Thursday, October 15, 2009

Just pet the tiger

A while ago, I was talking to a friend who is an alcoholic. I don't know if I posted these analogies or not... But they have been on my mind again. She was telling me how she just decided to stop drinking, and she hasn't touched a drink since. It was hard, but she just had to decide to leave, "That tiger in the cage."

That is a common analogy used in addictions. However, eating disorders are somewhat more complicated than that. I can't just decide to never eat again... or never exercise again... it just won't work. I have to go get the tiger out of its cage, play with it, pet it, and then put it back... at least SIX TIMES A DAY. (I agreed to eating at least three meals and three snacks every day. Add any time spent doing physical activity or extra snacks to that six.)

If I were an alcoholic, I would choose not to go in a bar... ever. I would avoid the alcohol isle at the store. That would be hard, and there would be times that would be sad... but completely doable.

Another analogy that I really like is comparing recovery from an eating disorder to recovery from alcoholism like this. What if I told you (as an alcoholic) that abstaining from alcohol was not an option? Instead, you have to drink EVERYDAY, and you have to drink just the right amount. You can't drink too much or too little. No one knows exactly what the right amount for you is... only you know... but you have to figure out that right amount while dealing with thoughts, cravings, and painful addictive patterns at the same time.

Recovery for alcoholics would be far more complicated if that were the case. I know, some people are going to tell me that alcohol causes a chemical addiction... have you seen what is in food? Food is made up of all sorts of chemicals that cause all sorts of chemical reactions. A person can become just anesthetized by food (or lack of it) as they can by alcohol. I have seen it happen.

None of this is meant to say that recovery is not possible. IT IS! I am saying it is complicated, difficult, and sometimes just plain overwhelming. And somehow, we are doing it. There are so many of us finding our way and overcoming.


  1. You can do it. I think that's a great analogy, and it shows what a difficult journey you have. But I know you can do it.

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