Yes, the intervention that started my recovery was a book: “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. At that time my drinking was a secret (and it was private), and my eating disorder was heavily (or thinly) disguised so the only evidence that I was in deep trouble was the chaotic relationships in my life.
In truth, all those things were intertwined. The mess and grief of relationships, the games I played with food to exercise a kind of control I never had and always wanted, and then the nightly alcohol to soothe the shame I felt over all of it.
No fewer than six people gave me Robin’s brilliant book that year. Even they, I later learned, were baffled by my behaviors. And I was too. My life hurt so much. But the sheer number of copies of WWL2M made it impossible for me to ignore the book so I read it. And I wept.
And then the miracle: At the back of the book, after Robin describes the patterns of women who grew up in alcoholic or abusive families, she also says, “So if you identify with the women in this book then its very likely that you also have a problem with alcohol, drugs or food.” And I heard the loud: Ding! Ding! Ding! Scoring three out of three. A winner. I called ALL of the 800 numbers Norwood listed and that week I went to Alanon, and ACOA and OA and finally to AA….and that miracle continues to this day.
I go back to her book and those principles every few months.
Here’s a bit of Robin Norwood wisdom that applies to relationships and to all the other things that come our way in recovery--and in life:
“If we want to stop loving too much, first we change how we act, then how we think, and finally how we feel. If we wait until we feel differently before we behave differently, we will never change, never recover.”