Originally Posted by freelancemomma
I have read The End of Overeating and I continue to question the concept of addiction, as does the U.K. professor who wrote the book The Myth of Addiction: http://www.amazon.ca/Myth-Addiction-.../dp/9057022370
I believe there are degrees of habituation, and that some habits are VERY entrenched and difficult to break. But I don't believe in a separate entity called "addiction" that robs us of all control. I believe we choose our behaviours on some level, even our unhealthiest ones, because they provide immediate and dependable comfort in a difficult world.
Let's say an all-powerful genie came up to you (generic you) and told you that if you didn't quit [insert health vice of choice], the person you love the most in the world would have a week left to live. I'll bet you would be able to stop the behaviour with relatively little difficulty. The way I see it, we DO have control. We just don't always use it in the service of health, and that's OK.
From Wikipedia: <<The life-process model of addiction is the view that addiction is not a disease but rather a habitual response and a source of gratification and security that can be understood only in the context of social relationships and experiences. This model of addiction is in direct opposition to the disease model of addiction.>> Needless to say, I agree with the life-process model.
I also tend to be underwhelmed by all those PET-scan studies that show brains lighting up at this or that stimulus. The logic leading from "frontal gizmoid cortex lighting up" to "addiction" is rather shaky, IMO.
Freelance - I'm finding your posts quite fascinating. I've never seen this before. Definitely something to ponder.
I suppose I'm one of the fortunate ones who doesn't suffer from any type of addiction. Sure, I'm attracted to certain foods, and goodness knows I love wine, but I'm not a binge eater nor do I find any particular food so overpowering that I'd do some crazy things to get it. Well, maybe with the exception of Zapps Hotter n' Hot Jalapeno Potato Chips.....
(jk, of course)
As for the wine, I'd developed a habit - and it was pure habit, mind you - of drinking a couple of glasses of wine every night just to "relax" - and of course, that wine went down quite easily with nuts, or cheese, or chips (particularly of the variety mentioned above). When I decided it was time to shed some of this extra weight I'd managed to add on over the last three years, the nightly wine/snack was the first thing to go. I was absolutely amazed at how easy it was. The first night or two I really missed the wine, but I'd promised myself that I'd do it for 90 days. It was so incredibly easy to give up that it was obvious that it was pure habit. And I'm amazed at how much better I feel not having that sluggish evening feeling...I sleep so much better and I've dropped a few pounds just by breaking this habit.
Yet there are probably people who would have said I was "addicted" to that wine (and those Zapps!) but no, it would definitely be better defined as an attraction.
My brother, OTOH, who is a recovering alcoholic, is another story entirely. He attends AA meetings on average 4 times a week, and he's been sober over 20 years. He says he fights it every hour of every day. He also has what I would almost consider an addiction to sweets (which he probably substituted for the alcohol). He has recently lost 30+ lbs but still "cheats" with the sweets, so I'm concerned about his ability to ever give them up completely. He's lost the weight with the QWLC program, and I think he's using that rather than trying to do it on his own as I suppose he feels it necessary to have that accountability. He goes there three times a week.
I see what you're saying about "the myth of addiction" but in this case, the difference between our "attractions" is significant. So perhaps we could look at the term "addiction" as a measure
of the intensity of the attraction
. If that makes any sense.
Then again, it might boil down to something as simple as self-control. I have always had much more self-control over EVERYTHING in my life as opposed to my brother. I'm a classic Type B personality, whereas he's a classic Type A. Goes full throttle into everything he does. So personality types may figure into the attraction scenario as well.
I'm going to try and find that book at the local library. Sounds like an interesting read.