October 11, 2014 by Beth Hess
Sober is a hard word, I think, because I know what comes to mind when I consider its opposites.
Drunk. Druggie. Addict.
A shell of a human, devoid of sparkle in the eyes. Someone begging for a fix. Someone unable to make a meaningful contribution to society. Someone who has lost everything. Someone to be pitied.
It may not be a fully accurate definition of addict — and certainly not filled with grace. But it’s a convenient one.
Because it easily lets me excuse myself from the need for sobriety.
Just a diet will do. Healthier choices. More exercise. A good plan and an upsurge of willpower.
But the world is full of people masking their wounds in invisible ways. Functioning addicts, they’re called. People who lead “normal” lives. People of position and beauty and status. People others are even jealous of.
People like me.
For those who substance of abuse is food, the science of its addiction is increasing. Studies show the chemical reaction to our brains from sugar, fat & salt is similar to that of brains on cocaine and heroin. (Great article HERE with more info.)
And when I finally came to terms with the truth that if I used cocaine or heroin in the same way I crave and consume food, that I would likely be one of those folks with sunken eyes, a destroyed marriage, and few job opportunities, I considered that perhaps Addict and Sober WERE appropriate and NECESSARY words for me as well.
Consider this self-assessment from the researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy.
- Do you end up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods?
- Do you keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry?
- Do you eat to the point of feeling ill?
- Do you worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods?
- When certain foods aren’t available, do you go out of your way to obtain them?
- Do you eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities?
- Do you avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating?
- When you cut back on certain foods so you experience anxiety, agitation, or other physical symptoms?
- Does eating food cause problems such as depression, anxiety, self-loathing, or guilt?
- Do you need to eat more and more food to reduce negative emotions or increase pleasure?
Sobering, isn’t it?
Please, friend, if you find yourself in these questions, know there is HOPE. There IS Sobriety. There is a Savior. If you find yourself suddenly facing the realities of your own addiction, there is GRACE. And I believe God has set me on this journey to help me find some keys that I can both use for myself and drop for you, so we ALL can walk freely from the prison of addiction.
This series started as a 31-Day Blogging Challenge for October 2014, but it’s really the story of my life. And as it continues to unfold, I declare that it shall become my victory. So, too, can it be yours.
In response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October while I stay sugar-free. You can read previous posts HERE. To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email. Feel free to Tweet your own experiences with #sugarsoberoctober as well.
PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences. Like any road, sugar sobriety is one more easily walked with friends. I do my best to reply to every comment.