Overeaters Showcased (As Opposed To Anonymous) AKA The Secret Binge.

I finally saw The Lost Weekend (1942) in its entirety yesterday. It’s a good movie. I think if they did a remake of it, but replaced alcohol with food, it would be more poignant to a lot more people, especially in this day and age. I was struck at how much it related to me in that way. Yesterday, after days of eating reasonably well and in moderation, I ordered and consumed an entire medium pizza, with Ben & Jerry’s tub of Vermonty Python ice cream for dessert. OH THE SHAME OF IT.

Just for kicks, here is a questionnaire from “Overeaters Anonymous” – a bullshit religious organization.

Are You a Compulsive Overeater?

Welcome to Overeaters Anonymous. This series of questions may help you determine if you are a compulsive overeater.

1. Do you eat when you’re not hungry?
2. Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?
3. Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?
4. Do you give too much time and thought to food?
5. Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?
6. Do you plan these secret binges ahead of time?
7. Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone?
8. Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?
9. Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal?
10. Do you resent others telling you to “use a little willpower” to stop overeating?
11. Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet “on your own” whenever you wish?
12. Do you crave to eat at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime?
13. Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble?
14. Have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition?
15. Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?

Have you answered yes to three or more of these questions? If so, it is probable that you have or are well on your way to having a compulsive overeating problem.

I can’t imagine a person reading this who doesn’t answer ‘yes’ to at least three of these questions. Probably 1, 3, 9, 11, and/or 13. As for myself, I do eat when I’m not hungry, go on binges, have feelings of remorse, look forward to eating alone, etc. The latter half of the list (10-15) doesn’t really apply. (What troubles do I have to escape from, except for my habit of overeating?) I will go on stretches of eating well, and then I have cravings for pizza, chocolate, eccles cakes, ice cream, and chips (Miss Vickies, why do you conspire against me?). Sometimes I will satisfy those cravings in a big fat binge, best enjoyed by myself so that there are no eyes to judge my spiraling descent into gluttony. It happens, I try to rationalize it, I feel guilty, and it’s a real problem.

Now here’s their astoundingly unscientific “12 Step Program”

1. We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I don’t know where to start on how inappropriate that list is for solving any kind of problem, much less eating poorly. “A personal inventory”? What does that even mean?

3 Replies to “Overeaters Showcased (As Opposed To Anonymous) AKA The Secret Binge.”

  1. While I (and it appears you too) think that 12 step programs are drivel, they do have a proven track record for a lot of folks. They have help rebuild lives and hopes, even if it maybe lives that shift the addictions to dependence on a supernatural construct.

    Anything that makes them feel good and gets them to a life they want, that’s fine with me. At least they don’t pop up everywhere to preach their message like the TV Preacher$ and such.

    As for personal inventory, you mean you have never looked at your life, journaled or reflected. You’ve lived a completely unexamined life? Interesting.

    Oh, and dude, a medium pizza is okay, it’s the extra large that’ll kill ya! 🙂

  2. Personal inventory:
    -10 fingers, ditto toes
    -sunglasses, old, cheap
    -keys, house, car and unknown
    -gnawing sense of desperation
    -killer soundtrack (internal)
    -Belief that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity (Ia! Ia!)

  3. Whoops, that last line should read “insanity”. Sorry ’bout that. I was thinking about Vermonty Python ice cream.

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