Sometimes I feel like I would get more support if I was addicted to drugs.
I haven’t been in that place, but I imagine drug addicts don’t get told they shouldn’t fight their addiction, that their addiction isn’t a big deal, or that it’s legalistic to deny themselves drugs. I imagine drug addicts fear the shame of their addiction being found out. I fear the shame of my addiction being marginalized.
I am a food addict.
I’ve always struggled with overeating and body image issues. Eating seconds, or thirds, when I wasn’t hungry, was habitual. As a teenager I had a few instances where I ate until my stomach was ready to burst. I was in pain for several days after that. But it was until the last the few years that the extent of my addiction to food has been revealed. I’ve struggled with overeating, starving myself, being obsessive about the kind of food I eat, eating nothing but junk, and for the most part I’ve struggled alone.
There are so many factors that have been at play in my addiction, my enslavement: physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual. Over the next several months I will be blogging about my experience as a food addict and also about the steps I am taking towards liberty. Today my hope is just to raise awareness.
Food addiction is real.
Many may scoff. If you could look at me you might be tempted to tell me I’m not a food addict because I am not excessively overweight. You may be want to ignore the concept of food addiction for the fear that people are going to start imposing all sort of legalistic health-nut rules about abstaining from sugar and only eating kale. Maybe some of you experience the kind of addiction I am talking about and are relieved to know you aren’t alone.
Whatever your response, I hope that these posts will be helpful in taking time to consider the possibility that our prosperity has lulled us to forget one of the deadly sins. I know there are Christians that don’t equate gluttony with sin. I disagree. I do believe gluttony is sin (I’ll get into that in later posts). But even if it’s not sin, it’s damaging. Being controlled by anything- be it drugs, sex, food, money, approval- robs us of joy, stunts our ability to love others, and leads us into places of shame and self-contempt.
If someone comes to you and confesses they are addicted to food don’t immediately dismiss it. Don’t take it as an attack against your own eating habits. Don’t tell us that we shouldn’t deny ourselves. Don’t tell us that we look fine. This struggle is not primarily about weight. Please just listen. Ask questions to understand it better. Take it seriously. Having to defend myself about why I believe I am addicted to food is more wearisome and exhausting than resisting that 4th brownie.
I’m excited to blog about this journey for me. It’s a little frightening, and somewhat humiliating. But as I’ve been working through this issue with my Heavenly Father, I’ve come more and more to believe that I need to be vocal about it. So I blog, if for no other reason than to help me process the struggle.
I invite you to join me in the mess of my sin, the mess of me looking for satisfaction in something other than Jesus. I invite you to share your own struggles with addiction, of any kind, so that we can encourage the Church to become a place where addicts are safe to own their addiction without defining themselves by it. May God keep me honest, truthful, humble, and concerned foremost about glorifying Him and encouraging others as I try to shine light on the forgotten deadly sin.