Friday, September 5, 2008


I've sort of been jokingly calling Starbucks my "drug of choice" lately, which for some reason last night got me thinking about addiction in general. When I think about it - I've had ample opportunity to become addicted to many things...

In high school, I dabbled in smoking... but never really got into it enough to become addicted. I'd smoke a couple of times a week, but the cigarettes would always go stale before I'd ever come close to finishing half of the pack.

In college, of course I could have become addicted to alcohol. I never acquired the taste for beer, wine or hard liquor... now don't get me wrong - I did it anyway, but haven't had a drink since my 21st birthday and honestly don't miss it for even a split second.

Having had health problems over the years, and most currently three surgeries within the last year and a half... I've had ample opportunity to become addicted to pain killers - but thank God - I end up hating the delirium that comes from taking them. So I back myself off of the drugs as quickly as I possibly can as the pain subsides.

I've never been around hard drugs (pot, cocaine, heroin, or the like) so that form of addiction hasn't been tested, but I thank God every day for keeping me away from those types of substances.

Now, when I think about how I ended up being 167 pounds overweight - I wonder if my food issues were addiction, but really I have to say that I don't believe that was the case at all.

I happened to grow up with a mother that truly believed and lived as if food were love... in any case - she would cook something to make someone feel better or to show them her love. (She did love in other ways too) So somewhere along the way - I learned those behaviors.

I also use food to calm my nerves... whenever I'm stressed, sad, angry, or even when something goes really well - I typically react by eating or cooking something "special." Whenever I want to show John love... I go to those same habits.

Whenever we get together with family for any sort of gathering - there is always a cake... and food... so it's absolutely cultural.

The only difference is that my body wasn't built to handle that, and I wasn't ever an active child. I could have been, but my mother for whatever reason let me quit most of my dance or sports activities whenever I didn't want to perform in front of others. I'm sure that it's hard when your child looks at you with sad eyes and is terrified of being in front of people... but I hope that I'm able to encourage my children to move past those fears. Or better yet, maybe they'll get John's lack of fear in those areas instead.

I guess the point of this post is more self reflection of my food demons - because surgery certainly doesn't fix the hard parts of our bodies. It gives us a tool to use in order to break free from those habits, but the hard part is fixing our minds and changing our habits.

I've always struggled with changing my habits - I go along doing really well for a while, but then one little thing throws off my schedule or routine... and once that apple cart is upset - it's all over. I'm such an all or nothing type person... and I've been this way with everything I've ever done.

Every diet I've ever been on has been similar - I'd do great for a while, then slip up... and then from there it's all over. I just give up. This surgery has given me the ability to at least in terms of eating have a physical sign that I'm eating to much... and thank goodness in the last 10 months - I've only pushed that limit a couple of times.

I am so incredibly hard on myself... but it's because the stakes are so high for me... it's the chance for a family... or more diabetes and blood pressure problems... so here I go trying to get back on track with a little more limits on what I have around to eat. I will plan everything to take to work with me, and I won't have a whole kitchen full of food talking to me all day.


  1. I dunno, Kim. I think I disagree ever so slightly or maybe not and I'll tell you why. I'm just going to hash this out for fun for a moment.

    When you said this "I also use food to calm my nerves... whenever I'm stressed, sad, angry, or even when something goes really well - I typically react by eating or cooking something "special."

    That was me with cigarettes. They were my stress reliever, my celebrator, when I was mad, OMG, give me one NOW! Even when I was bored.

    I used to smoke a pack a day, then cut way back, and even quit a couple of times but it didn't always last (sounds a bit like dieting, and of course, I did that too!). Yet, I never saw myself as a nicotine addict, but as someone with a habit. Some people bite their nails, I smoked. Are nail biters addicts?

    Even now, I only smoke a cigarette every now and once every couple of weeks. Am I am addict or am I just having trouble breaking a bad habit completely?

    Interesting discussion!

  2. You pose a good point, but emotional eating is such a complex issue - because it's not a physical addiction... even now - I could take or leave food and really only know that I'm hungry when I get a bad headache... but I absolutely love to make special things for John to make him feel loved... so I think that's different than an addiction situation.

  3. I'll do whatever I can to help you! Just let me know :)

  4. One of the things I did to prepare for surgery was attend Overeater's Anonymous meetings, and I *really* struggled with the idea of overeating as an addiction. I don't see it as a dependency like cocaine, but I think it *is* a behavioral addiction if that makes sense. It's a habit so ingrained that it *functions* as an addiction nonetheless.

    And I've heard it said that some people have addictive personalities and are prone to dependency issues. I think that's true, and I've seen several folks move from one type of dependency to the next. That's why "transfer addictions" are so prevalent in RNY patients.

    Who knows... all we can do is break the old habits, no matter what we call them.

  5. I didn't even know there was such a thing as over eaters anonymous...what is it like?


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