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What brought you to CEA-HOW?  
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Mary D writes,  January 03, 2012

I just found CEA-HOW after someone in another program suggested it to me. I am attending a group in Spanish (the language of my parents) and I love it! I have been in OA for many years and released 34 lbs in 2008 working with a great sponsor. But I wanted to graduate and after my father and the father of my children passed and 8 other people in 18 month period, I went out again. I gained 15 lbs and knew I needed help because as the BB says, the disease only gets worse . . . never better.

I started working on my CEA-HOW program in October 2011 and in a month I released 12 lbs. I was happy and very excited. But again, self-will came in and I didn't want to follow my sponsors suggestions with the grains after the first 30 days. I also realized that I was using this program as a "diet" and lost the weight, but like with most diets, when I'm not "on" it, the weight comes back on.

Getting honest, I was also chewing sugar-free gum complusively, drinking tea with milk and splenda complusively, diet soda and obessing about my sugar-free jello during those first 30 days, which are all allowed. I basically switched addictions and it wasn't helping in the long run. I wasn't using these items in a moderate way.

Christmas was my last binge (please God let it be my last). I started back on the sugar and flour and couldn't stop. I also see how my relaspe was a process, those little lies I tell myself: "Oh, I can have just one bite." "It's okay to eat in front of the TV." "Oh, I don't need to weigh and measure my milk for my tea."

I was sick to my stomach and on so much less than I normally would have eaten during my past binges. The saddest part was that I was holding my new granddaughter (3 months old) and I couldn't enjoy her as much because I was in so much stomach pain.

The next morning I got on the scale and was up 4lbs in a month (doesn't sound like much but to a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater/anorexic and bulimic, it seemed like 100 lbs!)

I also got on a marathon OA call and got abstinent (thank you God!). This time, I wanted to be as disciplined as the program requires, I honestly weighed and measured everthing, I committed to stop chewing sugar free gum, using splenda or drinking diet sodas, a couple days later the gum and splenda started "calling" and I knew I needed help, I cannot do this on my own. I called my CEA-HOW sponsor and humbly asked her to be my sponsor again (after I had fired her). She graciously agreed and I call her daily.

I wanted to weigh myself on New Year's day and I discovered that without even trying I released (gave back) 6 lbs. Wow! I was surprised and thankful.

I feel great, look great and the great news is that I feel the joy and happiness from the inside out! Folks even say that I "look" younger than my 50 years!

I'm going to keep coming back, so grateful to share this with you!! I would love to hear your story.

mi75 writes,  January 03, 2012

mary- welcome back! as you know the program isn't terribly hard, but taking the initial steps can be...i too struggle lately with some serious compulsive behaviors. caffeine is my best friend right now as we have a new baby at home, and during my 12 weeks off i've found myself making special trips to the mall for a popcorn/pop combo "during our walk"...the weight has crept up and i'm ready to get back with my program too. best of luck!

Sandee writes,  January 04, 2012

HI Mary,

Thank you for sharing your story!  From everything you wrote, I would just like to say, please be kind to yourself....and just take one thing at a time without punishing yourself along the way.  The program allows sugar free gum and diet soda....is it the best for our health?  No, but they are stepping stones.  When I started I was addicted to sugar, flour, gum, diet soda and coffee.  If I would have had to give up all of those at once, I wouldn't have been able to do it.  My advise to you, (unasked for I'm aware : ), is to just start with the food and not worry about the sugar free gum and soda for now...of course that is between you and your sponsor.  I'm so happy for you and your new commitment and look forward to hearing more from you.  Thanks again for sharing your story with us : )

Love and Light,


Mary D writes,  January 05, 2012

Hi Sandee and mi75, thanks for your responses. I was thankful for the gum and soda and splenda those first 30 days. I am finding that just for today, as I don't pick up those things, I am finding that the "phenomenon of the craving" isn't returning. This evening when things starting falling apart, or so it seemed, I picked up the phone and called my sponsor and a friend in the program and I didn't pick up the food. As the acceptance prayer points out, on page 417 of the AA Big Book, when I stopped livin gin the problem and start living in the answer the problem went away. I am very grateful for this program.

I am far from being perfect, but I am being Honest with my sponsor. She hasn't said, not to use the gum or soda, she even suggested tonight instead of picking up the food, but I sat with the feelings and I'm okay right now.

It does pass, I find . . . just for today I'm turning to the program and not the food. Thank you God! :) Happy Day, mary d

Vavs Kitchen writes,  January 12, 2012

You did the right thing! Our literature says if something becomes a problem and we want to (or begin to) eat/chew/drink it compulsively, we need to remove it "for now" and work through it with our sponsor. So right on, you did the right thing to take care of you and your LIFE. This is life or death! That's amazing.

I'm on day 13 right now and it's not that hard, but it's very mental and emotional and NOT that EASY either! :) Blessings!

Mary D writes,  January 15, 2012

Thank you Vavs Kitchen, I appreciate the support. I'm also very thankful for Sandee's insight . . . I realized that I am so hard on myself, and I may have been "punishing" myself for not doing the program "perfectly." What ever that means! I realized this as I meditating one day and I talked with my sponsor. So, we began monitoring how I feel when I also a moderate portion of certain foods in my eating plan. I have been having 2 pieces of gum a day, 1 diet soda, and 4 packets of splenda. It seems to be working so much better when I am accountable . . . in all areas of my life. My disease likes the vagueness and as a friend's t-shirt states:

"What happens in Vagueness . . . stays in Vaguesness!" lol

I love that!

So, just for today, I am working my program to the best of my ability . . .  staying open--minded, honest and willing . . .

Thank you Sandee for this site . . .and your words . . . I can stop punishing myself and start living one day at a time.

Vavs, yes, this is life or death . . . I feel that in my bones!

Wishing you all a very blessed day!

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