Monday, September 1, 2014

The Sugar Witch

That's the name Mrs. D used for it. I like it. I did a double-take this morning when I read this post on her blog, where she opened by saying she gave herself a B- in something. So funny, since I wrote a post saying the exact same thing yesterday.

The Sugar Witch is something one of my daughters and one of my closest friends struggle with in a very painful way. The way I deal with her is similar to how I deal with wine:  as close to total abstinence as possible. It's easier that way, if I just say, "I don't eat crap" like I say, "I don't drink." I made the mistake of saying that to someone who's been sober in AA for some time, and he went off on me, lecturing me about how you won't kill someone after eating a bowl of ice cream and driving. Sigh...

So I keep quiet about the similarities between food addiction and alcohol addiction now, but I think they're considerable. I remember years ago, long before I started drinking alcoholically, my dad was telling me about a study where they showed alcoholics and non-alcoholics the same short film clip, in which two people were having dinner, finished and got up and left. The alcoholics who watched all noticed -- and were bothered by -- the fact that they people left their wine glasses half full, while the non-alcoholics didn't notice.

At the time, I never noticed unfinished drinks in movies or TV, but I did notice uneaten food that looked appetizing. I understood that dialogue needs required people to talk rather than chew, so they couldn't eat it, but it used to bother me anyway. When my dad told me about that study, I realized that I had addictive tendencies toward food. Well, realized is the wrong word. I'd known that all my life. I never had anorexia or bulimia, but food was always on my radar screen -- how much I ate, how much other people ate, how much I wanted to eat, what other people would think if they saw how much I ate, and so on.

I'm not sure why, but somewhere along the line, I stopped being obsessed with food. After a lifetime of struggling to keep my weight down, it is now stable without struggle. Effort, yes, but struggle, no. Just when women stereotypically put on weight -- over 40 and after kids -- I suddenly became a thin person inside as well as out.

I sometimes wonder if I just switched addictions, trading food for alcohol. It wasn't too long after my weight maintenance became easy that I started to drink too much. I suppose food is a safer addiction, but alcohol is an easier addiction to overcome, for me at least, because total abstinence is possible, whereas it isn't with food. You can give up alcohol entirely, but you still have to eat.

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