As a seven year old, with brown wavy hair and blue eyes, I remember the day that I stumbled upon my drug of choice. The folks were fighting again. My brother had fled the scene; I was left to comfort my little sister. The soft, yellow, spongy confection with the creamy white filling soothed every emotion and lulled me into a state of tranquility.

I remember the day that I stumbled
upon my drug of choice


Gone the anxiety and fear about how their fight would end up this time. Gone the sadness of the little girl unprotected. The burden of responsibility to care for my two-year-old sister vanished.

I had discovered the answer for my pain, for any emotion that I could not handle. I could obliterate it through ingesting high sugar/ fat foods. Like a drug, its chemicals would travel directly to the “feel good” centers of my brain, and voila! I was happy and content. My “perfect” solution betrayed me, however, when the pounds started to pile on. Being made fun of, chosen last of the kickball team, buying clothes in the “chubby” shop, and looking horrible in a swimsuit next to my bikini-clad friends created pain that outweighed the ORIGINAL pain.

The ANSWER for my pain
created MORE PAIN
than it was intended to avoid!


As Scott Peck describes in The Road Less Traveled, the behaviors that I had adopted to avoid pain, created more pain than the original pain that it was intended to avoid! He defines the beginning of mental illness as the avoidance of pain! As the years went by, I was unknowingly layering pain upon pain, becoming fatter, more depressed, isolated, hopeless, and despairing. I, then had TWO problems; the original childhood trauma of growing up in my particular family, and the pain from the consequences of my food addiction.

The food addiction cycle must be broken between the PAIN and THE FIX (drugging ourselves with food). We must begin to embrace the pain of our past, rescue the little one inside who had no other recourse but to comfort him/herself in this destructive manner.

The first step is to make the commitment to not medicate the pain of your life. Someone once said, “You can’t heal what you can’t feel and you can’t feel what you medicate”.

For healing to take place,
you must be willing
to walk through pain.


You must understand that God does not promise you a pain-free existence; rather that He will walk through your pain with you, comfort you, and redeem your sufferings. Begin by reflecting on the first time that you can remember anaesthetizing yourself with food. Journal about that. Discuss it with a Christian counselor or trusted friend. Reach back in time and make a commitment to that younger person inside that you will discover how to walk through pain, receive nurture for him/her, and become free from the devastating effects of food addiction. (John 8:32)


This article is by Jennifer Cecil, M.Ed., LPC