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Old 02-12-2019, 08:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Sensitivity, and food addiction?


I've noticed two things about myself and I'm wondering if they're traits that other alcoholics share.

One is that I'm an extremely sensitive person. From a young age I was always very sensitive to external stimuli. I used to panic when I heard the dial-up internet sound because it scared me. Bright lights, strange noises, strong smells, REALLY bothered me. I remember running out of a kitchen once because the smell of the meat was so unbearable. To this day, I'm still very sensitive. If I watch a horror movie, I will likely have nightmares for the next 6 months about it.

Another is that long, long before I considered drinking, I was obsessed with food. I could never just eat one Oreo- I had to finish the pack, or have my parents take it away. Sugar in particular. I used to fantasize about the next time I'd be able to eat ice cream, or Cheetos, or any other junk food. Because of this I was an overweight child and developed mild anorexia around the 4th grade, but that's another story.

My point is I don't resonate with a lot of the so-called "alcoholic" characteristics (irrational resentments, being an angry drunk, sexual misconduct, driving drunk, gambling or taking extreme risks) but I do have these two characteristics, and I wondered if anyone could relate.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, I relate to being quite sensitive to sounds, lights, and any kind of violence. I also loved sugar. I never gained weight with it, so I didn't really think of it as a problem growing up. But, I realize that my desire for sugar was fuelled when I began to drink alcohol. It was definitely a red flag that I wasn't aware of.
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:12 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think the traits you mention as "alcoholic traits" are more behaviours whilst drunk and the consequenses. Not everyone is a nasty drunk, not everyone jumps in to bed with anyone who shows an interest, some are overly nice drunks. It affects everyone differently.

Addiction however and traits of people with addiction often start in childhood. When I was at rehab we talked a lot about identifying addictive behaviours we exhibited when we were young and stealing and hiding/hording sweets was something a lot of us had in common. At an early age we all learned a quick way to trigger our internal reward system with dopamine by getting a kick out of the sugar. As a child this can lead to behaviours that mean you will look for things that provide you with instant gratification, why work for it when you can take a short cut and trigger your reward centres in the brain.

Another thing we all had in common was that we didn't deal with things well as kids, we internalised or blocked out bad stuff. As we got older and started to feel feelings we didn't know how to cope so we turned to drink or drugs or whatever your poision is. Over the years of using many of us just didn't grow up and still had the emotional age of a teenager. So when we got stressed or upset or anxious we turned to the drugs as we had never really learned to adult properly. I had a lot of emotional growing up to do (and still do!) when I quit, I was 45 going on 12 a this point.

Not sure if this makes sense as I am not the best communicator! xx
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think the traits you mention as "alcoholic traits" are more behaviours whilst drunk and the consequenses. Not everyone is a nasty drunk, not everyone jumps in to bed with anyone who shows an interest, some are overly nice drunks. It affects everyone differently.

Addiction however and traits of people with addiction often start in childhood. When I was at rehab we talked a lot about identifying addictive behaviours we exhibited when we were young and stealing and hiding/hording sweets was something a lot of us had in common. At an early age we all learned a quick way to trigger our internal reward system with dopamine by getting a kick out of the sugar. As a child this can lead to behaviours that mean you will look for things that provide you with instant gratification, why work for it when you can take a short cut and trigger your reward centres in the brain.

Another thing we all had in common was that we didn't deal with things well as kids, we internalised or blocked out bad stuff. As we got older and started to feel feelings we didn't know how to cope so we turned to drink or drugs or whatever your poision is. Over the years of using many of us just didn't grow up and still had the emotional age of a teenager. So when we got stressed or upset or anxious we turned to the drugs as we had never really learned to adult properly. I had a lot of emotional growing up to do (and still do!) when I quit, I was 45 going on 12 a this point.

Not sure if this makes sense as I am not the best communicator! xx
It does make sense, you're a fine communicator!

