Nothing is ever enough. We always want more. We are always wanting, wanting, wanting.
The food is the most obvious example. We finish a meal and want dessert. We finish dessert and want a little something more. We finish that and wonder how it is that two hours later we want a little culinary nightcap.
On the way home from work, we stop because we want a little something, a treat for a hard day. Something sweet or salty or crunchy or all three. We eat as we drive, finish it fast and then stop again. And again. The only limit to our stops is the length of our commute.
Always wanting more. One isn’t enough. One thousand isn’t enough. Humiliation, heartburn, explosive gas, the runs, headaches, grogginess, morbid obesity, type-II diabetes, heart disease, hip replacement, and rotting teeth won’t keep up us from trying to get more. Nor will financial uncertainty, a doctor’s orders, and the concern of loved ones.
That’s just how we food addicts roll—when our disease is left untreated.
If we are fortunate enough to find OA, then start to unravel the mystery of all of this wanting. First we find out that our bodies don’t respond like that of a normal person’s to specific food substances: sugars, flours, salts, fats, whatever our trigger foods may be. Where a normal person can take it or leave it, we have no control. None whatsoever. What we want, we eat, and all of it. The more we eat it, the more we want it. It’s a physical, bone-deep need. We crave the substance.
Eventually we realize, however, that this craving is only related to the physical aspect of our disease. Maybe we abstain from our trigger foods for a couple weeks and discover that we no longer crave them after a few days. But we are still obsessed by them. Our bodies no longer need this food, but our minds do. We are still plagued by thoughts such as A little bit of this would be good; Wouldn’t it be nice to have some of that?; I bet just one would be OK. And worst of all I’m making a too big deal out of nothing. We are still wanting, wanting, wanting.
The obsession with food strongly suggests that the problem isn’t really physical in nature. It’s our thinking that gets us in trouble. After all, we know that our trigger foods lead us to danger, but we eat them anyway. If someone is allergic to shellfish, would that person spend a lot of time, money, and energy getting and eating shellfish? Of course not. But that’s just what we do with our trigger foods. So the initiating factor for our eating is our minds.
Our minds tell us that we want something. But what is it that we want so badly that we are willing to risk despair, sorrow, and, eventually, death? The answer, at least according to the “Doctor’s Opinion” in the Big Book, is that we want “ease and comfort.” We are always trying to take the edge off of life. We want to feel OK about life, ourselves, everything, and food gives us this for mere moments. But the feeling is quickly gone, so we need more. As time goes on, we need more food to feel better, but the feeling goes away even more quickly as our bodies become accustomed to the substance.
So, here comes the spiritual part of the program. We have a defective mind that can’t discern what’s toxic to us and continually tells us to eat poison. That sick mind can’t heal itself, especially because it is seeking relief from itself in something that isn’t designed to provide relief. The relief we seek can only come from a Higher Power.
We need the spiritual part of the program because only something more powerful but just as intimate as our own thinking can fix us. We need a Higher Power personal to us that will restore us to sanity not only around food, but also around wanting. If we are to live honest, fulfilling lives, we must seek our ease and comfort from a Higher Power who can relieve our constant wanting. If we are willing, merely willing, to entertain the idea that this power exists and will help us, we are on our way to soothing the wanting that traps us in our disease.