Monday, February 03, 2014

Baconators and heroin

This may piss y'all off, but you're pissing me off, so I don't really care about your feelings.

If you have ever been significantly overweight, barring a medical condition causing the weight gain, you have no moral high ground to talk about the famous actor who died of a heroin overdose yesterday.

Stop furiously texting me and hear me out.  You, for whatever reason, developed an unhealthy relationship with food and didn't exercise enough.  Maybe, just maybe, you use food to cover up your feelings.  Maybe you didn't use it to cover up your feelings - you just REALLY enjoyed food and just couldn't say no even if you knew you'd had too much.  So you gained a bunch of weight.  Gather 'round, kiddies, that's addictive behavior.  Are you pissed that I'm calling you an addict?  Then tell me how your behavior doesn't parallel the pattern of an addict's.

Some (damn) people are able to eat comfort food or just overstuff themselves on special occasions and snap out of it and exercise it off and face their feelings and go on about their lives and maintain a healthy weight.  We significantly overweight people, when we eat unhealthy food, hope we are those (damn) people.  We are not.  We stuff our faces, vowing to work it off or start a diet on Monday but that doesn't happen, so we figure what the hell, might as well stuff our faces again.  Eventually, we become overweight and we crave more food to satisfy ourselves.  And sugar, trans fats, aspartame, all physically addictive, and we NEED more.  We know when we put that food in our mouths that we're hurting ourselves, but we don't care.  That's addictive behavior.

You know when I knew I had a problem?  When I ate a Baconator (two beef patties, two slices of cheese, four slices of bacon, condiments, lettuce, tomato, and a bun) and a large fry to stifle my anger and was still angry and hungry and wanted more.  That was a rude awakening.  I was fortunate enough to be in a place in my life and have enough money where I could seek professional help.  Others are not so fortunate.  I don't judge them, and neither should you.

Replace "food" with "substances."  Some people are able to have a couple glasses of wine after a particularly hard day or get drunk occasionally and not have a problem.  Some people can take a pain pill as prescribed for pain and then let the rest of the bottle rot away in their medicine cabinets forgotten.  Some people can smoke cigarettes once or twice a month.  When we try a substance for the first time and enjoy the high, we hope we are the kind of people who can walk away from them.  When addiction happens, it's triggered from the first time you try a substance.  You don't know until you try it.  You're aware of the chance, but you think it won't happen to you.

It's the same thing with heroin.  Some people can and do use heroin recreationally and don't develop an addiction.  I'm sure that when Philip Seymour Hoffman tried heroin for the first time he didn't think he'd become addicted.  Nobody WANTS to become addicted to anything - they just want to experience a high or have a temporary escape, or be like non-addicts who can use those things on occasion.  And as with food and other substances, heroin addicts eventually need more to become satisfied.  You never know which dance with your drug of choice will be your last.

"But Stacey, Philip Seymour Hoffman was clean for a really long time and went back to it."

Hey, overweight people?  Have you ever gotten to a much more manageable weight for a number of months or years then gained it back?  Tell me how you're better than Hoffman.  Hint: you're not.  Unlike with substances, you can't quit eating food.  You can develop a healthy relationship with food and a good exercise regiment and keep the addiction at bay.  Then at some point you're just tired of watching numbers all the time and just want to be like one of those (damn) people who doesn't put on weight with everything they eat.  You know exactly what you're doing to put the weight right back on, but you do it anyway, thinking there's no way you'll get all the way back into your fat pants.  Maybe a footlong chili cheese dog won't kill you immediately like too much heroin in a needle will, but you know eating the wrong things and not exercising will eventually get you overweight again.  You do it anyway.  That's addictive behavior.

Hoffman probably didn't put that needle in his arm thinking it would kill him.  Maybe he did, who knows.  But turning your nose up at him for falling off the wagon ignores the very real disease of addiction.  He could no more stop himself from putting that needle in his arm than an obese person can stop themselves from getting a third plate at a buffet.  Yes, they can stop themselves, but the voice of addiction is much, much, MUCH louder than the voice of reason.  I topped out at 291 pounds.  I know.

(Before you "but Stacey" me some more, I'm aware that you can be 100 pounds overweight and still have healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar numbers.  I'm also aware that you can be at a healthy weight and have healthy numbers and eat a fried chicken sandwich with mayonnaise with every meal.  You can also be a meth addict and still have all your teeth.  Doesn't mean you won't lose all your teeth eventually.  I'm also aware that you can eat healthy and exercise and still be overweight.  That's awesome.  I'm referring to people with food addictions.  Did I cover everything you want to "correct" me about?)


JesusThroughMary said...

If I am overweight and my weight kills me via a heart attack or diabetes or because I sit on a chair and it breaks and I am impaled on one of the legs, then wouldn't my wife and kids have every right to be angry at me because I knew I shouldn't be stuffing my face with Baconators?

Michael Kennedy said...

I don't hate this blog.

Stacey said...

Tony - that'd be misdirected anger. Addiction should be the target. Most overweight people aren't willing to accept the "addict" label when it describes their condition perfectly.

Michael - thanks!

JesusThroughMary said...

Also, it's one thing to get out of control with food, a necessary substance for the continuation of all life. It's another to go out of your way to illegally obtain a Class I controlled substance that is responsible for thousands of deaths a year and to shoot it into your veins. You can slowly and gradually spiral into addiction when it comes to things that are themselves good or neutral, and wonder how you got there. But there is clearly a line that you know you're crossing and decide to cross when you start doing hard drugs.

Stacey said...

You're doing a good job of demonstrating that you don't understand addiction or the path leading up to it.

EyeDropp3r said...

I have successfully broken my addiction to running and replaced it with a healthier addiction to gravy.

JesusThroughMary said...

On the contrary, I have spent my whole adult life learning about it.

Addie K Martin said...

I love you and I love this blog. :)