1 Corinthians 13:11 “…I understood as a child, I thought as a child...”
I’ve heard it said that often times an addiction is a result of a childhood event, and that was definitely the case with me. But my story isn’t tragic nor is it unique, so thankfully there is no need for anyone to whip out a tissue on my behalf.
As I mentioned earlier I first began an unholy relationship with food at seven years of age, after my parents’ divorce and my mom’s remarriage less than thirty days later. My mom and dad’s marriage was not made in heaven. At the time I had no idea about LSD and what drugs did to people, all I knew was that my dad wasn’t around anymore.
My stepdad is a wonderful man and I’m so grateful that he raised me. But at that age I was scared to death of my new living arrangements. I was scared of the new dad, not knowing if he was nice or if he would be mean to me.
I was also a little mad at my mom for replacing my first dad. I didn’t even get a vote on the issue! We moved into the new house, and I settled into my very own bedroom, thankful that at least I no longer had to share a room with my stinky brother.
Then one night, after the folks and stinky went to bed, I discovered something wonderful. It was called a Midnight Snack, and it made my nervous tummy feel full and secure. I felt like Winnie the Pooh did after eating a honey pot.
And so it was, whenever I felt bad, sad or scared, I would wait till everyone was asleep and I would get up to make myself toast or eat some cereal.
I only got caught once, and it wasn’t even at my own house. I was spending the night with my new step-grandparents, and after I thought everyone was fast asleep I tiptoed down to the kitchen. It wasn’t like my kitchen at home so I had to pull open cupboards to see what I could see.
Suddenly grandpa came into the kitchen, tiptoeing towards me. “Shh,” he whispered, “we can’t let grandma know we’re getting ourselves a snack.” Then with a wink and a grin he got us both a spoonful of peanut butter. I decided really liked my new grandpa.
Eventually things calmed down. I realized my new dad was nice even though he made me do terrible things like clean my room and brush my teeth. And he expected me be nice to my brother, which I thought was an unreasonable request. But though bad days ultimately became rare, I knew I still had the Midnight Snack solution I could turn to.
Then junior high and high school came along. I was a shy, introverted child and that didn’t change when I got older. The little elementary school I was comfortable in gave way to the melting pot of junior high. Since I assume most of you have endured, I mean attended, junior high I won’t bore you with details. Suffice it to say I hated it, and once again resumed the Midnight Snacking. Only now there was this great new thing called a 7-11 right next to the bus stop and I’d hop off the school bus and grab some gooey nachos before I headed home. That was an hour before dinnertime, and did scarfing down nachos get in the way of eating dinner? Nope, it sure didn’t.
So I added eating a meal between a meal to my résumé. My tummy was happy, but I began to feel bad. And when I felt bad, you guessed it, I ate some more.
I once read that a drug addict will feel so guilty about getting high that they go out and get high again to make themselves feel better. That’s how it was with me and food.