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One Addiction for Another...



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A recent article in People magazine (with the American Idol kids on the front) gave me the courage to write this thread as I realized that maybe I am not the only person out there going through this. Although the article mainly discusses patients who had the gastric bypass surgery, I think that there may be alot of lap banders who may be dealing with the same issues as well and if you are, please let me, us, know how you feel and are dealing with it. The issue being replacing your food addiction with another and the consequences thereof.

My addiction has become alcohol. I have always been a drinker. I enjoy going out with friends for a night to drink cosmos and/or margaritas and go dancing. I also enjoy wine in the evening to mellow out after a long day at work. But in the last 9 months to a year, it has become an everyday thing. It is my way of dealing with the stress in my life with work, marriage, motherhood and everything else that was previous dealt with going through the drive thru and inhaling 3 combo meals and a couple of large diet cokes followed by a box of twinkies. I was a binge eater who had battled bulimia since the age of 15. Now I have become a binge drinker and I am suffering becuase of it. Not only with my health but have managed to gain back 30 pounds in the last 9 months as I drink a bottle of wine everynight before bed. This has led me to retreat from my friends, my family and even this board for embarassment of being a failure at this which of course only feeds into my emotional addiction.

I never thought the lapband was going to be a magic pill to deal with the issued that I have in my life but I was looking forward to the loss of weight helping me to feel stronger and healthier to find a way to take my problems head on and for a while it did. But as the problems have become more serious (my husband and I have seperated, my entire family lives across the country and there has been 3 deaths in my family in the last 6 months among other things), I have found that I am sinking and drinking was my outlet as food no longer could be. I was happy with the weight I was at (as seen in my pic) and was looking forward to losing just al ittle more before having plastic surgery to get rid of extra skin and reduce the boobs.

My surgeon was never a support in that his idea of working with the band was to go to mcdonalds, order a big mac and eat a couple of bites with fries. He was all about the numbers rather than supporting his patients learn a new lifestyle. Even when I hit the 100# lost mark, he would tell me that I was still eating too much, the wrong things (like a salad for god's sake) and that he wanted me to attain a certain goal by a certain time and did not approve of my desire to get the plastic surgery before I met HIS goal and thought that I was a quitter if I did so. Needless to say, I have not returned to him since my last fill in August. I know that I need to find another surgeon who can perform the fills for me to help me get myself back on track but I just haven't had the energy to research and find one.

So this is my story. I'm not asking for sympathy. I just wanted to know if there were any others that found themselves transferring their addiction to food to another addiction as I have and how they are dealing with it.

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I am in the same boat you are but my story is slightly different. In November 05 I went into alcohol treatment for 30 days. I stayed sober for 16 months. Right before I was banded I started to drink again. I drink daily too. I know we are not suppose to drink carbonation but I can't get away from 1-2 beers a day. I try to just stick to 2 100 calorie beers so I can still lose weight. I don't eat much during the day but I make sure I can have 2 at night. If I had wine in the house I would drink the entire bottle and want more so that is a bad thing for me. The only advise I can give you is either cut down or go into rehab or AA. It really helped me when I was sober. I wish you the best. You can PM me if you want more information or support. Julie

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Melissa it was very brave of you to post your story here. I am sad to hear that your surgeon offers no support to you.

I hope that you can find the help you seek if you do. I do drink more regularly now than I used to... but not a bottle of wine every evening.

If you want help, I really hope that you can get it.

I know there are a lot of others out there with replacing addictions. I replaced my addiction for food with a shopping addiction. Going on Week 4 Shop Free right now.

I know that does not sound as bad as alcoholism, but it can be when you shop beyond your means.

Hugs to you and I hope you make it thru this and get back on track.

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To get my husband to agree to me having this surgery I had to also agree to one year of counseling. I was and am an emotional eater. His theory was that when I lost my "outlet" (food) I would have alot of emotions along with it. He was afraid that I would switch one addiction for another which I think is more common than people realize.

