Friday, October 05, 2007

On Food and Addiction...

First of all I want to thank all of you for the amazing conversation on the last post. You have all remained respectful of others opinions and I really appreciate that. Jess is one of my bestest friends and we do not always see eye to eye. That e-mail did not JUST go to her and Shane, it went to everyone. It probably did not need to ever go out but I guess I was more upset by her reaction to it than anything because it caught me completely off guard and it really hurt my feelings.

However, I greatly appreciate that you can all carry on a debate without attacking her personally. She is a wonderful friend and has done TONS of stuff for me and I would never want to make her feel bad, intentionally or unintentionally, simply because she had a difference of opinion from me. That's one of the things I like best about our friendship is that we can disagree, and do it often. When she sees bullshit she calls it and I appreciate that. As one of our regular commenters has said so often, everyone needs a Jess!! :-)

So, with those good manners in mind I would like to open up another subject that was brought up in the previous post but I think needs a post of it's own. This was brought up by Jess but was also mentioned by a few other commenters.

Comparing dieting to Addiction.

This burns me in more ways than you can even imagine. There is NOTHING similar about someone being on a diet and someone not drinking/using because they are an addict. No... don't try to tell me there is... there is NOT!!

The only way you can even come CLOSE to comparing the two is if you have Prader-Willi Syndrome. Those people have a compulsion to eat and would in fact eat themselves into an early grave if left to their own devices. That is NOT the same as someone who just likes to eat.

Addiction is a compulsion. Something that you can not control. It is a disease. People who are addicts will spend their paycheck on drugs. They will steal to support their habit. They will use even though they know it makes them sick and they will hurt people that they love just to get their high.

When was the last time you ate until you were sick and then kept eating until you threw up? An addict will drink or do drugs until they are sick and then continue doing it until they are even more sick.

Do you steal to buy junk food? Would you spend your paycheck on junk food instead of buying gas for your vehicle or paying your utilities? Would you not bathe for three days because you were on a junk food binge and couldn't go home to shower because you were afraid you might not be able to get right back to the junk food?

Are you about to loose your job because you don't show up because you are too busy eating junk food? Does eating junk food make you not function to where you have to sleep for days after you get done eating and so you are completely non-productive?

Need I continue? Addiction is a compulsion to do something that jeopardizes someones family, friends, and possibly freedom. (Even alcoholics do things like this on binges.) Unless you can say the same thing about eating junk food I don't think the two can even be classified in the same category.


spellconjurer said...

I should think about this MUCH more before I even comment. But I'm just dense like that. So here I go, and maybe I will learn something along the way. I see Jess's comparison, in that some of the traits shared by people fighting weightloss and addiction can be perceived as similiar. Sometimes I wish I could stop eating altogether so that I don't have to make that controlled decision 3 times a day. I wish I could just ignore it altogether. But then addicts of drugs and alcohol don't get to "forget it" either. They just can't indulge it to any degree. They have to make the right decision with every urge they have. So does someone trying to diet. And diet can be a life or death situation. I am very, very overweight. Nothing I like to admit. It's as shameful as a drug addiction, and it's not as easy to hide is it? Nobody would assume Jake is an addict to see him across a parking lot. Someone would know I am a food addict if they see me, and trust me, INSTANT judgement. My father is a diabetic, using insulin injections several times a day. If he does not eat properly he will die. Every pound he is overweight, decreases his ability to live through this disease. If he goes into a diabetic shock situation, while driving, he's a liability to himself, to my mother, to anyone else on the road. Obesity can cause heart disease, and stroke, circulatory issues, and my father also faces losing his feet. Some of this can be controlled by diet. Maybe it's a situation of knowing better the situation YOU are in? OR rather I am in? I have no idea what the life of an addict is like. Except that my sister is an alcoholic and drug addict NOT in treatment. My brother is as well. They do not admit there is a problem. Then there is no issue with trying to retain sobriety. Their addiction is drugs and alcohol. Mine is food. Same personalities, different "fixes". I, through conscious decisions, daily, have lost 75lbs since January of this year. I need to do that several times over again. (oh the things I would admit on this blog and nowhere else,,,,,,,) I am walking better, feeling better, and feeling a sense of control and victory. Are those things Jake is feeling? Are those things he's done everyday? Make decisions? You are both attending AA meetings. A 12 step recovery program for people addicted to alcohol. There is a valid reason there is a program related to AA called Overeaters Anonymous: 12-step recovery program from compulsive overeating. Do I think it's as serious as a drug addiction? No. Do I think it's as valid? Yes. Jake can die from his addiction. So can an obese person. So could I. Excuse me while I go have a good cry in the corner.

