Sunday, January 11, 2015

Moving from line to spiral in understanding food addiction

For the last seven months, I've been writing a personal inquiry into recovery from food addiction. One of the things I've come to see is that unlike recovery from alcoholism, which can have a linear trajectory (stop and stay stopped), the complications of food addiction (we cannot abstain from food entirely) make recovery more of a spiral.

Most of us follow a pattern of abstaining from foods that lead us to binge for a period and then eat them again and begin bingeing and then after a few months or years "come to our senses" and abstain again for a while. This seems to be a wheel of good/bad, do/don't that goes on forever. But I've come to see that that is only a function of our tendency toward black and white thinking, our either/or-ness, and not necessarily a reality that we must espouse.

Instead of a wheel, I think recovery can be a spiral, two steps forward and one step back, that recovery can be progressive wtih diminishing periods of food free-for-all.

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