The first step on my own road to recovery was giving up purging. I had an ulcer, my teeth were rotting, and I was gaining weight anyway. But mostly, I couldn’t spend one more night, all night, hanging over the toilet,making myself throw up.
I’d been purging in some way since high school, when I discovered diuretics. In college, I turned to laxative abuse (which by the way is really, really disgusting on so many levels.) By my early 30s, I’d become laxative dependent.
On September 11, 2001, I lived in NYC. Fear and horror brought me to a place where I could not stop binging. In desperation, I taught myself to throw up and binged and purged every day.
In June of 2006, I put it all down. That’s when my mom died. While she’d been ill, I’d gotten sicker and sicker. Ever time I’d leave her house, I’d head to a bar and get stinkingly drunk and then run around to all-night stores, all-night – binge, throw up, repeat, binge, throw up, repeat. I almost never slept.
When I stopped purging, I didn’t know what to do with myself all night. My brother owned every episode of the great show, “The West Wing”, and I watched every single episode from beginning to end all night, every night. When I finished, I watched them again. (Great show, by the way. It’s the only show I’ve ever binged watched.)
And I had no idea how to eat. I’d been starving all day, then binging and purging all night, every day for the prior five years.
Yes, initially, I gained weight, but I’d decided to go to any lengths to stop the vicious, miserable cycle of my life. I let the it go. It didn’t matter. Get well was all that counted. (Eventually, I did lose that weight naturally. More on that later.)
A few times in early recovery, I did binge, but I rode it out and started over the next day, eating as normal meals as I knew how.
The last time I binged was October, 2006, after a wedding. I was feeling lonely and very very sorry for myself (if you’ve been reading the blog, you’ll recognize my beliefs about how extremely dangerous self-pity is for the addict.) I spent the night at TGI Fridays, eating hamburgers (note the plural), french fries and desserts.
When I woke up the next morning, I was done, and I haven’t eaten compulsively since.
What happened next in my next post.