The Escape Artists that hide their Dangerous Dieting:

"Needing some true research," April explained to me. I'm sure it'll bring back memories, but still it would be helpful to us if you think you can do it."

"Well, of course, I can do it!"

The time for this particular event was 1988, I believe. My relapsing into suicidal behavior and addiction had taken its toll. My current lock-down was a place known to 'save' the relapsers.

'What the heck, at least it was worth a try.' In I went, as a voluntary patient.

For the first couple of weeks, I behaved myself and became a labeled 'ideal patient.' There was one psychiatrist, however who had me pegged.

"It's not just the diet pills, now is it, Missy?" Dr. Quintana questioned me." Anyone almost forty years old ought to be weighing more than 90 lbs. And if you ask me, I suspect you ain't eatin' cuz' you ain't wanting to gain any weight."

Her eyes were glaring me down to see how I'd react. In a rage, that's what I was. Blasted doctor ought to be focusing on my last overdose of Xanex instead of my damn diet.

"Can't take them Xanex and keep up an appetite," I explained as she wrote in her book.

"Yeah, well, now that you're off those jewels, I will be watching you eat and gain some weight," Dr. Quintana promised me while leaving the room.

Great, all I needed now was some Hawkeye making things rougher on me than they already were.

Earl sat generally right across from me and it never mattered in what room. He loved staring at my mossy hair, thin cracked skin and my blood-shot eyes that usually spoke, "nobody's home."

With his jet-black hair and his azure blue eyes, he watched my soul. It is my suspicion, that he knew. The man knew I wasn't going to make it. I could tell that he knew I wasn't heading toward recovering anytime soon. He seemed to daily give me that look which said, 'why don't you just go home?' Relapsers get a sense of how well another one is going to do.

I had listened to enough of his story to know his drug of choice was Meth... crank, to be exact.

In the back of my mind, I was consciously planning my last hoorah! Therefore, I figured what the heck, maybe, I could graduate from diet pills to speed and he'd find the goods for me.

My expert manipulation skills worked yet again for me. Within twelve hours, our escape was mapped out and it was only a matter of opportunity. The two of us had concocted our plan over a few smoke breaks and lunch. Of course, Earl seemed to take my lead quite well. Now, I need to tell you, I didn't give a darn for the guy. I only saw him as a way for me to get my next fix.

The nosey psychiatrist had simply caused me to 'jones' to get out and away from everyone staring at my skinny body, which truthfully, I still saw myself as fat.

Earl and I were sitting having a casual conversation. Our backs were against the faded tan wall closest to the locked down bars of the entry way to Rapha, the treatment center in Arlington that only the best got to enter.

I watched Earl - he stalked my eyes, as usual. The energy between the two of us surged. There was something building… an intensity that still eighteen years later, never has left my memory. I saw one of the other doctor's sauntering down the hall. Just as her hand pushed down on the handle of the metal bars, a loud metal sound clinked that I'd heard many times before. This noise set off something within me… Earl too – the look of panic was in his azure eyes.

My new friend gave me one last stare. He, however, did not touch me; instead, Earl took the window of opportunity and escaped through the now open - locked no longer - door to the outside world.

Without a second thought and certainly without reasoning any of the fear involved, I ran after Earl. Before long, I realized I was tired of running. It was his escape, not mine, that actually was taking place anyway. Nevertheless, I was already in the drama of it all and felt there was no way to stop. Wasn’t I running after my next fix? Or was I finally running after a friend? Did I have the mind to know the difference?

At a 7-11 convenience store a mile away from Rapha, Earl called his dealer. One hour later, I had done the 'deed' that I swore would be the last thing I'd ever do. As fate would have it, because of the amount of clean time that I had at the time he and I shot up, my tiny little body (which also wasn't used to needles) was unable to take the shot. I was a ‘speed’ virgin no longer.

Days later, as luck would have it, the paramedics found a card in the pocket of my pants which had Ralpha on it. The card showed the name of the nosey psychiatrist, Dr. Quintana. In addition, my wristband gave them a good idea where to return me.

Even after I'd recovered from my lowest drug point, the knowledge that I'd never know what happened to Earl lay gently on my conscious. Would he have relapsed if I had not persuaded him? Probably. Reality set in me this time thought that there was no memory of where he and I had gone or why I was being returned and didn’t know where he was.

Was I ready to stop taking drugs to stay skinny? Probably, now, I was. Yes, I felt that I was finally powerless over what I would do or what might happen to me if I got any amount of stimulant in my system. I also knew that as soon as I did the stronger speed, that my drug addiction had escalated and that I would not be able to guarantee where I'd go next with it all.

Finally, I was willing to begin looking at eating regularly. Yes, and to prove it to myself, I signed up for the nutrition class. Did I miss Earl? Nope! Him, miss me? Nope, hardly - no one at the treatment center ever shared the outcome of Earl's escape, nor did I run again and our secret was held for years inside me with a great deal of other shame all packaged up and ready to explode.

This event was the pivotal point of me being willing to go to any lengths to get healthy and to address my issues of my addiction to wanting to stay thin. As much as I had done to stay thin, I was now going to have to apply that same energy to staying in recovery and not taking substances of any kind to control my eating and diets.

At least, at Rapha, with Dr. Quintana's help, I had a chance. Out there in the world of chasing addictions, I had none. It is a miracle for me to be able to share this information with the world as my sobriety and clean date come up on 2008, it will be eighteen years since my life was life this piece of my life you see here.

My hope is that by sharing this with you – you can see you are not alone and that if you are taking substances in order to stay thin, that you will need to get some help. Form a plan that will help you to see that only with help can you stop doing thing to harm your system. A healthy body will bring about a healthy mind and a healthy mind will bring about a healthier spirit.

Merry Christmas everyone and if you’d like to share a piece or two with me about your life, please do; it will help to let someone know the things you are scared to reveal.

Author's Bio: 

In the year 1990, my entire world changed when I became alcohol free. Within five years it became clear that my teaching the 12 steps from the podium was something not only self-fulfilling, it was helpful to hundreds of struggling alcoholics. I attended meetings for upwards to ten years several times a week and sponsored 34 women.

Since that time, I've had the pleasure of becoming a writer, an editor and a publisher and would like to mix these skills with my 12-step program skills in a way that provides a service for thousands. At this time, I have worked with 35 writers and am constantly meeting new people.

For years, I published articles on and was an expert in the "hypochondria" - "depression" - "phobias" area. And it was through this media that many new people met me and I was able to help them make new life decisions and find recovery in that area as well.

Please write me anytime with questions you might have regarding recovery. VicToria Freudiger - editorsheperd@aolcom; or here on Peace