Teased by her classmates in middle school, Francine was often called the “lost city of Atlantis” because of her extra weight. During sleep away camp, she was chastised by a bunk mate for asking if she could have one of her sodas. “Do you really think you should be drinking that?” She finally snapped. She started dieting and exercising obsessively until she went back to school that fall, a much slimmer person. She was given a break from the teasing – for about a week, only then to be the subject of gossip about “being with all the boys.”
Having failed to find answers in her new body, Francine soon turned to drugs and alcohol. She withdrew from high school in her senior year, but realized that she couldn’t do much without a high school diploma. In desperation she did things to make money that she never would have done had she not been under the influence of drugs and alcohol. She hit bottom after nearly killing herself and her four-year-old son.
Although, thankfully, she is now well into recovery from alcohol and other drugs, given that these conditions are chronic and subject to relapse, Francine still struggles with her eating disorders and addiction. “It’s not been easy. I have to make the choice not to use [food] every day,” she cautions kids.