My partner Chris has his own 12 Step recovery program and is also a part of the Weight Watchers program as well. While my struggle with addictions have encompassed many things, the one it hasn’t encompassed that he’s battled with the most is with excessive overeating. Yet, even though I know nothing about his addiction, that hasn’t stopped me from trying to control his on far too many occasions.
The Al-Anon 12 Step program teaches that one will never be able to gain control over another person’s addiction ever. Unfortunately, that still has never stopped me from trying. This character defect began with my mother, with me consistently trying to stop her drinking to prevent something bad from happening to her. It never worked and eventually she died tragically as a result of her alcoholism. Sadly, this attempt at controlling her alcoholism became a negative trait of mine with many others and their addictions ever since. Even though I never had any success in all those attempts, I’ve constantly kept trying. You would think I would have learned this lesson long ago, but this trait runs deep and deals with severe abandonment issues I’m still working through.
Nevertheless, a few years into my relationship with Chris, I started doing the very same behavior when it came to his eating habits. I always felt the need to know what his weight currently was. I regularly commented on his diet, whether we were alone or with others. I frequently judged him on the portion sizes he’d place on his plate. And I tended to lecture him if I saw that he was ever putting on any weight. Honestly, I’m not sure why it took so long for me to realize just how toxic this controlling behavior of mine was. Not only has it added a lot more stress onto my plate, it’s also driven a number of people away that I loved dearly, which is the very reason why I came to the acceptance that I needed to do something about this toxic behavior immediately. Because the last person I want to have walk away from my life due to this defect of character is Chris.
Some people have asked me why I get so concerned with Chris’s weight seeing I find beauty in larger people. It simply comes down to fear. More specifically, the fear of losing him to a serious health complication like a heart attack. Frankly, I’ve lost so many people in my life to various addictions from my father and mother to many others along the way. All of them have ended in tragic deaths ranging from serious health problems to suicide to overdose. So, it would be a gross understatement for me to say I have a little fear of losing those I love to addiction, because my fear is ultimately quite great in this area, with my partner most definitely being at the top of that list at the present time.
Regardless, the very act of me attempting to control his eating addiction has done the very opposite of what my fear’s actions has hoped to achieve, that being the cessation of it. Instead, it’s often driven him straight into doing it more. The guilt and shame I’ve caused him at times has only added more pain and anguish to his life rather than actually help him fight his addiction. I have great sadness over this, that my words and actions have often been more hurtful than supportive to his recovery, even though my ego keeps attempting to convince me otherwise.
In light of that, I made the decision last week to turn all of this over to God and to stop commenting altogether on anything dealing with his addiction. I told him I don’t want to know about his weigh-ins anymore at Weight Watchers. I promised him I’m not going to comment on what he’s eating anymore, or about his portions, or about anything dealing with his food or weight whatsoever.
You see, I only came into recovery from each of my former addictions by hitting bottom all on my own and every time I did, I sought God, His strength, and a vigilant 12 Step program to overcome them. The same must hold true for my partner and his addiction. He must be the one to forge his own path to full sobriety and recovery, not I.
So, I write these words today to keep myself fully accountable with the rest of the world with this new commitment I’ve made to Chris, that being to let go of all my attempts at controlling his eating addiction. My only hope now is that I may unconditionally love and support him on his path to recovery no matter where he may be on it, and let God do the rest…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson