Saturday, March 21, 2009

I Want A New Drug

My husband is a recovering addict/alcoholic. This post is not about that - that's his story to tell. This post is about my addictions and how they relate.

I often joke about my food addiction, but truly it's no joke. The only thing in my life that comes close to being as addictive a substance to me is my books. And let's face it, an over-indulgence in books just makes you, well.....smarter. Even if it lightens your pocketbook, you can overcome that by buying used books or joining a book trade forum.

But food. Food has been my drug most of my life. Even before conscious memory. Baby crying? Give her a cookie. Problem solved.

I've tried to explain my food addiction to my husband in terms he can relate to based upon his experiences with addiction. But in many ways I believe my addiction is far more difficult to overcome. Not to belittle his achievements, or anyone else who has battled drugs or alcohol, but the first, simplest and most basic rule, and the first thing they tell you in Alcoholics Anonymous or Drug Rehab is "Just don't drink/do drugs."

Easy? No of course not. Simple? Yes.

But "Just don't eat," is not only impractical, it's a bit incompatible with life. If we want to continue enjoying this Earth, humans must consume sustenance. Daily. Three times or more per day.

If you told a crack addict that they had to consume crack at 8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 5:00 p.m. daily, and they were only permitted one hit of the substance, don't expect to see them or their money (or yours for that matter) ever again. It's impossible.

Is food equal to crack cocaine? Well it sure as hell doesn't make me as skinny as crack would, but it's every bit as alluring and dangerous to me. The detrimental effects of it may take a bit longer to kill me, but kill me they will. Everyone knows being overweight contributes to heart disease, circulatory problems, strokes, diabetes, the list goes on and on.

And besides the health issues, being overweight is one of the last remaining socially accepted prejudices. If someone's fat it's okay to call them on it. Make them the butt of jokes. Speculate on how much weight they've gained. And don't think I don't already know that half the people on Facebook are "friending" people just to see how fat they got since high school.

So it's literally been the fight of, and for, my life.

Today I have lost 10% percent of my body weight. This is a fantastic achievement for me, yet I still have a way to go. But my eyes were opened today to a similarity between myself and addicts/alcoholics everywhere. And I am amazed it has taken me this long to realize it.

I have to battle this every day, indeed every minute, of my life. I have to maintain my "sobriety." By losing weight and achieving a "goal", I have not been "cured." I will never, EVER be cured. And due to the nature of my drug, and the inability to avoid it entirely, I must accept that there will be relapses.

I have taken the first step. I admitted I am powerless over food and that my life had become unmanageable. I came to believe that a Higher Power (and the Almighty Weight Watchers) can restore me to sanity.

Someday I will rock a pair of expensive jeans. And I will run circles around my Grandchildren.

Even if it is in a wheelchair.


Eileen, Founder, Organizer, Mayor and Chief Cook And Bottle Washer of the Anger Management Girls. said...

How true.
Ya know, I never had to worry about weight. I was the same weight at 15 as I was at 35.
Gained 14 and 17 lbs. with each child and went home from the hospital wearing my regular levi's 2 days latter. I always ate what I wanted. I was never skinny, skinny but I was 5'9" and wore a size 10 or 12 most of my life.
When I was 35, I quit smoking. Ugh. The hardest think in my life.
I now weigh 80 lbs MORE than I did when I was 9 months pregnant.
The hardest thing for me is that I never, ever had to watch a thing that I ate. I could eat all I wanted and not gain an ounce.
They say when you are 35 your motabilism changes and its harder to loose weight. Unfortunately, thats the same time I decided to quit smoking.
I never had to diet before, so it's really, really hard to know what not to eat.
So I still pretend I am a size 10. Hey, that's what I see when I look in the mirror. Most of the time it tells me I'm 30 and thin. But sometimes it tells the truth and I am like "gee, I wonder who that 51 year old heavy person is over there?"

katiebear said...

GREAT JOB on losing 10%. That is an achievement for sure. I am a fellow food addict. I have been curing my problems with food for years and I have the extra pounds to prove it. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

Nola said...

Found you via a comment on Shaggs blogg. I have really enjoyed reading some of your posts and have put you in my favourites so I can continue to follow your journey. Well done on the 10% by the way!!

Jackie said...

First of all - CONGRATULATIONS on reaching your 10% goal!!! Did you get your pretty keychain? Now get your buns into the hairdresser's for those highlights ;) I'm just a couple of pounds away from reaching my 10% as well - I'll find out just how close tomorrow night.

This was such a GREAT post, MB! We've talked about all of these same things in our WW meetings, nearly every point that you've mentioned. I am a food addict as well - I'm an emotional eater, and I'm addicted to the comfort that I find in food. Just as with alcoholism, or any other addiction, the first step is ADMITTING that there's a problem. Once it's been acknowledged, the next step is to not let it control who you are. Only YOU can control you! You owe it to yourself to live the best life that you can - and that's where WW comes in! Thankfully, it helps us confront and control this addiction - which is just as real, and dangerous as any drug.

L said...

girl, i am SO thrilled to hear about your success! i am giving you a standing ovation over here in shadyside. *clap, clap, clap*

i'm gonna Get My Pray On for you as you continue on this difficult journey. because we want you around! we want you healthy and here and happy! i mean, let's bring it back to MY needs, shall we? you need to be here and healthy. blogging away. making me smile and laugh and think and feel. and, of course, visiting my blog. (which has a new, but short, post, by the way.)

go get 'em, lady.

with love from pittsburgh...

Irishembi said...

Thanks for the congrats. One small step for (wo)man, one giant leap for fat destruction.

Eileen, quitting smoking did a doozy on me too. I quit when I got pregnant the first time at 30 so Instead of "eating for two" I ate for TWENTY-two.

Jackie, my highlights and new 'do are scheduled for Wednesday!

Laura I'll be over right quick to read. I've missed you!

Judi said... already know what I had to do to get rid of my troubles with food and weight...
You are so right...we need food to live...not booze (well..) or smokes (well...) or drugs (okay, I can agree with that).
All kidding aside...losing weight is not for sissies. Congrats to you! That is a huge accomplishment...celebrate it with a pair of some kick ass jeans (some great buys at consignment stores!) right now! Don't deserve and need immediate gratification!
And, congrats to your husband too...
I do love your style...

Keeling said...

Oh gosh that makes so much sense! I'm right there with you hun! You should be very proud of yourself. You're very inspiring@

Norkio said...

I am a recovering food addict myself and years ago, I met the goal. I thought I had it licked! I was living la vida glamoroso (I'll find some skinny pics you will die). But, one twinkie leads to two, to three, the whole box and here I am almost as heavy as I was 9 months prego. And I am struggling with it every day, just as you say. It's so true that you can't avoid the very thing that taunts you and self control isn't all that easy to maintain when you are in the throes of frustration or depression or whatever your trigger is. My smoker husband said one time "jeeze don't you have any will power?" After he got the look of death from me he silently walked out of the room. Will power indeed, you pack a day suicide.

Congratulations on your 10% MB. That is a great accomplishment and I am proud of you!