Who struggles with food addiction and compulsive overeating? More people than you know. When you think of food addiction, you probably feel like you are the only person who knows the pain you feel. When we live in shame and secrecy, we think we are alone in our struggle. In one of the first overeating support groups I facilitated, a woman I had just met said to me, “What does a skinny girl like you know about this?”. Within moments of meeting me, she had written me off because my body didn’t look like it fit the part. Well, after that, I certainly wasn’t about to tell her exactly what this skinny girl knew about her pain. I am a food addict. I am in recovery. It has been a LONG journey. Unlike other addictions, mine cannot be avoided. I face my captor several times every day. However, through this journey and a lot of hard work, the cage has opened. I now feel like I have choices. Through this process, I learned how much I had let my past dictate my present. Food became the only way to control things I had no way to control. When I didn’t think I could take another minute of pain, I could escape and numb myself. When all else failed, food would be there. The connections I made in my brain were very powerful. I had gone back to food to deal with my emotions so many times, it became automatic. Food started to control me. I felt lazy and stupid every single time I couldn’t control what I put in my mouth. What I learned many years later was that my brain is very powerful. It is more powerful than my will. Once I established that emotional connection to food, I was on automatic pilot. I had made the connections in my brain so strong that I no longer had to think about what I was doing. In fact, the addiction worked so much better if I didn’t think at all. I got so good at this, I never had to feel anything before I had food taking it away. After a while, my behavior started to scare me. My relationship with food was no longer soothing. It became terrifying because it felt like my life was no longer my own. I sought out therapy. I resolved the underlying issues and my relationship with food greatly improved. I’m not perfect now. I still have moments when emotions try to rule, but I just remind myself that I have other options to deal with my feelings and food doesn’t have to be one of them. This is a journey wrought with pain. It can feel hopeless. There is help out there! You just need to be ready for the life raft.