Obsessions other than alcohol!

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Ken_the_Geordie
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Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:11 pm

Hi all,

I was blessed with the obsession to work the Steps fairly quickly and I had my obsession with alcohol removed at what I think was quite an early stage in sobriety. I wish I kept a diary (as I was advised to do by Anne, but never did) so I could be more specific, but it was shortly after my Step 5 - between two-and-three months sober - and I realised one afternoon that I had given alcohol little or no thought that day, and I was like, "Wow, my obsession is gone; it's true that I can live sober" and I entered a phase of what some call the 'pink cloud' and others call 'God's grace'. I'm still there a little, and I'm enjoying it. Why not eh?

But... I now seem to be developing an obsession for food! Whilst I was an active alcoholic I ate little and rarely, and I now eat regularly and often. I can even see patterns in my eating developing and I'm now joking with Mrs Ken_the_Geordie that I don't like to eat on an empty stomach. :oops:

I've put on about a stone on since I've stopped drinking, which is fine, I was underweight, but if I continue I will be overweight; which is far far far better than being a active alcoholic.

However, I try hard to maintain my spiritual fitness in all the suggested ways; though I am far from perfect. I understand that 'perfection' is impossible, it's just an aspiration, and I can be un-spiritual, selfish, self seeking and bad-tempered as the next man at times. Progress, not perfection.

But I would like to hear anyone's ESH on the subject of eating after recovery, or alternate obsessions! I sort of get the feedback at meetings that if you're still obsessive about something unhealthy, there's a weakness in your programme. How true do you think this is and how do you identify if there is a weakness?
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Karl R
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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by Karl R » Sat Mar 20, 2010 5:59 pm

Hey Ken,

Like you diet in recovery has been an issue for me. When I quit drinking I was the proud owner of a vast beer gut. I shelled out at approximately 260 pounds on a 5'8" frame. When I was given the grace to stop drinking I lost weight. A LOT of weight. In fact...I got down to 160 lbs in less then 3 months. All my clothes hung on me. I was commuting between two households, working hard through the summer months and wasn't making time to cook or eat properly. Plus I'd cut out the equivalent calories of 24 16 oz cans of beer per day. I got a little concerned and went to my physician. He asked what had changed and I said I quit drinking. He replied "now start eating". So I did.

I'm now at the point again where I may need to start thinking about diet again. My physician who once told me "now start eating" has told me "now stop eating so much". :mrgreen:

Is it an obsession? I don't think so. I'm not eating to escape my problems in the same way I did when I was drinking. There is no resentment, fear, or relationship problem there. None of the four horsemen are giving me mental reason or excuse to eat. With alcoholism the main problem for me centered in my mind(the obsession to drink). With food I'm not dominated by thoughts or feelings about food. I'm not using food as a way to escape other things which dominate my mind. I've not lost the power of choice over it. It's more of a character defect that I'm going to have to surrender to my HP.

You asked...
how do you identify if there is a weakness?
The answer for me is "does this get in the way of me being of maximum usefulness to those around me?" If so then it's something I should work on (or allow my HP to work on as it were). If not...it's all good clean gourmet fun!

cheers,
Karl

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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by jak » Sat Mar 20, 2010 6:03 pm

I was skinny when I joined at 135 lbs I am now more than double that and it is hurting me. I may need a hip replacement. My problems with addictions makes recovery from that risky. My return to addictions threatens my sobriety.

I found that many of my food obsessions are due to the fact that many food additives are addictive. Sugar is chemically similar to alcohol. White flour is too refined for digestion and I get hungier when I eat huge meals that include sugars and refined flour. I also avoid MSG for the same reasons.

