Let me begin my saying that I am not an alcoholic, and have never been to any form of rehab, that I am aware of. I have however watched plenty of shows on TV about addicts so that makes me pretty much an expert. I have heard talk of there being such a thing as Overeaters Anonymous, but as I have never watched any shows on that organization, I cannot speak to their program or recovery plan. However, I did go to their website and according to their quiz...I am an Overeater....yea, that isn't a newsflash. According to their wiki page they follow the basic AA program so maybe I am not off base with my assumptions. Also, if you are offended in any way to my use of the word 'fatty' in reference to myself and sometimes to others, please don't read further. I say it a lot in the below paragraphs. I like the word. And I like to be blunt. If you want the sugar coated version of this post, cut and paste it into Word and do "Find and Replace" search and substitute fatty for another word that you like better. (Oh, you might also want to do the same for the words, Chunkster, Lard-ass, Tank-butt, and Chub-monster.) And, lastly, before I begin, those of you who understand the movie reference made in the title of this post are awesome. If you don't get the reference, than you won't get me!
Here is how I came to the conclusion that being a recovering fatty is EXACTLY like being a recovering alcoholic:
#1 - Admitting you have a problem:
It is always stated that for an alcoholic (or any addict) admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. For many of us, admitting that you are a fatty can be tough. For me, I had no clue. None at all. I knew I was chunky and that I had put on weight, but was I fat? Nope, I was fine. It wasn't until the size 16's wouldn't button (or zip) any more and I had to start shopping at the plus sized stores that I realized I might have a problem And it wasn't until my Doctor said the word, DIABETES, that it clicked that I might just be a big ole chunker who needed to drop some serious LB's. How many times have we said, "No, I am not fat, I am just big boned". Or pulled some pants out of the wash that suddenly wouldn't zip and blamed the washer for shrinking them, instead of admitting that maybe, just maybe, it was the ass that was bigger?How many of us cried the first time we stepped on the scale at a Weight Watcher's meeting? Why did we cry? Because we hadn't realized it was "that bad" or we were ashamed of the number we saw. So here goes, admit it. Say it. I dare you!
"Hi, my name is Rizzle. And I am a former fatty that is still addicted to food. Also, are you going to eat that? It looks good! Is that cheese I smell?"
#2 - Quitting ain't easy:
How many people do you know, or have heard of, with a drinking problem that say, "Eh, it is not that bad, I can quit when ever I want to. I have this under control". Yea, right. If that were true, there wouldn't be so many high priced fancy pants rehab clinics across the country. Same with weight loss. If it were easy, there wouldn't be a need for all these silly diet fads and programs like Weight Watchers. If we could just make a decision to stop shoving cheese covered deep fried yummyness into our mouths and never again get the craving for it, there wouldn't be such an epidemic of obesity! I am sure many of you have done the, "I will never eat fast food again, and only eat salads from now on", only to be side swiped by a box of donuts in the office that are actually speaking your name clear as a bell asking to be eaten. Or have you done the classic, "Oooo, I only have to drink a shake for breakfast and a shake for lunch, and I will get skinny in a week? Sign me up!" then after one week and a few pounds lost go right back to our favorite drive thu and wonder why the weight came back.? Not gonna lie...did both of those...repeatedly. If you are reading this, it is probably because you are struggling either with losing the weight or keeping it off, so you know what I am talking about here. (If you aren't in either of those two categories,..Hello, and welcome...how did you find me?) All of us have a moment when we stop and say, "Okay, enough is enough, I am done with this. Time to get my tank-butt in gear and quit this for good!" If step one and two, were easy...wait until you get to step three...and four!
#3 - Recover is a long and bumpy road:
This is very similar to #2 but in a different way. In #2 you are making the decision to stop the unhealthy habit of drinking excessively or in this case eating excessively. And in #3 you are actually working, struggling, and sweating down the road to recovery. This is where the alcoholics learn that having a half rack and 2 margaritas for breakfast, and 12 shots of vodka for dinner is not a good idea and won't make the pain of day to day life any better. This is where us fatty's learn that there is no love to be found at the bottom of an empty bag of Doritos and that a serving of cheese is the size of one's thumb, NOT an entire brick. (Yea, shocking. I know.) I am not going to lie. It sucks. It is hard. In all the recovery shows I see on TV there is always a clip of the subject of the episode crying and begging to be sent home, or even screaming and yelling about how absurd the whole process is. And you know what, I have never seen the ending of one of those shows were the person says "Yea, that was easy. Piece of cake." or said "Ugh, that was a mistake. Getting sober was a waste of my time. I was better off a drunk." Granted, there may be cases of these individuals, but I have never seen any of them.
