Getting clean and sober from alcohol and mind altering substances was the first step, but I also needed to get sober with food.
Listen to the podcast version of this episode here.
I started my recovery journey about 9 years ago now, where I was introduced to the concept of abstaining from all alcohol and mind altering substances.
As of today I’m officially 6 years clean & sober (so you can tell I was a stubborn one!).
It was a beautiful experience. I was 23 years old the very first time I attempted to live sober, and very quickly my life started to fall into place.
I felt healthier, more energised, and ultimately I learned how to be present to life, without having the need to drink or use.
But getting sober from alcohol & drugs was not enough— for me.
Beneath my alcoholism and narcotic abuse background, was my primary addiction- food.
Sugar was my first love, the physical act of eating was my best friend, and feeling full made me feel safe.
Before getting clean and sober, I used alcohol and drugs to control my weight, body and appetite.
I’d save calories by skipping meals all day long, so I could do shots of whiskey and vodka chased by diet sodas with the hope that I’d then burn calories by dancing the night away and maybe even throwing up so that I’d lose even more weight.
Clearly my thinking was very sick.
Or I’d take substances that would keep me energised and awake for days without needing to eat.
I don’t know if I truly liked or wanted to use those substances, if they did not give me the hopes of weight loss.
Looking back, I think I just did not know how to live sober around food.
I was do desperate for control that I would do anything and everything- including drugs.
Well, what happened when I got sober was that I found myself face to face with the food.
There was no vice or control method I could use to moderate my food use.
And when I say food, it was mostly highly processed foods like cakes, cookies, breads, chips.
So basically the synthetic combination of sugar, flour and fat- a combination that exist no where in unprocessed real food.
You’ll never find that combination in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins.
It is a synthetic substance created by big food companies who have engineered these products for the role purpose of profit.
The better it taste, the more we buy, the more money they make- simple as that.
While my life never crashed and burned- I still had a job, I was travelling all around the world, I did gain quite a bit of weight from the binges, but I still looked great.
So you can say I was highly functioning on the outside, but I was dead on the inside.
I was obsessed with food, bingeing on cakes, chocolates, pastries (mostly gluten free vegan, but they’re ALL the same FYI!)
And I felt no better than when I was using drugs & alcohol.
I felt like I was living between highs and hangovers from sugar/flour.
And I needed to get clean and sober, with food.
Getting sober from alcohol and drugs wasn’t enough for me, I needed to be FULLY sober, which included around food.
Food sobriety can and will look different for everyone. It’s about finding what works best for you- I encourage you to work with someone who can guide you towards this awakening. It can feel very difficult and isolating to try to figure this out yourself. I encourage you to work with someone who understands addiction, yet is open minded enough to believe in bio-individuality.
Here are a few guidelines that have helped me achieve food sobriety:
For most people with a history of addiction, you will find that abstaining from sugar and flour will be the first and most crucial step towards true healing and freedom.
If you struggle with addiction, removing the substance though challenging at first, will ultimately bring you peace and freedom.
I also am a big fan of structured eating in recovery- again not everyone needs this.
However, as a recovering food restrictor, binger and volume addict, I have found that eating very specific portions of food help me stay accountable and live a binge free restriction free life.
There is no one size fits all, but there is a frame work that works.
If you need help achieving food sobriety, reach out to me here. I am happy to help you get there.
There is life on the other side of food.
And if you are now sober from other substances but still feel plagued by food, don’t worry- you are not broken.
You simply need a strategy to stay clean and sober with food, the same way you have with other substances.