Promise to My Granny

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When I was young, my granny always told me it’s what’s on the inside that matters, but I couldn’t help but see myself as ugly, fat, and disgusting. In seventh grade, I weighed 145 pounds (66 kg), and I started restricting my food and exercising two hours every day. I lost 20 pounds (9 kg) in three weeks. People flattered me about my looks, so I tried to lose a bit more. After a few weeks, I was too tired to keep exercising, but now I was addicted. I started bingeing and purging, consuming 1,200 to 2,000 calories and throwing up afterward. Within two months, I weighed 95 pounds (43 kg). My mom noticed and took me to the doctor, who diagnosed me with bulimia.

In eighth grade, I was hospitalized. I learned new coping skills and how to meal plan, but when I returned to school, the attention I received for being at a healthy weight made my head spin. I resumed binging and purging, now ten or twelve times a day.

The summer before my junior year, I voluntarily went back into treatment. In the fall, my granny, who had been sick a long time, got worse. She begged me to stop my eating behavior, but I couldn’t. In December, I researched support groups online and found Overeaters Anonymous. I called in to a meeting and listened. I heard amazing stories— like I was meant to be there. I was abstinent for a few days afterward and then relapsed.

Every night I cried, praying to God for help. I started throwing up clots of blood and knew I was going to die, but I couldn’t stop. Then a miracle happened. On January 1, I made a promise: I would do anything to keep from relapsing.

At school, my best friend stuck with me constantly. When I ate, she was there; when I went to the bathroom, she was there. For the first month, someone signed off every time I ate, and I did not go to the bathroom for an hour after eating. I planned each meal and did not exercise. I reached my thirty-day abstinence milestone.

At my eight-month milestone, I lost my grandmother, and I didn’t relapse. I have reached nine months of abstinence and am holding strong. I have an OA sponsor. I do the Steps, work my program, make amends, and set goals. I live one day at a time to the best of my ability.

I have so much to look forward to now—my senior year, college, volunteering, and giving all I can. Most important, I am living today not in a bulimic’s body, but in a healthy body. I can look up and say, “Granny, I promise I will have children one day, and I will teach them everything you taught me.” I am so blessed; I want to help others who still suffer. I can live happily without bulimia and be free.

— Samantha