#4 - Once you are "sober" you aren't "cured":
Once you have beaten your drinking problem and haven't picked up a drink in x amount of days and are discharged from whatever rehab program you were in, you are still, I repeat, STILL an alcoholic. An alcoholic is taught that they can't pick up a drink again and not expect a down ward spiral. It may be possible for some alcoholics to maybe have one or two drinks here and there, randomly without any ill effects, but the alcoholics I know, wouldn't even want to take that risk. (If you know one who can, awesome for them!) It would be torturous to leave an alcoholic alone, unattended with their drink of choice in bulk on the table in front of them. Alcoholics are taught to avoid situations where temptation might be overwhelming, like bars and liqueur stores. Same goes with being a fatty. As a former fatty, I know if I don't use the skills I learned every day during my 'recovery' I will be headed down a road I don't want to be on. And this, my friends, is one of the only exceptions I see to my theory. Unlike an alcoholic, us former fatty's can indulge here and there without a major catastrophe. In fact, in some instances it is actually encouraged. For example, if I was forced to promise that I would never, ever, in my life eat a Dorito. All I would want to do would be eat Doritos. I can allow myself small indulgences of Doritos without undoing all the hard work I have done. I can eat one small, single serving bag and be satisfied. I cannot, however, be left alone in a room with a large bowl of Doritos and be expected not to eat the entire bowl, and then lick any remaining cheese and crumbs off the bottom of said bowl while growling at anyone who tries to pry it out of my hands. I know, that I will over indulge if I set one pinky toe into any location with a large amounts of open food like a buffet or even worse a party in which chips are left out for grazing. Because I know this, I don't go to any restaurant with the word "Buffet" in the title. Sometimes, it is unavoidable to go to places in which my trigger foods are present. I have to then, put a plan in place to prevent me from releasing the beast. I make my husband restrain me as best he can. I eat before I go so I am not hungry. I stand at the other end of the room. I stare at them, and tell them to shut up and quit talking to me, because begging isn't cute and I will not succumb to their mind games. (I say that to myself, if you say it out loud, you get weird looks from people.)
#5 - You will ALWAYS be in recovery:
I would assume, that there won't come a time when an alcoholic doesn't wake up and think "ya, know, today might just be easier to handle if I was wasted." They will always have the stigma that they used to have a drinking problem. There will never, ever, be a day where I wake up in the morning and I am no longer addicted to food. I will never, ever, NOT be a former fatty. I have had to come to terms with this. It is what it is. I will struggle every day of my life to make the right choices. It will get easier every day, but it won't go away. I know that if I lose my focus and I don't pay attention to what goes into my mouth, I will get fat again. I know this, and I accept it. I know that when I get angry at my husband for not remembering to put my radio station back on in my car after he borrows it, I will want to eat all the Taco Bell I can get my hands on. I also know, that eating all that Taco Bell won't make me any less angry with my husband, or help him remember to not touch my damn radio when he borrows my car. It would be awesome to have a craptastic day and want to eat my weight in grapes to feel better, but that is unlikely. I would love for all of my stretch mark scars and extra skin to not be there when I wake up tomorrow morning, but that is even less likely than craving grapes. I wear my scars semi-proudly and admit openly that I used to be a tank-ass. I am not one anymore, but I used to be one and I NO intention of being on again.
#6 - Recovering alcoholics that go to meetings are more successful with their recovery:
As much as I would like to spout off some awesome statistics on this one, I am not going to because I don't have any and I don't feel like looking them up. (Besides, 87.4% of statistics are made up.) Here's the thing on this one. Meetings = Accountability. Accountability = Success. Plain and simple. And don't think stumbling into a meeting plastered with a half empty bottle of Night Train singing the National Anthem to the dead rat you found on the side of the road who has the same eyes as your great-grandmother counts as going to a meeting, because it doesn't. I checked. They have rules about that. Just like Weight Watchers has a rule about eating a dozen donuts during a meeting. You just aren't allowed to do that. (Well, maybe you could, if you had the points for them, but I am pretty sure the other members would tackle you to the ground and beat you senseless just to lick the last bit of glaze off of the corner of your mouth.)