I have also found that when people lose a lot of weight they tend to go through an adolescent phase - particularly if they were never thin as teenagers.

I pray you will find the help that you need. I think you are very brave for sharing your story.

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Most (not all, but the vast majority) of people will hop addictions. It's fairly uncommon that someone truly moves beyond addiction without replacement, and it virtually never happens alone. People should hold the expectation of themselves to forego the addiction. In many cases, the best they can do is try to manage it to something that's not harmful. Don't feel like you're failing because you haven't been able to shrug your addictions, or because you've gained weight. There is no failing. There's a groove, and there's a funk. And there are lots of behaviors in between. Maybe you're not on the track you want to be right now, but that can be changed.

You mention your surgeon is not supportive. Then be done with him, or see him as a way to get a fill and nothing else. You owe him nothing. Is there a psychologist involved in your program? Someone who could help you recognize your behaviors and seek alternatives?

More specific to your question, absolutely. This is one area where you can rest assured that you are never the only one.

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Great thread, just yesterday I was talking to a friend about how I have switched to drinking and shopping. both equally. shop, drink, drink, shop. luckly havnt gotten myself into too much trouble, but did purchase $3000 in Louis Vuitton purse last week while on vacation in california. I rationalized it with my only trip to "Rodeo DRive" just crap I tell ya one obsession for another. It is in alot of other threads but until you put my finger on the point I just dont get it sometimes.

So glad to not be the only one with this issue as it seems alot of us on LBT go thru similiar issues. Thanks for positng>

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Hi Melissa,

Reading your post, describes me to a T. I drink daily. Was bulimic before the band. Have gained 15lbs in the past 4 months. I was at my end a couple of weeks ago and was stressing about the weight gain when I found this site: somethingfishy.com. It was very helpful in making me realize that I still have an eating disorder. I sometimes wonder how many people have been banded, without realizing that it will not help their eating disorder. I still binge. Going to that site made me realize that I have been using the wrong coping methods in dealing with anxiety. I started keeping a journal and it has really helped. Anytime I want to eat because of uncomfortable feelings, I pick up my journal and put my negative feelings on paper. Then I ask myself why I am feeling this way and if I trully am hungry, or if I just want to drown the feelings out. I'm working on that now. The drinking I will tackle next. One thing at a time. Anyways, I know I'm rambling now, but I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in this. If you haven't been to this site, check it out. I think you will find that there are many people like you and me dealing with the same issues. Take care.

Jasmine

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Melissa you are very brave. It is so unfortunate that your doctor is not supportive, but by posting I do think you are reaching out for help. Please do go and get it. As other posters have said through AA or counselling. You have to be proud of yourself and what you have accomplished. You are going through a very stressful time and it is not surprising you have fallen into a pit. Reach up your hand, and there will be many to help you climb out. YOU took the step to deal with food by being banded and YOU can find the help you need to deal with drinking and your emotions.

I wish you the best and hope you continue to post here and let us know how you are doing. We care.

Susan

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Melissa,

I read the article you referred to, and saw the Oprah special on the same subject. I am going to be banded on Monday, but I realize that I could very easily trade my food addiction for alcohol because I have struggled with alcohol in the past. I am seeing a therapist who specializes in eating disorders so that hopefully I will avoid major problems.

I too recommend that you go to AA or find a good counselor or therapist. This is something that you don't need to fight alone. You are already well on your way to defeating your problems by publicly admitting them. My prayers and thoughts are with you! You can do this!!!

