Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coffee, Cocaine and Cupcakes?

In the earliest years of AA sugar was "prescribed" as part of the recovery plan. The Big Book suggests keeping hard candy on hand as a quick remedy when craving a drink.  It probably worked because there is a high sugar content in alcohol. Ditto for smokers since a lot of tobacco was cured with sugar. The thought was always to address the most dangerous addiction first and alcohol has always seemed more threatening than candy.

For years we've heard jokes in 12-step meetings, "I never got arrested for driving while eating" and we also still hear the sometimes joke and sometimes lament that, "I don't have a six pack at night anymore, now I just have a bag of cookies or a half-gallon of ice cream." But slowly, ever so slowly the laughter is subsiding.

More and more we know that the addiction to food --and particularly sugar --is just as dangerous and disabling as the addiction to alcohol or drugs. Still deadly--just slower and maybe with even more shame. Culturally we have come to see alcoholism as a disease but overweight and obesity are still judged as signs of sloth.

And it's painful.

My first addiction was sugar and my first recovery was with food. My alcoholism was hiding in ice cream and cake and sugary pink and pale green drinks. Whipped cream was always an accomplice. So it took years to unpack the layers of addiction, habit and shame.

In today's New York Times Abby Ellin reports on changes in some treatment programs which are addressing food and sugar addictions alongside chemical dependency. Take a look at  her short article in the link below and especially the last couple of paragraphs which quote Christopher Kennedy Lawford.


No comments: