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Easily addicted - food, the internet. Anyone have general coping strategies?

Discussion in 'Other Substances' started by Elizabetonth, Feb 13, 2016.

  1. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    My dad was an alcoholic. He always drank a lot, according to his brother, and thought it was normal. For instance, he loaned his car to that brother and the brother's wife for the weekend one time, and packed the trunk with things they would need, including bottles and bottles of alcohol. He was a full blown alcoholic from when I was a kid, and eventually died of pancreatic cancer when I was twenty, which, the doctors say, is often exacerbated by things like alcoholism.

    He was never violent, or anything, and for ages my mother hid it from us. When we get older, and after my dad died, she was worried that my brother would do the same things, and hated it if she'd heard he had a drink when he was in his teens (we were in the UK, so it was legal). He is actually very well adjusted. I, on the other hand, completely have my dad's tendencies. I'm lucky, because I've never been tempted to smoke, and didn't like the taste or feeling of alcohol until I was in my twenties. Other things, though, can be a real problem. Junk food, for instance - I'll go and buy a packet of chips, a packet of cookies, a multipack of chocolate, another couple of chocolate bars, a couple of bags of candy, at least, telling myself it was going to last the week, and then I'd go home and eat it all that day. Repeatedly. Or the internet. I'd end up staying at the office until very late, or, a fair few times, all night, just because I'd be watching youtube links. I started dating a guy and we've been serious for a year, but while that helped, it still didn't stop it completely. Just a couple of weeks ago I stayed at the office until public transport started at five thirty in the morning, and came home to find that, surprise surprise, my boyfriend wasn't impressed - I had to work hard to convince him I wasn't cheating or something. It's so stupid, because these things seem like they should be so manageable, and it's also hard to tell other people about it and get them to take you seriously, because lots of people feel like they eat too much junk food, or spend too much time on internet sites mindlessly.

    I'm making a real effort since that time at the office a couple of weeks ago to change my habits. I've completely tidied and cleaned my room (sounds basic, but it was a huge mess, and it's helped my mindset a lot). I'm being strict on myself with things like making my bed, keeping my room as tidy as it is now, trying to read instead of using my phone before I go to sleep. I'm using the fact that it's Lent to give up sugar, on the basis that it's easier to give up something if there's a structure imposed from somewhere else to lean on. I'm still worried about my tendencies, though. I form habits with stuff like breathing in rhythm, sometimes. Or I used to practice typing on my knees when I was bored in assembly at school, and, all these years later, I still do it. Does anyone else find that they have general tendencies like these? Does anyone have any coping strategies, or is anyone else trying to change these things, too? I would love to hear from anyone who has any thoughts on it at all.
    Amelie Santos likes this.
  2. Amelie Santos

    Amelie Santos Active Contributor

    Your story is similar to mine. Alcoholic dad who was not abusive (except to himself), mom who tried her best to shield us from it, and a compulsive behavior. I'm even using Lent as a way to force myself to give up junk food. I ate copious amounts of junk food, I could watch Youtube videos all day ... I mean, I think most of what you struggled with, I struggled with as well. Wow. I'm sorry, I'm amazed. And I guess ... relieved ... that I'm not alone.

    You're on the right track (I hope), because it's mine too. I went to mass last Wednesday and I made a promise that I won't eat meat (except fish) and potato chips for 40 days. When I'm tempted to stray, I remind myself that I gave my word to the highest authority I respect, and it's high time I start honoring my promises. That's what I do now, whenever I feel tempted: I remind myself that I'm an honorable person who respects her word. It's not much, but it's a start. I still watch too much Youtube videos, I'm still online most of the time, but at least I'm no longer bingeing or eating junk food. It's a start. It takes 21 days to break a habit, or so I've heard, so I'm optimistic. When I've succeeded with this compulsion, I'll work on the next one. One issue at a time, that's my strategy.

    You're not alone, Elizabetonth. And you make me hopeful about my own future. Please reach out to me here whenever you need someone to talk to.
    Elizabetonth likes this.
  3. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    :) Amelie, reading your response just brought such a smile to my face. And, also, lifted a weight off my shoulders that I don't think I even knew was there. Thank you so, so much for your post. I'm also so relieved to hear that I'm not alone, and I'm amazed by how much we have been struggling with the same things! And I'm so, so impressed and inspired by the steps you are taking. I really like the fact that you remind yourself that you're an honorable person who respects her word. I found that particularly inspiring. What a good way to think about it. If you don't mind, I'd love to try using that, as well.

    I'm sure it's the right track. I think that every little step helps. I'm also trying this time to be kind to myself, and not beat myself down about it, because that was something I used to do loads, as well. I'd be down on myself about these things, which, of course, just led to more compulsive behaviour, not less. I'm going to try to be a mixture of calm, determined, and compassionate to myself, and I shall just keep trying.

