Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finishing up "Anatomy of a Food Addiction" by Anne Katherine

Tonight is the last meeting for my support group, so the assignment was to read Chapters 8 and 9 in the book. Chapter 8 is called "Help!" and has some basic guidelines for choosing a therapist and finding other resources for outside help.

Chapter 9 is called "Dear Beloved". It is addressed to the loved one of a person who struggles with food addiction. It touches on what food addiction is like and also goes through a day of what it's like to be an overweight person, from the struggle to find something to wear in public to the fear of comments from strangers everywhere he or she goes. It really breaks everything down for easy understanding and includes sections on sabotage, recovery, weight loss and support. Though Mr. Salted is very supportive, he has never had a weight problem, so I think this section of the book will be really useful for him.

I have really been impressed by this book. Before joining this group, I had seen it around and never seriously thought about picking it up. It touches on every conceivable issue imaginable other than weight-loss surgery, but I think that contributes to its effectiveness, as weight-loss surgery is a whole other can of worms. When it comes to addiction and hard-wired, lifelong habits, the brain is the thing that has to be worked on before a lifestyle change can truly be embraced. I'm glad I read this book, but it is a little discouraging to have to admit that my food issues will be something I am forced to wrestle with for the rest of my life, fat or thin--just like any other recovering addict. I also fear cross-addiction, because if it feels good, I like it too much. That's just built into the organism.

The rest of the book deals with anorexia and bulimia, hitting bottom, relapse, abstinence, and concludes with a chapter on fullness. (Fullness as Katherine discusses it means full spiritually and emotionally, not just literal fullness with food.) She suggests that if a relapse occurs, it is simply because there is not enough support in place for the addict, and suggests ways to provide that.

I don't know if I want to continue going to groups, and I definitely don't think a twelve-step group is the answer for me. I'm not a good group person. It's hard for me to look everyone in the eye, and if I feel really bad--like I did on the anniversary of my friend's death--I'm not going to show up at a group session. I would have gone to an individual session, though--I guess there is less pressure to perform in a way--you can be down in your own self-absorbed pit of despair and not have to be polite or empathize with others. Sometimes, I'll just say it--it's a relief to not have to think about other people when you're working through hard stuff of your own.

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This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other words...life.
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