View Full Version : addiction or compulsion
04-19-2011, 11:14 PM
My name is Maria, and I am new to FAA. Today is day 7 of abstinence for me, and I am hopeful that I have found an answer to prayer. The program makes so much sense to me, and I want to embrace it fully. What concerns me is that I am not experiencing any withdrawal or cravings to sugar, flour or wheat. I also didn't have the symptoms of addiction while eating them. What I DID have was an awful cycle of binging for weeks at a time, dieting for a week, losing weight, messing up for one day, and then binging again, gaining all the weight and more, and on and on. I never ate too much in front of other people, but would love to eat when I was all alone (most of the times even hiding from my family). I would eat until my stomach would hurt so much that I would have to lie down and sleep. Then when I would awaken, I would actually eat again.
I know I need help with this, and I feel I am ready to surrender this addiction and to follow the FAA way of life, but these doubts that maybe I don't "fit the bill" completely as an addict concern me. Is it possible I am compulsive and not addicted. I have tried to use a food plan that included s/w/f, but I was unsuccessful every time.
Can anyone enlighten me on this? I would really appreciate it.
Thank you so much.
Maria in Albania
04-20-2011, 05:49 PM
First of all well done for making it through your first 7 days of abstinence! I am new too (today has been my 4th day of abstinence) and have never posted before but I recognised some of my behaviours in what you said; I would always eat until I felt sick, sleep or more accurately pass out, then eat more. Weight gain would cause me to exercise and restrict furiously to lose it. Over the past year or so my behaviour with food has become more and more extreme and I have dabbled with dangerous behaviours lilke purging. I work with homeless people in Northern Ireland who use different substances at all levels and it is only while working with addicts that I have recognised addiction in my own life. The mental side of addiction is said to be made up of two things: obsession and compulsion. Perhaps your eating is not at a level to create withdrawal but if you are experiencing a compulsive need it seems you are right to take control now. I finally looked at myself and realised I am obsessed with food, whether thats in restricting it or eating as much of it as possible.
Maybe I am speaking out of turn as I am brand new to this area of support and am still trying to understand it but I wouldnt worry too much about whether you fit the bill exactly and focus your energy on regaining control of your life by eliminating this destructive pattern and removing foods hold over you. Something obviously caused you to seek out a food addiction programme as I did, and I wish you all the best in the world with it.
04-21-2011, 12:08 AM
Hello Maria, and welcome!
The symptoms that you describe (a cycle of binging and dieting, secret eating, etc.) seem to fit the bill of a food addict, as they are similar to my own experience. I was also blessed when I started my abstinence to not have cravings symptoms for a long time. My main withdrawal symptom during the first 4-6 weeks was that I needed to sleep--A LOT!
When I joined this program, I also questioned whether I was a food addict because my cravings weren't constant and consistent. A wise person told me--only you can know--try it for 30 days and see how you feel. What I found was that my mind cleared, my emotions came into a peaceful state, my sleep cycles normalized and, most notably, I was able to STICK WITH IT (which I had lost my ability to do with all the other diets I had gone on). I became convinced it was for me and haven't looked back.
Welcome and I hope that this program blessesyou the way that it has blessed me. Life has only gotten better and better for me since joining.
Online committee welcome member
04-21-2011, 03:32 PM
Thank you Carrie and Oragold for your words of encouragement. What you have written makes sense. Today is day 8, and I am amazed at how right it feels. I find myself appreciating the wholesomeness of the foods I am eating. I'm really enjoying veggies and fruits, not to mention the protein and dairy. What a different feeling I have after eating an abstinent meal than when I used to eat unhealthy foods with s, w, and f. Maybe it's true that "You are what you eat." :) I find that I feel satisfied and am able to wait for the next meal or MA.
Your advice to give it 30 days and then assess how I feel is very good. I think I will do just that, one day at a time.
Have a wonderful, abstinent day.
