Saturday, March 17, 2007

my hero

is Dr. Nora Volkow, a researcher specializing in addiction studies. In a recent Newsweek article , Dr. Volkow discusses advances in addiction treatment and discusses the big ones ~ alcohol and drugs ~ but likening those dependencies on those chemicals to food addiction.

"We all think we can control our actions," she said. "But why does one person have such intense cravings that they experience a loss of control, while another person can overpower those desires? I wanted to understand the brain mechanism that makes people lose control."

Dr. Volkow's research suggests that high levels of dopamine receptors in the brain provide a kind of immunity to addiction, while low levels of the receptors make an individual more vulnerable. Especially interesting to me, given the blossoming of my eating disorder after the tragedy of my mother's disappearance, is Dr. Volkow's suggestion that extreme stress and tragedy increase susceptibility to addiction, even when the substance had been used for some time with little or no difficulty.

I am thrilled to see serious attention given to addictions, especially when food is included. I am knocking down my own demons one at a time ~ drugs, alcohol, food ~ and it's comforting to know that I may not just be weak-willed or rife with character flaws. The fact that my plagues have come fast on the heels of one another lends credence to the idea of there being something different in the way I'm wired.

All is well today (I think I said that today already, but why not repeat it). As the Big Book says, happy, joyous and free and it's really not possible to improve on that. Hope y'all are as well.


Anonymous Tater said...

I have always believed that none of us addicts are weak willed. I don't know about you, but I could fucking MOVE MOUNTAINS, when I needed to get drunk or high. I was able to stomach years of hell to pursue my habits of choice, due to strength of will. The very darkest days of my life resulted from MY will. Only by surrendering my will, was I able to recover. It has always been my belief that addiction is caused by genetic and biological factors, and is nourished by our escapist psyches.
Happy, joyous, and free. I'm finally there after an emotional start to the day with the family.

March 17, 2007 10:54 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

What differentiates food from alcohol, drugs or other substances is the fact that you can not just cut it completely out of your life. You can go completely without cigarettes or tequila, and not only does it not kill you to go without those things, you're better for it, physically. But food ... you try to cold turkey that shit, and your ass ends up dead.

You can't just "not have food in the house", you can't just not eat. Moderation is a bitch. >sigh<

March 18, 2007 2:33 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

hi more cowbell . . . you're right, of course. it's just that my addiction is very apparent. it's sugar and highly processed grain-based carbs. i've never, ever eaten two pounds of carrots, but i've eaten two pounds of chocolate. i wouldn't give pizza a second thought if it were baked on spinach leaves. who needs it? but that thin, crispy floury crust? i'm all over it.

i know i'm lucky in that sense, that i have very specific addictions and so i can cut them out entirely.

and yes, moderation is a fucking bitch :-)

March 18, 2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger dusty said...

I have mucho respect for you Ms.Belle...trying to conquer all those addictions must be hell..especially the food one as mentioned above.

I salute your resolve, hang in there :)

March 18, 2007 3:07 PM  
Blogger evilganome said...

I don't think enough people understand. I used to go to a sandwich shop that was run by an extremely nice guy. He was also obese. During one of my times trying to quit smoking, one of my co-workers was giving me a hard time about it at the counter. After he left, the owner of the shop said, "I know what you're going through. Only with me it's food, I try and control it but I just can't." There is an idea that people are overweight because they are lazy or stupid or just don't care. I don't think most people realize what a struggle life is for people who have problems with controlling their eating. You are an inspiration.

March 18, 2007 5:59 PM  
Blogger lisalgreer said...

I believe food addiction is a result of genetic propensity and environmental stimuli. I like the checklist of are you sugar sensitive on the radiant recovery website. It told me all I needed to know. Yes, it's addiction and NO. It's not about willpower. I am learning to balance myself through good nutrition so I won't have to whiteknuckle it forever when I do get off of sugar, caffeine, and whites. I feel muuuch better already and full of hope. Dopamine, serotonin, beta endorphin, and blood sugar are realllly important parts of the addiction story... and must be addressed, I think, for peace of mind and success without whiteknuckling.

Enjoying your blog...


March 19, 2007 2:48 PM  
Blogger lisalgreer said...

You could have these foods in the house... if you get balanced. I no longer eat 10 cookies anymore or tons of chocolate in a binge.

Over time, you can balance yourself and resist these foods without much thought at all... just knowledge of how good you feel eating another way. No willpower required. I do RR to help me get to that point... don't want to plug it, but it's been a lifesaver for me so far. I have a blog about my food addiction and recovery so far.


March 19, 2007 2:51 PM  

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