Losing a Friend To Transfer Addiction: The Reality of Weight Loss Surgery

My friend Louise, my teacher and source of support.

My friend Louise, my teacher and source of support.

On my blog I have talked a little bit about the effects of transfer addiction and how this is something that everyone who is thinking of having weight loss surgery or have had the surgery should be aware of. The definition of transfer addiction is replacing your food addiction after having surgery with another addiction such as sex, gambling, shopping, drugs, alcohol, or other things. This issue has effected me personally which I will discuss in my next blog posts, and also friends from my weight loss support group.

Most notably and probably the most painful to watch was my dear friend Louise. Louise was one of the first people I met when I first started going to my weight loss support groups, there was a few things that really caught my attention about Louise. First off she was so well educated and so helpful to a newbie on weight loss surgery, and she wound up being a wealth of support and information for me during my journey. Second she literally lived less than two miles away from me, which was awesome because we would ride together to meetings, go out for lunches or just visit with each other and she became a real source of comfort and support for me.

Christmas Church Musical-my dear friend Louise.

Christmas Church Musical-my dear friend Louise.

Thirdly she was a very OPEN and HONEST person about how she got to where was in her life from her hard life of dealing with alcoholism to her over eating and becoming obese. There was no topic off limits with her, she felt if her story could help someone else not follow in her path than she would open up and share and try to help. That right there was the definition of my friend Louise. I loved her blunt and passionate way of sharing her story and helping me from figuring out what vitamins I should take to what protein shakes might help me on my journey, Louise not only was my friend but also my teacher.  But Louise had a dark hidden secret that only a very handful of her friends really knew, and that was that once Louise had fallen into the clutches of alcoholism and drug addiction. This was not a new enemy to her, she had fought off this demon before eleven years ago and has won the battle and once again it had its clutches around my dear friend during her first year after gastric bypass surgery.

My friend Debbie and I whom were the closest to Louise started to notice that at times she would come to meetings or even out on lunch dates with us she would have slurred speech, and a hard time focusing on us talking. This was the first sign we noticed, after seeing this in her on a few occasions we confronted her directly, and she assured us that was muscle relaxers she was prescribed from her doctor due to a back injury. Being her friend and not wanting to doubt her, we took her at her word and just worried in silence.

My first 5K with Louise and friends

My first 5K with Louise and friends

But soon after her bouts of being incoherent started to become more frequent and at times these bouts were in front of her own son Hunter whom suffered from autism. We started to realize that we were not dealing with someone who was taking medication from a Dr. properly we were dealing with someone in the midst of a serious addiction. During this time Louise was dropping weight so fast from her surgery, she was just whittling away and we were starting to worry that she was losing weight way to fast, and might not be eating. Seemed like the only thing she was eating was just protein shakes and no solid foods.

Her addiction got much, much worse and eventually lead to alot of legal trouble, several arrests and almost losing her son to DCFS. Out of respect to Louise I will NOT go into detail on the legal trouble or things that she did to get into this trouble, as this is not the focus of this blog post. The focus is on the fact that Louise was troubled, just like all of us. She had demons from her past that lead to her weight gain that she never dealt with, and when she no longer had her food to use a coping mechanism she turned to the only thing she knew from the past that would help, and that was pills and alcohol.

Louise and her husband on their anniversary.

Louise and her husband on their anniversary.

Personally I cannot tell you how many times Debbie and I tried to help her, from going over to help her clean house to get it ready for a DCFS inspection, to driving her places when she could no longer drive. To just being there to help pick up the pieces and try to smack her with some reality that she had to stop this destructive behavior. But the truth was nothing Debbie or I did helped, nothing her own husband or son did helped, Louise was to far gone into her addiction for any of us to help pull her out. No matter how hard we tried and would cry on the phone to each other pleading with her, and pulling our hair out, and feeling helpless, nothing worked.

Earlier this year as I was getting off work, my friend  Debbie called me to tell me that Louise had died. The police found her in her truck where she had overdosed on a cocktail of pills and booze. We knew for awhile this was probably how her end would happen, we all saw the signs and we were completely one hundred percent helpless from stopping this. But even though we knew this would be how our dear friend would die, it never helped us prepare for reality that happened. Not only had I lost my dear friend, my mentor, my teacher and my source of support but it also was a good reality check for all of us on the seriousness of transfer addiction after weight loss surgery.

This is a very real disease and one that effects too many of us after weight loss surgery, and one that has effected me personally and several of my friends. Being educated and knowing this can pull you out of the brink, before your story turns out like my good friend Louise.

 

 

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About Angie

Single Mom of two girls on a journey to get healthy by losing weight and learning to love herself again!

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