Thursday, May 11, 2017

"More Acceptable to Be a Junkie"

Back in the day, I was a big Poison fan.  What can I say, I loved me some hair bands and went on to meet quite a few because teenage hormones are real.  I was particularly in lust with Poison's guitarist, C.C. DeVille.  I remember how heartbroken I was when he was kicked out of the band but not surprised because his drug addiction was becoming very apparent particularly at live performances.  I remember this performance where C.C. just went off and did his own thing, played what he wanted to play on live TV and knew, they weren't going to make it after that.

Anyway, I told you that to tell you this.  I watched an interview with him back in the day after he'd gotten sober.  He talked about his struggles to get sober,  how he gained 70 lbs. in the process and it was really hard to lose the weight.  You can hear a small snippet of it here.  They showed some pics of his weight gain including this picture

(via Pinterest)
Just Google CC Deville and you can see what he typically looks like.  Very thin, almost too thin sometimes but generally very healthy looking.  So to go from that to the picture above when you've been thin all of your life had to be quite the experience.  It was.

He said something that always stuck with me..."As crazy as that is, I think it's more acceptable to be a junkie than it is to be overweight."  Anyone who has a weight struggle that is over 40 lbs knows that is very true.  He'd never walked in those shoes before and you take someone who was on an international stage and the scrutiny that comes with that, I think it humbled him a bit.  Some people would recoil at the thought that someone would think that being a drug addict is more acceptable than being fat.  But let's face facts, obesity is truly the last acceptable prejudice.  While all people discriminated against face some issues, being fat is the one thing that even those discriminated against for their religion, sexual orientation, race, etc can all still have in common.  People don't want to give empathy to the fat person because they "did it to themselves."

Well, let's see, yes they did but so did the alcoholic and the drug abuser.  How is masking pain whether physical or emotional any different when you medicate with food over medicating with substance abuse?  It's not.  The only difference is, the second you see a fat person, you KNOW their secret.  You SEE their addiction.  It's apparent because it can't be hidden.  While an alcoholic or drug abuser can slur their words or act inebriated on occasion, it can be masked much easier to those not close to the person.  With food addiction, it is vastly different not just because of your physical appearance but more importantly, because you actually require food to survive!  So if you have an unhealthy relationship with food and medicate yourself with it, everyone knows your dirty little secret and suddenly, you're weak and less than.  If you equate "food addiction" with drug or alcohol addiction, it's a "cop out" or you're just trying to gain sympathy for something you did to yourself.  People are so quick to say "oh just stop eating" with a disgusted look on their face.  But when a substance abuser is confronted, it often is dealt with more compassion and sympathy.  Most people with a brain in their head would never tell an alcoholic to just have one drink or a drug addict just do one shot of heroine.  Yet people who announce they are trying to get healthy are constantly having to deal with their "pushers" of family, friends and co-workers telling them to relax their diet for one meal or one day.  How is this right??

They don't understand how when you have worked SO hard all week to track your calories, make the right choices, get in exercise and water that the one sodium laden bomb you have with them could bloat you to high hell and throw off your weigh in.  So what?  Well sorry but for most of us trying to lose weight, our moods and self worth are directly tied to the scale whether we like it or not.  So what might not seem like a big deal to them is a huge deal to those of us who have to claw for every ounce even when we're doing everything right on paper.  It can take a huge mental toll but you know, as long as they have someone to eat their nachos with who cares?

The bottom line is, if you've never walked in the wide width shoes, you have no idea how hard every day can be just to try to break even much less lose weight.  It is a mental mind f**k that most people with weight problems will struggle with for the rest of their lives.  Even if you're one of the ones who gets to goal weight regardless of the path you took to get there doesn't mean you stay there without effort every minute of the day.  So if you've ever been one of the ones to show empathy to a substance abuser, please consider that people with addictions of any kind deserve the same courtesy.

Do you think it's more acceptable to be a junkie than fat?

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  1. So true, I witness people that are compassionate about all sorts of addiction yet make snide comments about heavy people even strangers.