    I found real strength from reading your words. I hope that it helps you to know that I am here, too. Thank you so much. Please feel free to reach out to me here, too, whenever you need, whether it's a good day or a difficult day. I know that we can both break our habits. I am rooting for you, and I believe in you.
  4. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    Yeah, I think believers have the edge when it comes to getting over addictive substances, especially something as ubiquitous and necessary as food. As for me, I could never allow myself to eat potato chips if I was swearing off junk food, as it is a food that is very difficult for me to control unless they are in very small proportions. Some fattening foods, I don't care that much about and can leave alone...or not binge eat, but salty, crunchy, fatty foods are not one of them.
    Elizabetonth likes this.
  5. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    'Ubiquitous and necessary' - so true. It's definitely tough. Particularly if you're hungry on the move! As soon as you start to think about it, it's astonishing to notice how difficult it is to find a non-junk food snack in a train or subway station, or in a corner shop. We're so surrounded by foods that contain addictive substances.

    You make a good point re. believing, too, kgord. I think it helps to have something to believe in, whatever it is. My friend stopped smoking when she became pregnant, and said it was really, really easy, because she was doing it for her baby, not herself.

    I'm trying to change my behaviours now, partly because I had depression for a looooooooong time, and that made it almost impossible to change anything. When you believe that you're completely worthless, it's difficult to change the behaviours, because, among other things, you use them for comfort *and* you don't believe that you can achieve anything or that there's any point. Now that my depression's cleared up, though, I can work on believing in myself and changing my habits, a step at a time.
  6. LindaBreen

    LindaBreen Member

    well said....
  7. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    I hope it's going well, Amelie. I am thinking of you! I am still taking things day by day. So far, honestly, it's a mix. I've had days when I don't eat any sugar, and then days when I have eaten sugar. BUT on the days when I eat some sugar, I don't eat as much as I did, AND I've said no later in that same day. I think that this is progress. I'm trying to just not beat myself up about it, and take it a day at a time, which I think is also progress. I hope that you are doing okay. I am here to talk if ever you need it.
  8. SashaS

    SashaS Community Champion

    I also have a light internet addiction. In the lines of food, I don't get hungry often so I'm okay with that. But internet is a problem for me, as I always have a constant access to it. At school I would always use the computers in whatever class I was in, even when I wasn't supposed to be. I guess this rubbed off into my adult life, now I'm on the internet for hours every day. I am being productive and if not for the internet, I wouldn't know half of what I do now. As a matter of fact, I can learn more from the internet in a month than I have from a year at school. With relation to topics that are actually relevant to real life, not how to do an algebraic trinomial equation for X to reach Y within the inquisitional indent of Shakespeare's epiphanies on life's biological plant matter sun close to the moon, e.t.c

    The internet is a wonderful place full of knowledge. But too much is not good. It's taken a serious strain on my eyes and sleeping habits. Not a day has passed that I haven't woken up at 5 AM and gone to bed at 11 PM or 12 AM.
    The only method I've found effective is to cut yourself off. Go camping or do some sort of outdoor activity to take your mind off things. It really clears your train of thought and makes you feel better. Being inside isn't good either, where I live dust accumulates quite fast and I am allergic to it, which does take a toll on my health.

    I have learned to cope with it over the years though and I'm feeling better every day, even with the constant advance of technology, making it easier for everyone to access the internet and technology. It's an unfortunate cycle.

    EDIT: Sorry, I thought the title meant addiction to the internet AND food! I guess I'll just keep this here as it took me a while to type. :D
  9. Elizabetonth

    Elizabetonth Member

    :) Don't worry, SashaS, it definitely did mean addiction the internet AND food. I'm impressed that you can keep your internet time productive! Sadly, I find that my internet time is often spent tuning out my brain a bit, which generally means doing non-productive things. I'm sorry to hear about the adverse effect that it's had on your sleeping habits. I'm very glad to hear that you're learning to cope with it. I hope that it continues, and that you can find a happy balance that suits you well.
    SashaS likes this.
  10. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    I say avoid the triggers by adopting a more active and healthy lifestyle. Go out and meet new people, join groups, hit the gym, anything to keep your mind off from food and the internet.
  11. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    I can relate those youtube videos are addictive. What I do is try to catch myself when I overdo it and start cutting back. Try replacing bad habit's with good ones that may work. Get in to health and fitness and stick to it. I've noticed that healthy addictions pay off better then unhealthy ones.
  12. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    I also feel the same way. I must have wasted a lot of time already since graduating from College. I keep postponing certain plans until I end up not really doing them. Procrastination has made me miss several opportunities but I always tell myself that I should never be pressured unnecessarily because health comes first. Deep down inside, though, I know I'm just deceiving myself. It's become an addictive behavior to procrastinate so like you, I'm doing my best to focus on the things that matter.

    I don't have a solid coping strategy but I read inspiring books and quotes, watch movies that warm the heart and listen to commencement speeches for additional morale boost. I also think about my parents. They're not getting any younger. I ask myself: what can I do to be of service to others? I can't live for myself alone, so I always look towards the future hoping to make a difference one day. When I consider these things, the more I feel motivated to quit my bad habits and change for the better.

    Best of luck to all of us!