I think that's really interested about alcohol stunting our growth. I hope I'm not still emotionally 17....I like to think of myself as mature and succesful. But perhaps there's truth.
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Old 02-12-2019, 11:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hi SkyBird-
Yes, I can relate to both of these characteristics. I fall under the category of being both and HSP (highly sensitive person) and an empath. Are you familiar with both of these? It may be something to research. It is very common for either to reach for addictions because sometimes it can be unbearable to feel and sense so much in the world.

I am also 21 months sober but realized last year that I am what is considered a food/sugar addict. I figured this out when listening to a podcast about sugar addiction. I have had eating disorders since the age of 19 (I am 42) but what it comes down to is that my body cannot process highly palatable foods, sugar or sugar substitutes and anything that triggers the reward center in my brain like alcohol and drugs did.

I am not in recovery for my sugar addiction but I am working on it. Just in the process of finding an OA sponsor and I also run a thread here on SR called Sugar Addiction Recovery Support. Feel free to come check us out.

Some resources I recommend:

Book: Food Junkies (will teach you about the addicted brain when it comes to food)

Podcast: This is the one that set off a light bulb for me about how alcoholism and food addiction are related:

https://www.dietdoctor.com/podcast-t...bitten-jonsson

A Vision for You- this OA group is beyond phenomenal. You can call in for phone meetings (2 times a day) or listen to previously recorded ones, even from the day before. This is how I found the woman I have asked to be my sponsor as you will have access to the phone numbers and emails of all members:

https://www.avision4you.info/

As for the characteristics of an alcoholic that you mentioned- I don't believe there is a one size fits all personality involved. You don't have to fit a mold to be an alcoholic just like you don't have to fit a mold to be a sugar addict. The only "characteristic" as I see it is that once we start to drink, we cannot predict the outcome of how much we drink and what happens when we do.

Anyway, please feel free to reach out if you need more info. I have lots of podcasts and groups to share if you are interested.
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yep to both counts.

Noise, sound, bright lights, heat, strong smells (like the darn social security office yesterday....thought I was going to puke). Oddly, I love really loud music. So I dunno.

Sugar was my gateway drug. Oreos are crack. The food companies know this. I don't keep any processed stuff in my house because I can't control it. Oddly, I can control my intake of sugar if the product is homemade. Its the processed stuff. Horrid stuff. And with 80% of Americans now fat? I don't think I'm alone!!
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Old 02-12-2019, 01:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyBird View Post
I've noticed two things about myself and I'm wondering if they're traits that other alcoholics share.

One is that I'm an extremely sensitive person. From a young age I was always very sensitive to external stimuli. I used to panic when I heard the dial-up internet sound because it scared me. Bright lights, strange noises, strong smells, REALLY bothered me. I remember running out of a kitchen once because the smell of the meat was so unbearable. To this day, I'm still very sensitive. If I watch a horror movie, I will likely have nightmares for the next 6 months about it.

Another is that long, long before I considered drinking, I was obsessed with food. I could never just eat one Oreo- I had to finish the pack, or have my parents take it away. Sugar in particular. I used to fantasize about the next time I'd be able to eat ice cream, or Cheetos, or any other junk food. Because of this I was an overweight child and developed mild anorexia around the 4th grade, but that's another story.

My point is I don't resonate with a lot of the so-called "alcoholic" characteristics (irrational resentments, being an angry drunk, sexual misconduct, driving drunk, gambling or taking extreme risks) but I do have these two characteristics, and I wondered if anyone could relate.

Hey SkyBird,

Thanks for your post. I don't have the same response to external stimuli as you do however I have the same kind of issue with observations. I tend to be super observant with certain things and I pick up on a lot of things that other people don't see. So, for example, I could be in the waiting room at the doctors and I can't help but pick up on everything that everyone in that room is doing. A friend of mine has also said that I can tell what a lot of people are thinking before they can. It's a shame I can't use that talent on myself

With regards to food I've had a similar experience. I didn't know when to stop. I grew up in a Greek household and food always had a very prominent place in my childhood. I used to eat until I felt sick and to some extent I still gorge on certain foods and drink. However, I'm very into my fitness now so I tend to gorge and overeat on very healthy low calories foods.

Natom
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