  2. There are a lot of "pushers" in the lives of an alcoholic or drug addict too. Friends/family that are used to hanging out with that person and drinking/using drugs with them are just as likely to push back when someone tries to get sober. They don't want to lose their drinking buddy any more than your example wants to lose a nacho eating buddy. I wonder if they don't see or are in denial that their friend/family member has a real problem, or if they have enough of a problem themselves that they resent someone else getting healthy? I do agree that it's a socially acceptable form of discrimination in a society that calls out discrimination in other areas. Any substantial change is hard and requires a lifetime of diligence, and that includes getting sober and getting fit. Self-medicating with food is just as big a problem as self-medicating with substances, but I agree that a lot of otherwise compassionate people don't see it that way.

  3. Excellent post today that really hit the nail on the head!

  4. I read an article in People magazine about George Michael's death and he mentioned how it was more acceptable to be gay than fat, as he had gained weight later in his life. He was even afraid to go out in public. For some reason, it is still "okay" to ridicule people for weight but not for other addictions. I totally agree that is is more acceptable to be a drug addict than to be fat. I also feel like overeating is as much an addiction as drugs, alcohol or smoking, and maybe even harder to beat, as we still need to eat, where with the other addictions, the source can be completely avoided or eliminated.

  5. Discrimination is a terrible thing, for sure, but for some reason fat discrimination is still acceptable still today with all the other "societal evolvements". I can tell you something for certain in what I have learned in the many years I have been around...You just can't fix stupid and that will never change. Love finding you in my mailbox. Keep up the good fight. Take care

  6. Long time reader first comment sent an email once though (just FYI). :) So this post adds to some questions that came up for me when you did your features last week. Things I have been thinking about personally for a while. The question I had last week was how did you decide on your non negotiable actions. How did you decide what direction to take. I've noticed that with maybe the exception of vacations for you it would a non negotiable that you have to exercise every day. You are dedicated even through body issues which I think would make me give up feeling "excused". I read another blog where his non negotiable is no refined or added sugar. He doesn't "preach it" but it is known.
    So I am curious how you decide what your absolutes are and do you feel that it is helped or complicated by having someone (your husband) who also has a say. I was listening to a podcast (happier) and Gretchen the host was talking about how some of us are abstainers and some are moderators. I want to be a moderator i.e. eat want I want but less of it but I wonder if I would do better abstaining from certain things. Which brings up this post if food is addiction like drugs or alchohol should we be finding those parts of food that cause us the most problems and cut them out like an addict needs to cut out what they are dependent on? We can't give up all food but I doubt I would be addicted to broccoli. Should my desire to be able to enjoy chocolate once in a while (ok more than once in a while sometimes) be more important than the physical benefits that losing the hundred extra pounds I have on my body would have.
    Everyone's journey is different and I am trying to figure out where to go in mine. I would find it interesting to hear how you have made your choices, whether you have changed some of those choices along the way and whether you would consider changing some in the future. Sorry if this comment is too long -sort of thinking and wondering "out loud". Maybe if your answer is as long and you're interested in sharing, you might consider a longer answer as a blog post. Thanks D

  7. I definitely agree that society has no problem talking about inclusion for all people...except if you're fat. That's the one last group of people that is socially acceptable to make fun of. You see it on tv shows, newscasts, movies, and just about every rag magazine at the grocery stores. Having worked in healthcare, and specifically in an office that focused on heroin addiction, I can't tell you how many doctors and politicians came walking through the doors as patients. But you don't hear about those stories. On the flip side, I think alcoholism and drug addiction also get harsh judgment on some levels because the view is often that they are somehow "bad" people. I hear it said often, "well, at least I'm a drunk." By the same token, the stereotype of fat people is we're all a jolly bunch. Pain is pain, and no matter what path people choose to try to mask that pain, numb the pain, or ignore the pain, it hurts no matter what. We all deserve more recovery and less judgment. It's probably the main reason why I don't know anything that's going on in Hollywood because the focus is always on the appearance of someone and whether or not they are acceptable because of that appearance. And it's probably why I rarely make eye contact with people in a store or mall because I don't want to see that judgment-- or what I perceive as judgment, which may not actually be the case. Excellent topic as always!!


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