I get thirstier when I drink alcohol - I get hungrier when I eat sugar and flour products. Its not hard to see a connection. MSG is added for 'flavor' - yeah...right... not because it makes us hungry for more... hmmm

Protein - meats, cheeze, nuts, etc fill me and satisfy me IF I do not add refined sugars and flour. Vegies and fresh fruits and healthy oils are on my plate now. Whole cream and whole milk, olive oil, and nothing that proclaims 'LOW FAT' on the package. I escheww a low fat plan. I lost 40 lbs eating meat with fat - whole packages of bacon at a sitting. But I later added "Just one candy bar after a meal. That's all, just one..." Cravings developed and I did not return to the low carb plan that had proven itself. Until the current crisis that is. The sugar that bacon is cured with may have been a contributing factor in my craving for candy.

I avoid some meat fats if they are from feedlot animals because of the chemicals that many ranchers have been taught to use. The chemicals are suspected to carry over to the fat of the animal.

Healthy foods and plenty of them is my current plan. Don't even mention the word 'calorie' or 'low fat' to me as I will discount everything you have to say afterwards. When I eat this way - with adequate protene and fresh vegetables, fruits-nuts and dairy I become satiated and am able to go hours without hunger.

Desert? Frozen berries with whole cream which freezes upon contact into a sweet - no sugar - no chemical sugar substitute- ice CREAM. Slice on some fresh banana for added potassium. Yummy!

jimk

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tasman
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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by tasman » Sat Mar 20, 2010 10:09 pm

I ate two large blocks of chocolate a few days ago when I was upset and tired. I was a bit worried that it was addictive behaviour; then I thought - if I need to eat the same again tomorrow or eat more than that, then I know I've got a problem. So I haven't had any chocolate since then and have hardly thought about it except to remember when I read this post.
With alcohol, I spent most of my time thinking how I was going to get some.... I don't feel guilty about eating chocolate, I imagine it's like how a non-alcoholic feels about drinking alcohol. Sometimes they over-indulge but it doesn't cause problems.

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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by Steven F » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:17 am

I do almost everything I do obsessively. Until I notice it is going nowhere, and I can hand it over. Smoking is a very notable exception at the moment 8). Haven't reached my bottom on that one yet, it seems.

But, Ken, why not take a shortcut and go see a dietician / nutritionist? That way, you can get a good idea of what is "normal" eating (you won't get it from your own experience, from the Mrs. or from us). If you try that (normal eating, not dieting), and it doesn't work, then you can tell if you have a problem or not.

It probably is an investment well worth it.

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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by ann2 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:24 am

After years of not eating and not knowing how, I find my body enjoys the simple things. A good meal. A snack. Something to munch on. When I start filling out my pants, I stop eating so much.

Is there anything I do obsessively? Yea -- criticize! And that sure is a defect and gets in the way of helping others. I use everything I learn in AA to treat it and see it all the time in myself.

If only I could stop like when I stop eating, when my pants get too tight.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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martin08
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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by martin08 » Tue Mar 23, 2010 5:36 am

Are internet Forums addictive? :D

LucasM
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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by LucasM » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:54 pm

Without alcohol I have to eat tons of candy. I have to get the sugar from something else. :roll:

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Karl R
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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by Karl R » Tue Mar 23, 2010 6:08 pm

How have you been Lucas? Other then the new taste for sweets. :D

cheers,
Karl

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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by Rebecca V » Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:32 pm

Ah, great post! I know several people (especially women) who have struggled with food since getting sober. I myself have the same sort of struggle. All of my adult life I have been dedicated to fitness (running, weight training, yoga) in spite of drinking. It wasn't until I began the journey to sobriety that I started having trouble maintaining my fitness level. A few relapses back into drinking came complete with binge eating and ignoring my love of the gym. Very weird. I know a couple people who have said that they approach food with the 12 step approach (ie; powerless over sugary foods). I know very few who are like myself and make fitness an integral part of their sobriety.

So maybe you could start doing some studying of nutrition and fitness? Kinda like when we are in early sobriety (or like me, starting over - 3 months now) and we do lots of reading and writing about recovery and working the steps. Or do some reading about cross-addiction. This was something that was taught in rehab and I am so glad. It is very real for those of us who get addicted to one thing to easily become addicted to another. BALANCE!

