My WILD Story
I remember the first time I taught myself to throw up. I was 16, my dad had just passed away and I didn’t fit in at school. And one day, with the bullying and name-calling fresh in my head, I made the executive decision to do something about my size 16 self. After a few minutes of bending over and gagging with one finger down my throat – bam- most of what I had eaten for dinner was now staring back at me in the toilet: one quarter pounder with cheese, a large fry and an orange drink. Gross, I know. But back then, anything in the name of being thin. And I knew nothing about nutrition.
That day, I couldn’t take myself anymore, living in my head remembering the names they had called me just hours before I purged. Kids tortured me. With dad gone, and no one to micro-monitor me, I began experimenting in the addictive and deadly world of bulimia. “Bring it,” I thought, young, angry, ready for death. You know how teenagers can be. Mom said I’d excel at anything I put my mind to. Very true. I became the expert at what to eat and drink to make everything come up nicely, in a couple of large purges that would take approximately 5 minutes, including clean up. In my Junior year of high school, at 5’11″ and after losing 50 pounds through my unethical ritual, kids pretty much left me alone. But the damage had been done.
This is where the story gets a little wild. In an attempt to simplify things, here’s an FAQ. You’ll find it far more entertaining than a narrative account. Before we start, let me preface the FAQs with this: I cannot blame anyone else for my choices but myself. Not mom, dad, God, bullies at school, ex husband. No one. I own this. All of it.
Why didn’t you lose weight the healthy, traditional way with diet and exercise?
Being raised by a family of business and real estate owners, mom and dad were too busy making and saving money to worry about three small meals per day with high-protein snacks in between. I saw dad take diet pills. Mom took them too, on occasion. Then there were “diets” that were passed around the family, starvation type plans, all of which I tried. Mom even sent me to a nutritionist. I remember eating rice crispies with lots of table sugar and no milk/dairy. The nutritionist was smoking crack. Yeah, I lost weight, but that’s what happens when you eliminate a food group (in this case, dairy) from your diet. But did it stay off? No. I was only 12 yrs old back then. No one taught me how to eat healthy (sugar and rice crispies??). Or why exercise was important, blah blah, blah. So began my path into the fastest way to lose weight. And die. Or damage your bodily organs. More later on this.
Why did you start the bulimia after dad died?
Weirdly enough, I hadn’t thought about throwing up food until after he passed. Some may ponder, perhaps you felt more free to act as you wish without a paternal figure. That much is true. However, it’s more — After I hit puberty, dad’s feelings for me as his little girl became more sporadic. Him showing me affection, less constant. His criticism of me, harsher than I care to remember. And as a preteen girl, what your father says about you, what he doesn’t say about you or how he treats you in general, matters. After he died, I was no longer in his state of constant eye-balling , bullying, and chastising me when I didn’t live up to some unspoken expectation.
With my new dadless freedom, I began seeking attention elsewhere. Mainly really bad boys with whom I had no business. But I chose to take that path as a way to try and gain attention from emotionally unavailable boys/men. Like dad.
I often wondered why dad treated me in such a distrustful way. Always expecting the worst from me. In my teenage mind, failure from *me* was what he expected. I began to believe it was because I was adopted. And I was very unlike the Andruska family.
When were you adopted?
The story is — seven days after birth. Mom was a diabetic and could not have more children. She wanted a girl. The universe gave her me.
Do you know your birth parents?
No. And since they haven’t come looking for me in 40+ years, I’m okay with it.
So how was your family dysfunctional, Sid?
My father was a blue-collar, workaholic. And an alcoholic. A gambler as well. With a ninth grade education (I was always proud of that!), he defined “gogetta” with his own business and real estate investments. Despite his drinking binges, he never missed a day at work, always brought home the dough, and made sure that he rewarded himself after –dad drank and gambled freely, anytime he wanted, despite a family back at home waiting for him. And I know *he* felt he deserved to party at the end of a long, hard week. However, it was never just a couple drinks at the party. He became a monster at times during his alcohol binges, where he’d rant and rave about his lost dreams, or whatever was depressing him that week. Often times he’d barge into my bro’s room and pick fights with him; I’d stay up well into the morning hours, hiding under the covers, waiting for the screaming to stop. Other times, he would come into my bedroom, wasted at 1am and woke me up to tell stories about his childhood. When all I wanted to do was sleep. But I listened to his stories, kept my eyes open because I loved him so.
My loving mother, the classic codependent, forever begging my dad to stop drinking so much and stay home with the family — she was the glue in the family. Without her, I’m not sure where my older bro and I would be. In fact, without mom teaching us both about love and acceptance, I’m certain, my older bro and I would have no contact. He and I were cut from different cloths.
At the same time, as hard as mom and dad worked and built their businesses, bro and I never went without. We always had everything we needed. Everything. We were by no means rich. But our parents ensured we had the best they could afford. For that, and for being adopted by them, I will be eternally grateful for my family.
Are you close with your older bro?
I’d like to think so. Although my dad gave him a harder time than me. Dad was brutal to my brother in his criticisms and judgments. Without going into detail to protect my bros privacy, let’s just say bro was and continues to remain my hero, in so far as how he handled himself around dad. He’s also successful, and tries to look out for me, and I am so very proud that he is my brother.
Tell us about the drinking and drugs:
Ahem….what? Drinking and drugs?! Why I never! (yes, I did). We lived in an awesome middleclass ranch style house. Back then, prettiest curb appeal on the block. Dad, being as successful as he was, wanted a full bar in the family room. Y’know, so you can invite buddies to the house and drink until 2 am on the weekends (in the room where our family spends the most time). Yes, no locks on the liquor cabinets. Any booze you could imagine, he owned. I watched dad party with his boys in our family room damn near ever weekend. After dad passed, you know who start raiding the liquor cabinet?
Since losing the weight kept the bullies off my back, I began coming out of my shell even more after dad died. And I made new friends with kids who *wanted* me around: The stoners. They accepted me. Wanted to hang out with me. Flattered and eager to make a new posse, I began my path down the road of addiction. And I didn’t care. Finally I had friends, a social life. Booze and pot played a big role. Speed, mainly crap sold at truck stops, kept me thin and hunger less, thus maintaining my skinny stature and the drug addict friendships.
How did you seek help for your addictions?
Through the help of Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. And God. The only ways.
When did you realize you needed help?
Long ago. Hung over and vomiting early one morning after drinking too much the night before, I decided to seek help. Was tired of being sick and tired.
Many times. Thanks to wonderful sponsors, I received the help I needed.
What about the bad boys?
There were so many of them. Having been through recovery, I realized that each taught me valuable lessons. And today, I’m thankful for having met all of them. Even the biggest jack offs.
Who are you now?
Having found my life’s calling of life coaching and personal training, I am one happy girl! And excited to be helping others with life challenges.