“I attended Pia’s Place (Prescott, AZ) in 2011, where I was first introduced to addiction nutrition. Previously I had been unaware of the immense impact that nutrition had on the body for alcoholics and addicts, especially in new recovery. I had been using heroin and alcohol on and off since I was seventeen years old, and what I put in my body was obviously of no concern to me. For the previous year before treatment I primarily ate candy and sugary cereal because of my appetite for sugar as an addicted person.
When I learned that eating healthy and being knowledgeable about nutrition would largely increase my chances of staying sober- I began to listen. I learned about the downfalls of white sugar and it’s effect on the brain, we measured out visually the amounts of sugar in daily products we ate, learned about the actual ingredients in the foods we eat, and I began to make small changes. I made a permanent switch to almond milk, I stopped eating the comfort sugary foods in treatment that made me feel better, and I realized that if I was going to be in recovery I had to care about my body and treat it with love and kindness after all I had put it through. I hadn’t known that the effects of sugar on the brain actually mimicked the coming up and crashing of taking a drug or drink, and we were told that this pattern would keep our brain needing that stimulation, keeping it’s reward center sick and dependent.
Being educated about the impact of addiction on my body further encouraged me to want to cleanse and repair the damage done, because I was finally aware of how I had been affected. Through trial and error I experienced myself the difference in how I felt when eating well, and when not eating well. Victoria, our nutritionist, also provided us with resources around supplements and vitamins to repair our brains, livers, stomachs, mental health, etc. Today I have been in recovery just over two years. I couldn’t be more grateful to have been educated so early in sobriety about how to live as a healthy person with a diet and lifestyle that promotes sustainable recovery.”
Practical and Caring
“I saw Victoria for about a year after leaving an in-patient treatment center for substance abuse and an eating disorder. I started out seeing Victoria once a week and was eventually able to begin seeing her less frequently as I grew more self-sufficient and comfortable in my own skin. She helped me to manage the daily struggles of meal planning and grocery shopping – the mundane tasks we all must do. I am grateful for those things but am mostly grateful for the caring way in which she operates. I have lived in so much shame for as long as I can remember regarding anything to do with food. I used to keep food journals every week and would go over them with Victoria when we met. I would be so ashamed anytime I went off course. Victoria let me cry and was always genuinely interested in what was going on with me. We would talk about the things that seemed to have nothing to do with food but in fact were leading me to binge, purge, or starve myself. Victoria has been an incredible light in my life – she was always so accepting of me – no matter if I had a “good” or “bad” food week.
I have been sober for 2 years and 2 months and have not been acting out in my eating disorder (one-day-at-a-time).”