Occasionally I receive comments from readers of OveractiveFork that suggest I really have an “anger problem” based on the content of some of my posts.  Really…a food addict with “anger issues”?  How could that be? During the time I’ve spent in active addiction I’ve done my best to swallow my anger and faked being a “nice guy” (“Nice” = No Boundaries = People Pleaser = Doormat To Be Walked On). After all, doesn’t EVERYbody just love (not to mention) like anger-free people?  And surely in my active addiction I’ve been as hungry for love as I have been for Onion Rings!

So YES, in recovery, I darn well DO have anger. In recovery I experience a whole set of feelings that were numbed out during active addiction. So yes, I feel anger today.

I say GOOD for me having anger. Sometimes anger is a VERY APPROPRIATE emotion to have. I happen to believe that ALL people with any degree of SANE recovery will feel anger from time to time. How dare you (or me) expect me to be anything less than fully human? Yes, being angry IS part of the human experience!

Just for today my recovery allows me to have enough clarity so that I no longer confuse anger with other issues and emotions…

  • Anger is not the same thing as resentment. Feeling anger is therefore NOT the same thing as “re-feeling” it.
  • Anger is not always accompanied by hatred for the object of one’s anger.
  • I can feel BOTH anger AND love at the SAME time for the object of my anger.

Even Jesus Christ was known to get angry. Even the BIble says, “Be angry but sin not…” (Ephesians 4:26)…which, it seems to me, infers that it IS possible to be angry and NOT sin.  The same passage of Scripture also adds, “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger”, which tells me that healthy anger does not last forever.

Anger is not a bad thing, despite what one co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous wrote about it in one sentence of the thousands of sentences he wrote in that fellowship’s literature. I’ have much respect for the wisdom found in the writing of Bill W., but he is not God and his opinion (speaking for myself as a Christian) is not a higher authority than Sacred Scripture.

Just for today, I refuse to be shamed for my anger. Just for today, I refused to allow other addicts shame me into silence about what I’m feeling angry about. Just for today, I respect my right to feel and constructively express my anger.

I don’t to speak on behalf of other addicts, but I believe that if I don’t “face my stuff, I’m going to stuff my face”.  So facing and expressing and  working on my anger is a whole lot healthier than “stuffing it down” with excess food, let alone a whole lot wiser than trying to “numb” my anger though avoiding doing physical movement.

It takes courage for me to face and feel my anger. It takes discipline to use the 12 Steps to work through my anger (working  through it sure beats “overeating over it”!) so I don’t remain stuck in it.

Food NEVER \Some people refer to themselves as “compulsive overeaters”. Others refer to themselves as “food addicts”.

Some people with a “food issue” make a big deal about how they identify themselves and insist that others identify themselves exactly the way they do when it comes to identifying problematic food-related behavior.

My position, when it comes to identifying my out-of-control food behavior, is that ultimately I’m an addict and that excessive food intake and avoidance of physical exercise are merely manifestations of my underlying addictive disorder. As I mentioned in a previous post, I tend to agree with a friend who believed that codependency was underneath every single self-destructive addiction.

Whatever.  How I identify my disorder isn’t all that important. What is important, IMHO, is what I’m doing about.

I’m certainly cmpulsive when it comes to food and exercise avoidance.

I’m definitely an addict when it comes to these two things.

I’m also very much of what I would call an “Impulsive Overeater”. “Impulsive” to the point that when I want to eat something (or want to avoid exercise) ALMOST NOTHING will stop from having my way!  If this isn’t a classic definition of “addiction” I don’t know what is! <blush> As I’ve also heard this reality described, we addicts, “want what we want when we want it — if not BEFORE!!!”

I can really relate to the following definitions of “impulse” and “impulsive”.

IMPULSE
* “S
udden, involuntary inclination prompting to action.”
* “A sudden desire.”
* “A sudden pushing or driving force.”

IMPULSIVE
” Without forethought.”
* “Determined by chance or impulse or whim, rather than by necessity or reason.”
* “Characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation.”

Being impulsive explains a LOT about my behavior with food and exercise avoidance…especially with the food part of my addiction process! How many times it seemed almost if food MAGICALLY came FLYING into my mouth! No forethought, just an INSTANEOUS action took place, over which I felt powerLESS.

And when I am powerLESS, what a great place to “tap into the power” I find when working the 12 Steps, praying, working with other addicts! I find it of absolute importance that I share HONESTLY (with both God and other addicts) about at those moments when I want to act out in a self-destructive manner. Mentioning food and behaviors by names often does much to diminish the power of my self-destructive behaviors.

I bring up this issue of “impuslive overeating” because this issue is related to one of my few frustrations with the Weight Watchers POINTS food plan.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, I think the POINTS plan has to be one of the nutritionally-sanest food plans ever written. Because it is so very “sane” when it comes to nutrition, I have found it to be the easiest food plan I’ve ever tried to follow. This is NOT another “diet”. Given the variety and volume of food it allows me to consume, for the most part it is a sheer joy to follow. Figuring up the POINTS value of foods takes some work, but my experience is that most things in life that are worthwhile DO take work.

So when it comes to MY impulsiveness and working the POINTS food plan the “rub” is that I really can’t just “grab and inhale” any old food whenever I feel like it.  In order to honestly work the POINTS food plan I must know the POINTS value of every food item I consume. It doesn’t great math skills to work the POINTS food plan, but it DOES take some discipline. And discipline makes it pretty hard to act out impulsively with excess food! This is NOT necessarily a bad thing. The only problem is that my “addict within” doesn’t particularly care for this! 🙂