Her mother Pam Stewart recalls, “It’s like the shame disease. People know about alcohol, and they know about drugs. They know about pornography, but you have a problem with food? I mean food? Food is what almost destroyed Becky and our family.”
When Becky was 15 years old, she developed a love-hate relationship with food. She was trapped between anorexia and bulimia. She starved herself for days and then fell headlong into binging and purging.
The models in fashion magazines taunted her to measure up. Yet there was a deeper root to her obsession. As a toddler and then again when she was eight, Becky was molested. She carried this secret shame for years.
She says, “I kept it very hidden. Not only was I ashamed of it, but I felt very dirty. I felt like I was a bad girl. That’s when I started running to food. I wanted to push all those feelings of dirtiness and rejection and the hurt and the pain — the rape that I felt. I wanted to stuff that out, because it hurt too bad to feel it. Then whenever I would purge it out, it felt like it was all coming up. I would actually get a high off it.”
Pam says, “They said the difference between this addiction and drugs and alcohol is that you have to live with food. So you have to take their drug, put it in front of them and teach them how to take a small portion of it.”
At 18, Becky went to a Christian rehab centre. When that program failed, her family sent her to another recovery centre. Becky didn’t just binge and purge. She lied, manipulated and stole in order to satisfy her cravings.
She says, “I would carry a purse, but if you looked in my purse, I had nothing in it except for food. I was binging and purging anywhere from 15 to 20 times a day and taking around 60 laxative pills a day.” In 12 years, she went through five rehab centres with no success.
Her mother says, “It wasn’t just her addiction. It was ours too. I woke up with it, and I went to bed with it. I realized that Becky’s problem became my problem. It was at that moment that I had to say, ‘I let go. Becky, me and your daddy are done. We’re done. We are no longer going to financially support you. I love you, but it’s destroying me and it’s destroying the family.’”
Becky thought she could live without her family, but she wouldn’t live without her addiction. She cut off all communication and moved to Tennessee. There she met Dan. After a few months together, Becky was faced with an impossible dilemma. She was pregnant.
“So many years I’ve been sick between starvation and weight fluctuation,” Becky explains. “I believe at my lowest I was 76 pounds, and I’m about 5’7”, 5’8”. I didn’t have regular monthly cycles. Everything in my body was just completely messed up.”
Becky wasn’t just hurting herself now. Her baby relied on her for nourishment. A new life hung in the balance.
She says, “I’ve tried everything, or at least I thought I had. I’m pregnant. I’m so excited about this baby, but it’s still not enough to help me be free. I’ve got this great guy who really seems supportive of me and doesn’t want to give up on me, but it’s not enough. Okay, maybe I should go back to my roots. Maybe I should try this God thing.”
Becky knew she couldn’t save herself or her baby from her destructive lifestyle. In desperation she went in search of God.
“A pastor once told me that the same drive that I had for my addiction that I was stealing for it, planning for it, plotting for it. I needed to channel that same drive to God, to going after God with that severity, to where it took whatever to get to God.”
Becky continues, “I got on my knees. I was like, ‘Okay, God, I’m going to talk to You like my daddy. I am so messed up, I don’t even know how to pray. I’m a mom now. How am I supposed to walk in and go grocery shopping for my little baby?’
“I was taught by people around me, start filling yourself up with the things of God. I started sitting down, reading the Word of God and renewing of the mind. When I really tried to stop binging, having to feel was so incredibly hard for me. It was so intense. I remember literally shaking.
“I had numbed out for 12 years every day on food. I wanted to give it all to God. I wanted to choose God. I wanted Jesus more than I wanted my food.”
The little life that inspired her change is now four. Jacob and his little brother Benjamin round out this family of four. Becky and Dan were married before Jacob’s birth. He saw first-hand the transformation of her life.
Dan says, “She become what I think is the best mother, the best wife, just the best all-around person.”
Dr. Peggy Karlosky was Becky’s psychologist. She says, “I knew that secular psychology couldn’t explain this. It was dramatic. Her personality was so different. She even looks different. I realized this was spiritual.”
“To see the way she is with her children,” Pam says, “to watch the way that she loves, so completely, she so lacked in that area. It’s like she oozes love. It’s like there are not enough people for her to love, and that’s God.”
“I wanted a microwave healing, but God does the Crockpot healing,” Becky says, “where He does it over a time so you can be more stable and firm in your salvation, in your walk with Him. It’s not about religion. It’s about relationship on a daily basis with Jesus Christ. Today I am free. I am so incredibly thankful that He was there with me. He healed me through His Word and He is more alive today than anything.”