Woman Vs. Food: Inside Overeaters Anonymous
The bread basket, a can of frosting, sprinkles by the spoonful — Arianne Cohen was powerless over her food cravings. So she headed to Overeaters Anonymous. But was food "abstinence" the answer?
Let me tell you my biggest secret: If you and I dine together and there is a bread basket sitting between us, I cannot focus on what you're saying. I'll try, but really I'm focused on not consuming the entire basket. After we say our good-byes, I'll go home and get ready for bed — or perhaps I'll salve my work stress with a stop at the bakery or celebrate with chocolate-mint ice cream or be thoroughly haunted by a bag of Sprees in a closet two rooms away. Yes, my name is Arianne, and I am conquered by the bread basket.
I tell you this because you are probably conquered by — or addicted to — something, too. Perhaps you're a shopper or a boozer or a gambler or an exerciser or an overworker; or maybe you drown your problems in a snow pile of coke or have some variation on my food issues. We all have crappy coping mechanisms. At least four nights a month, I sit on my couch, overtaken with a bodily feeling that I must eat something. It feels like a lack in my blood vessels that can be assuaged only by food. Frosting is my crack.
Like many, I am saved by the fact that my crappy coping strategy is invisible. I'm not fat, I have never been the 5,000-calorie binge type, nor have I ever required rehab. But a few years back, in a rush of book and article deadlines, the above was my life, and I reached the point where I couldn't stop eating. I'd like to think that no one knew, but I'm well aware of my friend with thepassion for wine and the one whose weed habit long ago passed social. I was off-kilter. The owner of the 24-hour corner bodega stopped making eye contact.