worried about and previously would have sought to avoid. I get a chance to have a different attitude, to act well, and not let my fear get in the way of enjoying my life and the people in it. 

My grandfather loved my grandmother and wrote love letters to her when he was away. He never stopped loving her. In recovery, I have met and fallen in love with the man who has become my husband. I love and adore him. I know this love and the joy in my life would not have been possible were it not for Addictive Eaters Anonymous.

 

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