Heather said...

Thank you for sharing. You have really opened up my eyes and helped me to see the point that Jess was making. Perhaps I just needed someone to explain it to me in that way!!

Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, tough questions. I like that you aren't afraid to bring up these issues and people can give honest feedback.

It seems 'addiction' is a term that has taken on broader meaning, especially by the lay public. Technically speaking, overindulgences of the non-drug kind (be it eating, shopping, gambling, etc.) are referred to as compulsions. There is much debate, but it’s generally thought that these are largely psychologically-based. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a physical component and that they aren’t VERY real, devastating problems. Because of this, many people label them as addictions.

In the traditional use of the word, addiction meant a physiological dependence on a DRUG (alcohol, prescription drugs, street drugs, etc). In the case of diabetes, poor blood sugar control secondary to over eating (or not eating) can be fatal but it is a separate mechanism than physiologic withdrawal. A diabetic who doesn’t overeat needs to track blood sugar, diet, exercise, insulin doses, etc. in the same way as one who is a compulsive overeater. Physiologic withdrawal is a different beast. Maybe your sister who has more recently studied this can explain the medical distinction? From a semantics standpoint, it’s splitting hairs.

IMHFUO, I don’t think it was wrong of Heather to suggest that the trip be alcohol/drug free given that both parties involved in the planning agreed that it should be (in part or whole) a celebration of Jake’s sobriety, especially if other social gatherings have included alcohol in the past. You know what happens when you ass.U&me. One question Jake will likely have to ask of future gatherings where he is not the guest of honor is “Will alcohol be served/consumed?” He will then have to prepare himself accordingly and decide whether or not to attend.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to comment on the last post but you closed the comments. I needed time to gather my thoughts because I knew if I commented when I read all of that it would be ill-worded.
I have been reading your blog for a while but never have commented. As a recovering addict I think I can offer a new few point or at least food for thought.
I know how much you want to protect your husband, help him in his recovery and shield him from the world around him and all of it's temptations. Believe it or not, it is my opinion you are setting him up for failure in doing so and inabling his sobriety. A huge aspect of recovery is beating the temptations. What happens when Jake goes out into the real world without your sensors and parental discretions?
Believe it or not it helped me more to be around my friends who were drinking than it did to be in a bar, or around strangers. I knew that I could not relapse with my friends because none of them would let me. Was it hard - yeah, but it's hard no matter what the situation. The addiction, recovery, sobriety, and temptations are all mine. At the end of the day there isn't anything anyone can do to keep me clean because I have to do it myself.
Now for my non-addict opinion - I don't think you can ask your friends to change who they are no matter what the occasion. If your friends would normally sit around a card table and have a few beers or have some wine with dinner than that is your friends. If JAKE is not comfortable with that than you could go alone. If your friends drink in access on a regular basis or drink enough to make Jake uncomfortable on a regular basis than maybe...sadly you should find a new circle of friends.
And lastly - If Jess is such a great friend why would you have to ask her to be respectful and more importantly why would you let people post false (?) opinions on YOUR blog. If I were her I would be very hurt.