#7 - Recovering alcoholics that have the support of friends and family are more successful with their recovery:
Same goes for this as the above. No alcoholic is going to remain sober if every time they go to their mother's house she shoves a shot of whisky at them and says "here, drink this, you look thirsty" or the classic "Why aren't you drinking that rum spiked punch that your grandmother made? Don't you know that she worked on making that all afternoon just for you? This could be her last Chinese New Year you know. Do you want her going to God because of heart break?" And in the same way, if your friends and family are constantly pushing you to eat this, or have another helping, you won't be successful. Learn how to say no. Learn how to karate chop people in the neck who don't understand that No means No! (This is a good skill to have for every instance of No means No.) Also, on the same wave length, husband/wives/partners of alcoholics typically don't keep open containers of booze lying around the house to tempt their newly sober companions. They are welcome to have them, just not where they can be tempting. My husband is allowed all the junk he wants. On one shelf in the pantry. That I don't look at. I frequently say to him "Will you please take that half eaten bag of caramel corn to work with you tomorrow. It is torturing me, sitting there, staring at me with it's beady little eyes." And if he doesn't, I throw it out. In the garbage can outside. (Because it smells worse and I am less likely to go rescue it from that one later on in the evening.) If you want your friend/family to stop their behaviour and be supportive, you have to tell them Don't expect them to guess, and don't expect them to get it right the first time either. They are learning this 'new you' as much as you are! And like an alcoholic, have a 'sponser' in your life who has been through what you have so you can lean on them for support when times get tough. My 'sponser' was the WW message boards and Twitter. I know that no matter what I shove down my throat and no matter how many pounds I gain after a week of indulging, I can march on into my Twitter feed and announce proudly, "I had a shit-tastic week and ate like a mad-woman. But I am here, I am back and I am on program!" and I will get loads of applause and well wishes from the friends I have never met who know what it is like to succomb to a batch of fresh baked cookies, eaten in bed while watching Bridget Jones Diary and crying for no reason. Hell, some of them know what it is like to be so desperate to get into bed and cry that they don't even bother to bake the cookies!
#8 - Alcoholics fall off the wagon sometimes too.
Even though it may feel like it sometimes, no on expects an alcoholic or a fatty to be perfect every single day of their recovery. Well, I am sure that isn't true. I am sure there are real assholes out there with un-realistic expectations of people, but frankly, those people are assholes and should be punched in the face. Every one makes mistakes. Every one. It happens. The most important part however, is how one recovers from that mistake. Slipping up and having a beer is one thing, but having an entire case of beer every hour on the hour because of the slip up is another thing entirely. When an alcoholic slips up they walk right into their meeting and says, "I slipped up. I had a beer. But I am starting over fresh. I am one day sober." Everyone applauds and says "Good for you! Way to get back on your feet! We are proud of you!" I wold be lying if I told you that since I started on Weight Watchers I have not once gone over my points or had a gain. I would also be lying if I said I had a unicorn and a gnome whose only purpose in life was to give me foot massages. In fact, I fell off the wagon for several months halfway thru my journey. Yep, I thought I was "cured" so I went back to the way things were before and was shocked as hell when I couldn't fit into my pants again. (Damn washer shrank them again! Stupid, piece of garbage, always does that!)
#9 - Alcoholics have something to show off and hold on to to symbolize their recovery
I have known several recovering alcoholics in person, and every one of them pulled out a coin from their pocket to show me how many days sober they were. They were always so proud of it too! "Look, I got my 90 Sober coin! Isn't it pretty?" In Weight Watchers they give you all kinds of fun charms and stickers to use as 'Anchors' for success. I carry my keychain that I earned at 10% that has all of my charms on it in my purse as a constant reminder of my success and my commitment to success. I heard a new member comment once. "Ummm, why are they so excited over a stupid sticker? Really? It is just a stupid sticker." Well, it is MORE than just a stupid sticker. It is a symbol. A star shaped marker to show off all the hard work and dedication it takes to lose weight. I am proud of all of my stickers and will gladly show them off to anyone who wants to see them. And sometimes even to people who don't! I will pull out my 10% keyring sometimes and make random strangers on the street marvel at its beauty. Sometimes, I sleep with it at night...wait...maybe that was going to far...I actually wouldn't sleep with it. It may fall under the bed and nothing there is a black hole under there...and monsters...and a creepy weird dude who sometimes breathes heavily with an ax clutched in his hands...but, I digress. Wanna see my awesome keyring? Sure you do!!
Isn't it pretty? You bet it is!
Okay so I know that AA and OA have 12 steps so it would have been super awesome of me to have 12 witty similarities to post. But I am not witty. Or funny. Or smart.
OR FAT ANYMORE!!! I am a former fatty, still in recovery!
Also, I read the title of this post to my wonderful husband and he didn't get it. He says he doesn't like cartoons that are love stories. I said, I don't like him and am looking for a new husband. Please submit your applications in the comment section below. Don't worry, my husband doesn't read this blog. I am not sure he knows how. I married him for his
**Disclaimer: The information above should not be used to treat, cure, or diagnose any medical condition real or imagined. This is for information only and should not be construed as actual valid information blessed by the Pope and written in stone. Actual results may vary. The above expressed opinion is that of the Author and the Author alone. There is no guarantee, written or expressed that the above information will be the catch-all cure for the above mentioned issues. Any similarities to persons living or dead, is purely coincidental and not a valid reason for a lawsuit. Any and all complaints about the contents of this post or its disclaimer may result in injury or death and will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
P.S. Thank heavens for spell check...jeez, I think I should win an award for all of the crazy and original ways I spelled alcoholic while writing this post!