Hope this helps. And if not, I hope it helps to know that I totally understand!

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Ken_the_Geordie
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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by Ken_the_Geordie » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:03 pm

Thanks all for your input; it's nice to know it's not only me that has transferred one obsession for another, albeit a less damaging one to something more of an overindulgence than an actual obsession.

Karl: Thanks for giving me that personal measure of my spiritual fitness, as in does it affect my ability to be useful to others. That's great, and I've not heard of that before, and it is a good all-round reminder of why I'm on this planet.

Jak: Nice pudding, but I can't do the meat only thing; I'm a lentil-eating veg head; and I have been so for a few years now; with the exception of the odd relapse on doner kebabs when I was drinking. Mrs Ken_the_Geordie is a vegetarian which effectively made me one, but I like animals - not just the cute looking ones - so I do prefer not to eat them even if they do taste nice with plenty of chilli sauce on.

Martin: Yes they are! :mrgreen:

Lucas: When I first stopped drinking I used to 'shot-gun' chocolate bars, and although I'm far from being as bad as I was, I'm still not great. I rarely touched sweet things when I was drinking, but now I eat a chocolate bar as part of my lunch and always usually have something sweet after dinner; and maybe sometimes in-between too.

Rebecca: I'm fairly clued up on nutrition and learning more won't help me. I think my problem is glandular to be honest... I've got this gland that makes me a right greedy git! And you're dead right about finding 'balance', I've always had that problem (probably in common with many alcoholics). I've somehow ended up with two homegroups, for example!

Anyway, I plan to start running again but I smoke heavily and running and smoking - now I'm middle-aged - don't seem to mix very well. So I'm going to stop smoking in conjunction with running...

At least that's the plan (HP is giggling already - I know I know) and I just know it's all going to go horribly wrong! :mrgreen:
I'm more commonly known as Tosh (it's a nick name, but everyone I know in real life calls me it); just in case there's any confusion; I tend to use Tosh or Ken interchangeably and it confuses some; including me. ;-)

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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by jak » Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:09 pm

Jim K wrote:
Vegies and fresh fruits and healthy oils are on my plate now. Whole cream and whole milk, olive oil,
Meat only? I didn't say that.

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ann2
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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by ann2 » Thu Mar 25, 2010 12:48 am

Ann: get a grip girl.

Ann
"If I don't take twenty walks, Billy Beane send me to Mexico" -- Miguel Tejada

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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by Chris S. » Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:55 am

I have found in recovery that I go through "obsessions" all of the time. When I first got sober it was golf, then clothes, then cars, school, all sorts of things. And of course sweets, the funny things about recovering from alcoholism, I never ate dessert before I stopped drinking, then it seems like I always have dessert.

For me, I think it is that I spent so much of my life obsessed with getting drunk that I missed out on everything life has to offer. Even in eating. When I was drinking, I ate really only out of neccessity, never to "enjoy" a meal. When I got sober, it seemed like I was chasing all of these things I denied myself at a fever pitch. It seems to have mellowed out over the years, partly because I'm maturing, partly because some of these 'obsessions' have created their own set of problems.

The thing that I am grateful for the most, is that I do not have the drink obsession today. That is the one that took away all of my chances at anything worthwhile in life. AA has given me a way to see and solve my life's problems today, whereas I used to just simply trade my small problems for bigger ones. If I indulge a little in this or that today, I am a little easy on myself. I insist on enjoying life today. Yes, I have to watch out for excessiveness and the reality of cross-addiction. But staying sober is always number one on my plate. If I continue to work on the program, and remain teachable, the other stuff seems to find it's proper prospective.

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Re: Obsessions other than alcohol!

Post by tasman » Fri Mar 26, 2010 12:34 pm

I've got this gland that makes me a right greedy git!
I wouldn't have put it quite so bluntly - but, me too!
I've always been a gulper and a gobbler. Even now when I drink non-alcoholic drinks I am the first finished. Maybe we could form a new group - "Greedy gits anonymous" :D

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