I was reading Beula's post about whether or not she considers herself a food addict. In the last couple of weeks we also had a post by Frances on AFG that prompted a lot of discussion and other blog posts about what kind of food plan is "best." I'm sure that it had other people, not just me, questioning whether they were, or at least whether they wanted to think of themselves as, food addicts.
There is a quiz on the Overeaters Anonymous website that is supposed to help you to determine whether you are a food addict. Answering three or more questions with a "yes" suggests you might have a compulsive eating problem. However, a lot of these questions are fairly general and I think that most of the American public, at least, would answer yes to at least three of them if they were honest. Does this mean they're all food addicts? I don't know.
I have found reading recovery materials, especially Codependent No More, to be helpful to me. I think that most people could benefit from reading and following the Twelve Steps, even if I'm still struggling with the Third Step. You don't have to be an addict in the traditional sense to need help finding meaning, or to need a little push toward understanding that trying to control everything and everyone around you is going to make you crazy. The world isn't fair in the sense that we'd like it to be. I was talking to a friend yesterday who knows a very nice woman who has cancer. She said, "It just doesn't seem right, with all the terrible people in the world, that she should have to suffer." But that isn't really how it works, probably luckily for most of us -- good and bad things don't always happen to us according to what we deserve.
Beula's question about whether food addiction is a "real" addiction is beside the point for me. I personally don't see it in that kind of black-and-white sense. It's sort of like trying to prove scientifically that God exists -- you can't. And you can't argue about it either, because the two sides really don't have any common discussion points to use.
Personally, I think that science and religion and philosophies are different frameworks for looking at the world and each frame is like a window -- it has a limited view. You can't see everything through any one of them. The idea of food addiction and recovery is another kind of philosophy, another framework. For me, the real question is, does the framework of addiction and recovery help people? Do people find it useful? Do they find life more manageable when they work within that framework? It's obvious from reading some of the blogs linked at the AFG website that people do find that framework useful and helpful, and even lifesaving.
Am I a food addict? Right now, I don't think so. But keep reading, I'll let you know if I change my mind.