Gina

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I am a regular member of this site, but I just created this username today because I really wanted to discuss this issue and protect my identity. I was recently banded and I am a sex addict, but well before I made the decision to be banded I knew I had a problem. I also noticed that whenever I went on a strict diet in the past, my sex addiction got significantly worse. When I made the decision to get banded I joined Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA) because I knew with giving up food I would eventually find myself out of control if I didn't get help. I struggle with this addiction every day, but I get so much encouragement and support from this group and now I am able to fight this addiction. Aside from the healthy sexual relationship I have with my husband, I have been sexually sober for 4 months. SAA has telemeetings every single day of the week, sometimes twice a day. I prefer the women only meetings, but they have men only and mixed meetings as well. I thought I would be the only 'woman freak' out there, but there are many normal, intelligent women all over the country who struggle with this problem. I recently obtained a sponsor and am working on my first step. If anyone would like more information you can visit their website at www.sexaa.org

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It took me a long time to realize that eating was an addictive behavior. Ever since I was a kid I knew that I would need to be careful around alcohol because my grandparents were alcoholics, along with a number of my other relatives, so I knew that it ran in my family... what I didn't realize was that it's 'addictive behavior' that runs in the family, not alcoholism...

I was talking to my fiance, who is an alcoholic (not the raging drunk kind, the few beers a night to relax kind), and he was talking about how he needed to stop drinking and not bring alcohol into the house at all in order to quit (that moderation wouldn't work for him), and I said something to the effect that I wish my addiction was that easy. He said "well, I just drink a couple of beers to wind down and relax at the end of the day" and I said "Yes. I understand" and he said (rather sarcastically) "well, does eating calm you down?" and I said "YES". I think that was the first time he kind of 'got it'. He still doesn't 'understand' not REALLY, but it gave him a better idea.

I still have to be careful of my drinking, if I find myself drinking every day, I stop for like at least a month, just to be sure I don't get 'sucked in' so to speak. I think I could easily become a shopping addict too. My house is already full of trinkets and crap I don't need.

Something else that I think helps me is that I am in counseling. I know that I'll probably always have an addictive personality, but I feel like if I feel more in control of the things in my life, this will be one of those things.

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I agree with everyone's posts. I have become more aware than ever how powerful an addiction food is for me. It's like people who say they can quit drugs IF they wanted to- but if they really tried to go without , then that is when they discover the true power of their addiction. My addiction just happens to be food and it has never been so clear as when I have a good fill level and don't feel hungry but I realize I miss it desperately and it still has control over me.

At the heart of every addiction are underlying thoughts and feelings that are leading to the behavior. I realize this and am seeking counseling as well. Having an addiction to ANYthing is just a method of coping or escaping from what the true issue is. The overeating is not the problem, the over drinking, using drugs, being addicted to sex, shopping, stealing, lying, smoking, WHATEVER it is, is NOT the problem. The problem is the thoughts and feelings you are trying to mask with those behaviors that are causing the addiction. They are the distractions that keep you from having to deal with it.

This is so clear to me now and I hope through counseling and self-relection I will be able to discover those real issues that cause me to feed the food addiction, and not simply trade it for another in another in an attempt to not have to deal with whatever that is. What a waste of a life if I spend it trying to avoid the issues through my addictive behavior, rather than tackling it and hopefully someday being able to say I've truly made peace within myself.

If I can do that, I believe my weaknesses WILL become my strengths.

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You 2 are brave. I just got over an addiction. And I'm close all the time to going back. And before this thread I had not even thought about the possability of replacing my food addiction with my past obsession.

I pray that does not happen.

For me it is worse than any drug.

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You know, before I was banded I was drinking pretty much every day--a twelve pack of beer at a time, so I do have an addictive personality too. I haven't had a beer since being banded, but I do drink wine occasionally. The thing is, when I do, I drink until I'm drunk--so there's that addictive behavior coming out again. It was the same thing with food, too--I would eat until I was stuffed--I would eat when I was bored, or just for the sake of eating. This band has truly been a blessing in that area. But fighting those addictive tendancies is soooo hard. But I think admitting you have a problem , and wanting to get help for it is the first step. So, if you truly want to quit drinking, please get some help. And you know ypou can come here for support any time--no one will judge you here because we have all been there in one way or another. I will keep you in my prayers.

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