Kari's Story of Recovery

 

Let’s Play the popular game, “Never Have I Ever….” [start each sentence with that phrase and, if
you have done it, add a point; the object is to have a low number]

  • Hidden a food wrapper from a loved one.
  • Eaten takeout food while bringing back takeout food for others.
  • Wore clothes that were too small as a way of punishing myself.
  • Spent a substantial amount of money on weight loss programs.
  • Decided it would be impossible to obtain better health because I was “too far gone.”
  • Experienced anger and resentment toward someone else for eating something I wanted for myself.
  • Avoided a doctors’ appointment for the fear and embarrassment of stepping on the scale.
  • Said to myself or a loved one, “I’ll start my better health journey tomorrow; on Monday; next month; next year.”
  • Resigned myself to the fact that everyone has a vice; I’m just going to be [fat, lonely, empty, etc]
  • Sabotaged relationships with others, especially partners, because I felt unworthy of their love and affection.

Did you lose? I’m using that word on purpose, friends. Because the shame we feel when we battle this villain of food and sugar addiction is real. We play time and time again; we fight with all of our might and inevitably, we shrink back into ourselves a dejected loser while our disease takes a triumphant bow. And it’s not fun and we don’t want to play anymore.

Kari Before COR RetreatAs an elementary music teacher, I used to PLAY all day; I’d play song games, play instruments, play through dance, music, and loads of laughs with my students. If you have met me, you know that my personality is playful and exuberant, and too much for some people. Sadly, for many, many years, my light was dimmed by my obsession with food and my addiction to sugar.

It wasn’t until writing my food history at COR in September 2020 that I knew beyond a doubt that I had been playing with my food addiction since childhood. As a young girl, I would save all of my money for snacks: breaking the rules to walk to the nearby high school to purchase “Blow Pops;” sneaking money from my parents to buy junk food at sporting events; riding bike a mile to load up on candy and soda at the nearby mercantile (yes, we’re talking village grocery store here.) As a teenager who participated in numerous after-school activities until evening, my parents would often give me $10 and tell me to find my own dinner until I was driven the 10-miles home in the evenings. There was no coaching about the types of foods that would healthfully fill my tank and the game of loading up my body and locker would commence down to the last pennies.

As I matured into adulthood, the games continued. Embarking upon college life, playing took the form of ordering late night pizza, making grilled cheese sandwiches in my dorm room, binging on chips and salsa, and hoarding “Dream Bars” from the cafeteria. During those summers, I waitressed so it was really fun to play following long, exhausting shifts. In my early years teaching in a small Minnesota town, this single teacher would weigh-in at Thursday night “club” meetings before hitting multiple drive-thrus to fill my lonely soul. I did have a period of success with that program and rollerblading throughout the town, so much so that I was known as the “young, cute, rollerblading music teacher.” Then while teaching music abroad in Budapest, Hungary from 2005-07, I happily played my way throughout Europe before entering the next chapter of my life as a married woman.

In marriage, there was someone else doing life alongside me and that added a whole new level to the game. Oh boy, did I PLAY over the last 14 years: through two pregnancies, health issues with our oldest son, postpartum depression, a toxic work environment, and the marital stress bred even more marital stress!! It wasn’t until my therapist paralleled my relationship to food as an affair outside of our marriage when he weekly asked me, “Are you being faithful to your husband? In what ways are you cheating on him?” And friends, I was willing to lose EVERYTHING to keep playing with food. These conversations caused me to cut out sugar, caffeine, and alcohol during the “Lentiest Lent I Ever Lented” during the spring of 2020 and the beginning stages of COVID-19 life. Between Mothers’ Day and July of last year, I had resumed playing the games on a whole new level and I was out of control!

Kari 1 Year after COR RetreatThank God one of our fellows, Holly L, posted something about COR food addiction on her social media. I visited with her, my therapist, my husband, and our beloved Nancy before turning over my cash to enroll in the COR 108 in September 2020. Attending EnCOR in February 2021 brought the journey to an even deeper level as I released resentments, fears, harms, and character defects toward making amends with others. Speaking of releasing, I’ve released about 80 pounds since the journey began and celebrated my ONE YEAR OF ABSTINENCE on September 10th during a COR Medallion Ceremony with my husband and sons.

And life is better and sweeter than I ever imagined through whole new ways of playing. Now, I can PLAY with our sons and was even called “Fun Mom” after flying off the zipline at the public pool this summer. I PLAYED a few weekends ago while conquering fears at a High Ropes Course in northern Minnesota. Our marriage is the best it’s ever been and our PLAY has brought us deeper in love than we’ve ever been (yes, I am hinting at what you think I am--LOL!) I look forward to future opportunities to PLAY through my hobbies onstage as a singer and actress. I even maintain a spirit of PLAY when I visit with my sponsor and serve my sponsees through the continuing work of recovery.

My heart’s prayer is that my story will inspire others to surrender the games played with food and sugar, to find the freedom of recovery, and to engage in a different version of PLAY. There is a victory to be had and it’s yours, if you desire it.

About COR Retreat
COR Retreat is a residential retreat program that teaches a way to live free from the obsession with food through a 12 step program. COR Retreats are 5-day programs, scheduled each month at the McIver Center in Wayzata, MN.

Learn more about the COR Retreat Experience, and register online to attend an upcoming retreat

The Beautiful McIver Center

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