Addiction has nothing to do with drugs. You read that right. Addiction is all about finding an external source of comfort, happiness, etc. Therefore, it might be drugs but, it might also be food, sex, video games, and so on. And, as a person in recovery from drugs (specifically opiates, amphetamines, benzos, sleeping pills – pretty much anything and everything), I’m clear that I have the disease of addiction and currently, my DOC is food.
In fact, food was probably my very first drug of choice in life. My mom likes to *try* to embarrass me by telling my friends and suitors that, as a child, all she’d have to do was tap on my highchair tray at meal times and I’d come running for it. Also, I was always a willing guinea pig with trying new foods – a role I would again play as a teen and young adult only with substances, instead. Even as a toddler, when we, as people-to-be are more likely to be picky with what we eat. Looking back, I think, my parents should have known I’d grow up to be an addict. Just saying.
When I say that I’m a person in recovery, I mean that I work a 12 step program. Because of that, I have learned to take a good look at myself: my thoughts, behaviors, actions, and motives. That said, I totally can recognize that food has become my obsession, once again. I have food addiction.
Food is my drug of choice. This is what I mean by that. I think about food to the point where I plan my day around meals. Once I think about a certain snack or treat (craving) I justify and make excuses to go and buy that thing. And I can’t really stop thinking about it (obsessive thoughts) until I consume it.
And therein lies the disease of addiction: A physical craving and mental obsession.
Food is a reward to me. Just like the drugs once were. I’d think, “I should skip dessert tonight because I’d like to lose a couple of pounds.” But then my next thought would be, “But I’m a good person, I helped someone today. Why should I punish myself by not allowing myself to have that piece of cake?”
I have an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s baffling to me how people can view and use food solely for what it’s truly meant to be: fuel for the brain and body. To me, it’s a reward. A source of pleasure; comfort. And, likewise, not eating is a form of punishment.
And just like my drugs of choice in the past, once I start eating, I can’t really stop. I will eat beyond feeling satisfied because, food just tastes too damn good to me. I could go all day without eating but, once I decide to eat something, it’s often difficult for me to simply stop when I’m full. Again, this is just like my drug addiction: one is too many and a thousand is never enough.
At least with drugs, I know I can’t do them. At all. With food, I have to eat, to sustain myself. It’s the stopping part that gets me.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.