Am I risking relapse to coke if I try to lose weight?
anonymous Asks ...
I was addicted to cocaine for a very long time. I was pretty thin during those days and I just took it for granted that I didn’t have to worry too much about managing my weight. Now, I am about 11 months clean and I am getting so fat.
I have gained 53 pounds in less than a year. I think that I am eating like I used to use drugs. At first I wasn’t too worried about it since I was pretty much only worried about keeping things together and staying clean. Now I can see that this is becoming kind of a big problem, but when I’m in my room in the evening watching TV I just always feel like I need something to make me feel good, and now that something is food as it used to be getting high.
Should I tackle weight loss now or should I wait until I’ve got a little more clean time under my belt first? I can always lose weight down the road but if I go back to using again I bet I’ll be a dead man within a couple of years.
William Anderson Says ...
Congratulations on getting coke out of your life. This is a major victory for your life. Don't ever let yourself think that anything is worth risking being clean and sober. Your life depends on it. Your happiness and health depends on it. Your life can get better and better as long as you stay clean and sober, and relapse always makes things worse. Don't risk relapse.
That being said, working on your food abuse and weight control will not risk relapse if you do it the right way. In fact, addressing your food addiction properly can strengthen your sobriety.
It is not unusual for someone who is addicted to one thing to switch to another when they try to quit their "drug of choice". While some people think weight control is the province of diets, "fitness trainers" and dietitians, most overweight people are food addicts, and addressing the addiction is the solution. You know this and identify it when you say "I use food like I used to use drugs." Be careful when you decide to solve your weight problem. Most of the people who think they know how to help people lose weight really don't know what they are doing and can hurt you if you listen to them. Diets and exercise plans will not address the problem you have and might make it worse. You have an addiction problem and you must approach it as such to get it solved. When you work to resolve your problem with addiction, you'll be strengthening your sobriety instead of risking it.
If you came to me, I'd want to know more about your work with your coke addiction and sobriety. Did you get help? Did you learn about addiction and recovery? Do you go to 12 step meetings? We would start where you are right now and continue your recovery. You are now concerned with keeping your sobriety and getting a handle on your food addiction and weight. It can be done if you address it the right way. If you are near me or one of my therapists, you can call us for a free consultation and see if my program is something you want to do. Read my book The Anderson Method to learn more about food addiction and my solution. If you are open to it and not averse to 12 step groups, look into OA, Overeaters Anonymous, or FA, Food Addicts Anonymous.
You are on the right track. Your health and your well being are job #1. Staying clean and sober is the most important thing to getting and staying healthy. Addressing your food addiction and weight problem while maintaining your sobriety as the priority is next. It can be done. Move in that direction when you feel you are ready.
Don't go it alone, and don't work with anyone who does not understand food addiction and eating disorders. There are many people selling "weight loss" products and advice that can hurt you. Some are charlatans, and some are well meaning but ill informed. Be careful.
Best wishes. You have done a great thing getting off coke, and your life will continue to get better as you continue your recovery from addiction.