In closing I don't think either of you are right or wrong about the question at hand. I do think your reasonings are wrong as I stated above. It's all about what Jake is comfortable with NOT about making or asking others to change their every day lives for JAKE'S addiction.

spellconjurer said...

OH I know how you feel about wanting to shelter and protect Jake. Cause I feel like that about you, or Jess when I read comments that makes me feel mad myself. Just human nature I guess.

Shane and Jessica Olson said...

Congratulations "Spell..." on your 75lbs weight loss. That is totally awesome!!! You go can do it!

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

Wow I get buried and drop off of the face of Blog for a few days and WOW!

I have to say I can see both sides! I wish I could wave my magic wand and heal the hurt that some of the commentors caused. I do not think either of you hurt each other on purpose.....but I quit reading the comments after 4 or 5 because I wanted to kick some butts for jabbing at my Blogger friends. I hope that the weekend is fun for all......crap to be honest I wish I was going :)....could I suggest that no alchol be stocked in the cabin but that if any of the other guys want to dring that they are allowed at Resteraunts or to bring in a 6 pack that is consumed in one evening.

I have a dear friend that is married to a recovering Alcoholic and I ordered a drink one night then immediately canceled my order having looked at Sam.....he said have what you want it is "my problem" not yours and "my inability to drink should not effect you" granted he had been sober for 2 years at this point.....

just food for thought here people.

J said...

I just think you should stick more to the options you mention in your Sept. 27th blog entry...don't focus so much on adapting life around what will trip Jake up. That has to be his baby now. If I were like your Jiminy Cricket, whispering in your ear to give you hope and strength and guidance, I would say something like this:

Now it's time to live your life to the fullest, and let go of your mothering instict when it comes to Jake. True, you have had to use your insticts to create certain situations for the past 11 years. The situations you got him into/kept him out of didn't let him live his life for real. You were being so strong, trying to protect him. But he has the tools to sink or swim now. Turn his life over to him.

The world won't adapt to him; he has to adapt to the world. He's been artificially protected by people around him (even if they did it out of love). But that wasn't reality. His "reality" was created or altered by others who tried to help him or cover up his problem or keep him from getting ticked off, or whatever the case may don't have to be that strong anymore. Just let go.

Sobriety is scary, because the real world is right smack in his face now. No one is coordinating the acts of the play anymore, and drugs/alcohol can't dull the pain or make it fun.

Yes, it would be nice if the world would temper their drinking, if the SuperBowl would stop advertising BudLight...but that's not reality. You just have to hope and trust that he can do this.

I think you're doing a tremedous job. Just don't lose sight of your new self and how important your dearest friendships are by going back to the old 'protective' or OVERprotective habits. That won't help anyone move forward. Keep that forward momentum, girl. You keep up the good work!!

Shane and Jessica Olson said...

Old Mother Hubbard -

You could drive up and meet us! :)

The more the merrier I say. :)

Thanks for the comments....what you said is how I feel!


Anonymous said...

OK, it's been awhile. Do I think you can compare food addiction and drug addiction.... actually you can if you are obese and continue to eat it does affect your job, your friends, your family, and your health.
Addiction is addiction drug addiction is not a sickness it is an addiction. I think you said in past blogs that if Jake had cancer could you leave him? NO COMPARISON.
Quit trying to shelter Jake the more you do that the more you set him up for relapse. Alcohol is Jakes problem not everyone else's. He is going to have to figure out how to fight the problem because it's going to ALWAYS be around. Do you not let him go to the grocery store because there is beer sold there? Do you keep him from church because they do serve wine from time to time. Do you keep him from pumping gas they sell beer there. He has to learn to live in the regular world the regular world does not need to adapt to Jake.
I believe your friends are quite supportive and if I were Jess I would've come back with the same response. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I'm not saying everyone sit around Jake and snort lines and see if he will do it but if Shane decides to have a beer while fishing let him do it. It's his vacation too.