Friday, July 12, 2013

Addiction, Food Only Fit for Relatives..

Addiction. I'm prone to it. I'm definitely what you'd call an 'addictive personality', and as I progress through life, it's becoming more obvious to me how I latch onto a thing, then another. It's like my brain is always scanning for the next whatever to make me feel amazing.

Unlike Mog, who just gets himself there with a bit of meditation and the most frail winter sunbeam.

At times I've directed myself toward a relatively healthy, or at least not madly destructive obsession: for example, the pursuit of a fitness goal, a business endeavour or when I am going deep with a complicated concept in my studies.  At other times I can veer toward epic self-destruction.

The major addiction of my life was to overeating, although calorie counting and scale-watching took over for a while. I've been addicted to the internet, to buying stuff, various substances and, once or twice, I've become addicted to / dependent on the presence or attention of a person.  That last one is a major P.I.A.

I believe that the right combination of circumstance+personality could create an addiction to almost anything, and I feel empathy for people that are hooked on something.  It's not necessarily the 'thing; it's what it does to you - the biochemical rush, the withdrawal.  Whether that is instigated by an external (e.g. drugs) or internal chemical is irrelevant, in my opinion.  The sign of addiction is when something goes from fun to a desperate and involuntary need/craving.  I've learned to catch the initial signs of an addiction developing and most times I can stop it.   Most times. 

One thing I have figured out is that if I have a goal in my sights, and am being thwarted (what a word.. thwarted, it sounds so stage-actor dramatic), that's when I am most likely to get my kicks in less healthy ways.  It's as if my brain processes, unable to go full bore in the desired direction, turn back on me. Lately I've had a bit of that: obstacles in my path.

I was musing on this today in the supermarket.  Last week I got pissed off my level of alcohol consumption and stopped.  A couple of nights I found I'd drunk a bottle of wine by myself, which is new, and I got mightily sick of doing things I'd rather not (drunk Facebooking? not awesome) and of feeling slightly depressed all the time.  Time for a break. Usually that's no biggie.

However, as I was driving to the supermarket I was surprised that my mind got excited to be heading in the direction of the wine.  I could feel my body acting up. While shopping, I was forcefully arguing my thoughts away from the wine dept., having trouble remembering my list, and felt kind of shaky. When I left without any vino, my brain got sad and all my energy faded away.  I felt seriously grumpy all evening. I ate a lot of chocolate.

Observing my thoughts on the issue, I think the best thing is to take an even longer break (nooooo).  That's the way to deal with an almost-addiction. Abstinence is really the only way.  For addictions, the method that works for me is to control what I can, and that's the behaviour. I don't believe in wasting energy trying to control an involuntary thought pattern. You have to act contrary to what your thoughts and deepest feelings are telling you to do (difficult, yes, very), and eventually those thoughts and feelings come on board. It's a little different to other achievements, where it is often possible to first direct your thoughts on a new path. 

Why mention any of this? From what I've seen, addictive behaviours and obsessions are relatively common in people that have struggled with weight or eating. I just wanted to put it out there. I may be slim now, but inside, I'm still a true and committed weirdo, just like you, and have to manage my crazy brain on a daily basis.  Any questions or comments?

We shall now discuss slightly deficient gnocchi.

You know when you make something and it just doesn't turn out quite as anticipated, even though you have your domestic goddess apron on?

My plan was kumara gnocchi.  I didn't realise that one of the kumara was a purple one, and therefore the colour was suspect.

The gnocchi looked ok, but once the cooking started, I became a bit worried.

It's a texture thing. They didn't really firm up enough and were more like blobs of glue (mmmm.. glue...). If the dinner guest had been anyone but my mum, the evening would have become pizza night. But we persisted.

Cheese sauce and a hunk of blue cheese almost made it good.

Not really.  I hope the chocolate caramel pie comes out better (t minus 2 hours for that - it's chilling right now). Pics tomorrow, if there is any left ;)



  1. TOTALLY get what you are saying here.... I'm SO similar in regards to an addictive personality ;)

  2. Honora10:36 am

    Hi Sara My sister is a bit like that. She gets obsessed with a series of things, whether it's creating amazing ornate clothes for her granddaughters, cooking, exercising or losing weight. She's a bit bi-polar.

    Regarding the wine. I don't usually drink (Dry July is a bit of a joke for me) but one week I had drank a glass of red wine on 2 separate occasions and during the weekend while I was away tramping, I craved red wine so I haven't really drunk it since as I don't want to be subject to any form of craving - especially when I'm tramping.

    George Henderson (the High Fat Hep C Diet) linked to this song about addictions in his blog:

  3. Blogger hates me, it keeps eating my comments. I wrote something Very Important yesterday about addiction and...stuff. And I know I said you looked cute in your apron, but I forget the rest. *sigh*

  4. Totally agree with everything you wrote on addiction......I am exactly the same. Even to the point....if 'on track'.....I genuinely don't want to sabotage it with overeating/sugar etc...and have lasted weeks/months like that...even quite easily. But when too many obstacles/day to day issues etc get the way.....I tend to turn back to the bingeing default and all it's consequences in a real bad way.

    If given say a box of gourmet chocolates....I either 1) eat them all at once, 2) give them away to someone else or 3) see how long they last, (such as 1 a day or 2 every second day). Option 3 and it's control aspect usually gets best results I find. I think long term control would be a day to day thing!

  5. It's nice to see that there are positive things you can focus your addictive personality on. Thanks for sharing!


I love to hear from you! Tell me what's in your brain, your heart or your dinner plate :D.