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Story Submission by Richie, Age 35

Almost for as long as I can remember, I had an eating disorder. Ever since I had my first helpings the only word that could describe my eating was “more”.

I was a fat kid before being a fat kid was a “thing”. Due to schoolyard bullying, Mum was concerned – so I was put on my first diet at the age of 10, by age 11 I was seeing a dietician.

Weight climbed as I grew, and when I went to uni for the first time in 2001 I no idea of healthy eating. Weight climbed. In 2003 I went on a fairly successful diet, and after losing 10kg in 10 weeks a difficulty with a friendship triggered my binge eating disorder. I had developed a drinking problem as well; after I went to Alcoholics Anonymous to help with that the eating just got worse. I tried Overeaters Anonymous, but didn’t take their program very seriously.

I had no real sense of identity apart from what I thought others expected me to be. This led to me having zero self esteem and terrible anxiety.

After a few failed attempts at dieting, my weight peaked in August 2006 at 137kg. I was becoming suicidal. Then somehow the stars aligned and I lost 45kg in 6 months. Yay! I was cured!


I soon slipped back into the overeating, and I started to drink again as well. The following year in 2008 I discovered the joys of purging with a laxative. Due to various factors – eating disorder, workplace bullying and my alcoholism – I had a nervous breakdown where I pushed away everyone in my life, and became suicidal again. I left that career in 2009.

In 2010 I commenced retraining as a teacher. But despite my changing my external situation – new cars, a restoration project, new location – I always took “me” with me. So the same problems crept up again. Always yo yo dieting in the middle of periods of secretive binge eating. I finally finished my course, and was appointed to a school. Whilst there I did do another restoration project, but that was only a distraction for the miserable, crappy life that developed – a life of binge drinking, binge eating and purging. There was some teaching at times as well.

After that career path didn’t work out I found myself in another job, but it didn’t last due to various things. Somehow I reentered the teaching profession, this time in the private system. But in saying that I was still binge eating, and binge drinking (although less). After reading widely to try and understand the nature of my addiction, I got a book by a prominent celebrity who himself is a recovered addict, and it was based on the 12 steps of recovery.

I read it, and took it as a sign of what I must do. I put the 12 steps in my life, and started attending meetings of relevant groups. I had my final drink on 9 October 2017 and my last food binge on 26 October. I have been sober and abstinent since.

In my recovery I started to customise one of my cars, this one a 2015 Mazda 3. Under the bonnet there is a theme of spirituality, and a location where I keep my Narcotics Anonymous keyrings – so far 30/60/90 days and 6 months.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm or addiction, please reach out. Call 13 11 14 for Lifeline’s 24hr Telephone Crisis Support or contact a mental health professional. If you are looking for other mental health resources, browse our Find Help page.

If a life is in danger call 000 immediately.

Stories written by members of the Cars For Hope community. Find out how you can submit your story today.

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