Maria in Albania
04-21-2011, 05:32 PM
Thank you all for your sharing and input, and now I don't feel so much like an odd ball. Isn't it wonderful to know that we are not alone, and that others have experienced similar circumstances. I too did not seem to have the customary withdrawel symptoms that others have mentioned, but on the other hand did a lot of the crazy behavior around the food. I am sure I don't need to go into all of that here. It was actually when I started answering the questions in our step book, that I knew I was a food addict. That really helped me, and then the fact that there is a solution to my ridiculous eating. Learning about the bichemical aspect of the disease was very enlightening, as well, and what a wonder to finally know the miracle of no longer having cravings for foods once I stopped taking in the sugar, flour, and wheat. Life is wonderful today and I have a new way of life centered around abstinent food, wonderful, colorful, nutritious, healthy food. Just for today, I want to remain healthy, and free. Thank you all for sharing.
04-22-2011, 05:39 AM
Yes, I agree: it is wonderful to know that we are not alone. I am finding a lot of encouragement and hope in this forum, as well as the FAA Loop. I can really see the importance of it. By myself, it would be too easy to cheat a bit here and there, and then to spiral downward.
I like planning colorful meals--it really makes it appealing. The bright orange of carrots, the vibrant red peppers and celery. Then there's lovely green asparagus and brussel sprouts. Wholesome foods really are appealing.
As each day goes by, with the help of your answers, I am more and more convinced that I am an addict. Nothing else has worked in helping me with my out of control eating patterns. Thanks for being there, and thanks for listening.
Maria in Albania
04-24-2011, 05:09 AM
I hope you're continuing to do well following the food plan which eliminates sugar/flour/wheat from your body. It says in the FAA Green Book (the "text" for FAA) in the chapter entitled "Withdrawal and Beyond" that some people experience no withdrawal symptoms, so your experience isn't completely uncommon. Probably more people do have symptoms during detox than don't; you're right in that, I think.
What I found helpful was to look for things I had in common with people in FAA, rather than comparing and finding differences. "Identify, don't compare" is a 12 Step program slogan I particularly like because the addict in me would love to find reasons why I don't belong here, or~ especially ~ don't need to follow the food plan. Fortunately, there's a stronger "recovery self" that was able to share my doubts and concerns with others when I was new, just as there is in you, Maria. Our willingness to share is really instrumental in our budding recovery, so please... do keep coming, and do keep sharing what's on your heart.
If you haven't seen it yet, there's a very good page here on the FAA website listing the characteristics of the food addict:
If you can find yourself in some of these characteristics, then I'd start coming to meetings as soon as possible. FAA has four types of meetings and we do have members coming to meetings from all over the world. You can get more detailed information here:
I'm so glad you've found FAA, Maria, and have come to Online Support to share with us. Keep coming back... the solution to food addiction is right here in FAA!
04-24-2011, 11:06 PM
Hope everything is going well in the days since this post. I agree with others and that I have tried not to compare my journey with others. I think that's one place where I have found the 12 steps working for me most is that its personal just to me and my addiction and my treatment.
i need the food plan because to me i have a compulsion and an addiction they seem like one and the same and i know when my food is not abstinent because i feel traces of cravings and typically i can go back to my foods and think why do i want that old lifestyle back and it is typically because my eating wasnt clean, or because i didn't journal or because i didn't ask for my hp to take the feelings away.
04-24-2011, 11:17 PM
Thank you step 3 and flying penguin for your helpful comments and encouragement. It is such a great feeling knowing that I am not alone and can find others who are able to overcome this difficult addiction. As each day goes by and I am experiencing the freedom from my obsession over food, I am more convinced that this is the answer. Yesterday, I had my first dinner out, and I was a bit nervous. In the past, changing my usual controlled eating environment lead to binging once I would get home from eating out with others. Not this time. I knew what was on the menu and planned accordingly. Today I am on day 12 abstinent. Thank God for leading me to faa!
Have a pleasant abstinent day.
Maria in Albania
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