I have known many people in my family to be addicted to different substances and activities, as well, as artist and writer friends. These addictions include gambling, shopping, alcohol, tobacco, drugs, sugar and food. Sad to say, the two dearest people, who were related to me, that were addicted to drugs, fell into IV drug use and died from the complications of AIDS. Alcohol is an ugly disease that consumes many creative, sensitive and emotional people. It is a nervous system depressant and people with that affliction often also suffer from depression. Right along with alcohol comes sugar which also effects the emotions and can lead to sudden blood sugar level drops, that verge on making one depressed. And then, there is food.
Back in the 90's I took my weight so seriously that I enrolled in a hospital-supervised super low calorie liquid diet. We consumed about 800 calories a day, for months. I know those diets are not highly thought of today but I did lose 55 pounds and kept it off for three years until I got pregnant. We had weekly group counseling sessions around our food issues. I developed a platonic friendship with a young man there. He was over 500 pounds. He had a shining spirit that came through, despite his addiction. The last time I saw him though, he had just had weight-loss surgery but he was at Walgreens telling me how to ‘game the system’ so to speak. He was buying chocolate and candies for himself to feed his addiction. I haven’t seen him in a while. He is my neighbor but seldom comes outside the house.
Alcoholism is something I consider a familial trait that has luckily passed over me. I have never had a problem with the stuff. That may be as a result of watching people I love dearly suffer with it. It can be a battle right to the death and it ruins relationships, your looks and health. A lot of people have found solace and some hope through Alcoholics Anonymous. Recently, I have heard of a new approach to addictions of all kinds called Harm Reduction. Whereas in the A’s (anonymous groups) you are advised to abstain completely, harm reduction advocates encourage moderation. I say, whatever floats your boat—the key is just facing up to what you have and then working at overcoming.
No one likes to admit they are addicted. It has a sort of ugly way of rolling off the tongue. My battle with weight and food issues has led me to try several different alternative approaches, one of which includes joining Overeaters Anonymous. Before going to the group, I had to wrestle with the concept of being an over-eater or in other words, a food addict. Like I said, it doesn't roll off the tongue or the mind easy, in fact as you say it out loud it sort of burns the tongue. It is hard to admit. I have tried EFT (emotional freedom technique) or tapping and hypnosis, both of which are also used for smoking cessation.
Lately, I have leaned on abstinence from triggers, such as gum chewing, added sugars, artificial sugars, simple carbohydrates and processed foods. All of these substances leave me wanting more, more, more! Gum keeps your intestines in digestion mode but your stomach rebels because it is not receiving any food—leading to gastrointestinal distress. I’ll tell you what, abstinence is no fun at all, especially when it means abstaining from chocolate—my favorite food group!
I almost hate writing this post however because I haven’t really thought about missing sugar or chocolate lately. With abstinence, slowly but surely your addiction devil seems to fade and then it disappears for hours, days and then weeks at a time. Getting back to how I started this post, mentioning some of the various types of addiction, I don’t think one is more serious than the other. They all have the capacity to have a very negative impact on all aspects of your life.