Since I stated in a previous post that I do NOT believe that food is something to be “feared” by us addicts  (either in terms of seeing it, smelling it or (gasp!) even thinking about it), I’d like to discuss the issue of when and if it is ever approriate for a food addict to avoid food.

What I’m sharing about this (like hopefully most everything I discuss on OveractiveFork) is based on my experience, strength and hope. This means that what I’m about to share is based on real life experience and is not some sort of intellectual theory that has not been tested in my own life.

Fact 1: We DO have to deal with food in the “real world”. It surrounds us everyday and everywhere. 

Fact 2: We really SHOULD have to eat some food each in order to survive. So “avoiding” food entirely isn’t a sane option.

The plate may be empty, but the head is oh so full!!!Considering the two facts presented above, why is it that some food addicts expect 12 Step recovery — recovery intended to help us overcome our addiction, One Day At A Time — to play into, encourage or enable the fear of facing food?  Authentic recovery, IMHO, recogizes that food is not our problem!!! Our “problem” is the addiction to overeating (and, for many us, we also have an addiction that leads us to avoid physical exercise at all costs). Treating our addiction — not devising schemes to avoid food — is the proper focus of my recovery efforts.

Yes, Step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous begins, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol…”, but it does NOT state that we are powerless over our elbows, our mouths or making choices that will ultimately enhance our recovery. We addicts ARE powerless, to be sure, but we are NOT hopeless!

Does that mean I go out of my way to “test my recovery”?  Not at all. My recovery from my addiction is a precious gift. My recovery is not a game to be played with. So I do not go out of my way to tempt myself to overeat (or underexercise). Likewise I would never encourage any other addict to play games with their recovery, nor would I encourage them to fear food or take “heroic measures” to avoid it.

My experience in meetings of Overeaters Anonymous over the years has given me exposure to some fellowship members who need to avoid even the thought of food. IMHO, this is more about trying to control the behavior of other members than it is about working their own program of recovery. So if attend an OA meeting where someone states that the mere mention of food is NOT allowed, please find a DIFFERENT meeting to attend!!!!  Telling a member that they can’t mention food by it’s actual, specific name is nothing less than flamingly co-dependent behavior!

I’ve personally checked (on a number of occasions over the years) with Overeaters Anonymous World Service Office (, OA’s Regional Trustees and other trusted servants of the OA fellowship and ALL of them have stated to me that NO official (or even suggested) rule exists about prohibiting (or even discouraging) the mention of food during meetings. To the best of my investigating, it appears that this is yet another crock of crap that has come about thanks to the anti-carbohydrate fanaticists known as the dreded “H.O.W. Movement”. To says the least, these “sugar-and-flour-phobics” do not represent the besting thinking found within the Overeaters Anonymous fellowship!

Find me a H.O.W. Movement devotee who has long-term recovery from weight loss — I just dare you to find even one!  Yes, you can find some who have lost lots of excess weight, but find me one who has been at goal weight for more than a year or two?  They just can’t be found! NObody can follow their food plan (rigid, perfectionistic and unbalanced as it is).  That food plan is one of the most extremely dangerous forms of a diet (NOT a “food plan” in the healthy sense, but a “diet” in the worst sense of that word) that has ever existed.

If you know about the history of Overeaters Anonymous, then you know that the original writer of the “Grey Sheet food plan” (which has been mal-adapted by numorous H.O.W. cultists over the years) was written by an OA member who wasn’t even a dieticician! I don’t know about y’all, but I’d trust another addict to write my food plan as much as I’d trust a pyromaniac to be a fireman! –> In other words, It is NOT a good idea!!!

Now that I’ve warned y’all about the H.O.W. Movement, I want to share that — based on my experience, strength and hope — that working and living the 12 Steps (O.D.A.A.T.) is the best way I’ve found to rob food of it’s power to control my thinking, let alone my choices when it comes to what and how much I eat.

Working and living the 12 Steps — over and over, O.D.A.A.T. — relieves me of guilt, shame, fear and a whole host of other negativity that kept me both in bondage to food and yet also fearful of it. The 12 Steps have allowed me to overcome (O.D.A.A.T. — it doesn’t usually happen overnight!) my co-dependency issues that kept tangled in UNhealthy relationships with toxic individuals. I no longer have to stay involved in (or stuck in woundedness from) UNhealthy relationships that only fed into my addiction to OVEReat.

Do I ever “avoid” persons, places and/or situations where I would likely find it only too easy to overeat?  Yes, from time to time (even as recently as this past Sunday) I do avoid such situations…BUT NOT because they can “magically force” me to overeat. Rather I stay away from this persons, places and/or situations because I (stated positively) make choices today that enhance the quality of my life and my recovery. Hanging out around “food pushers” only adds to my stress level. They can’t “force” me to overeat, but why hang out with people who almost certainly get on my nerves? It just doesn’t make sense.

Just for today, I don’t choose to keep certain foods near me (in my kitchen) because I know “my history” with those foods. Why place myself in constant temptation to overeat? Thankfully I’m following a nutritionally-sane food plan that allows me to choose from a wide variety of foods, so I don’t get bored just because I choose to stay away from certain foods. But I’m NOT staying away from any food because I’m afraid of it. I simply respect my history with it and don’t choose to repeat it. I seem to recall that someone once said“Those who can’t remember the past are destined to repeat it”.