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Learn how alcoholism affects food interests and eating habits as the addiction advances and drinking continues.  

Alcoholism And Food

The alcoholic's relationship with food changes over the course of the disease, but it changes in a very predictable way.  So predictable, in fact, we can accurately assess how far the addiction has advanced based entirely upon eating habits.

Alcoholism Affects Food Choices:

Drinking begins immediately to change the eating habits of an alcoholic, for a number of reasons.  Alcoholics care less about health than sensual experience, so they make the worst food choices.  Add to this, the fact that drinking dulls your senses and makes you sluggish and you have a recipe for a terrible diet.  Almost 100% high fat, high salt, high sugar prepared, packaged snack foods.  I remember waking up completely dehydrated with my tongue so swollen I had trouble breathing.  I now know it was the food I ate while drinking.

Early Alcoholism Increases Eating Capacity:

Because alcohol dulls our senses and is void of any nutritional value, we have huge cravings for food and can consume large quantities without the usual stomach pain.  I remember eating whole platters of fried fish in one sitting.  Because of our eating capacity, the empty calories of the alcohol and our food choices, we alcoholics usually gain fat and lose muscle early in our addiction.  

Alcoholism Advances-Appetite Declines:

As the constant drinking changes our metabolism over time, our bodies become less tolerant of food.  Vomiting spells become common, which are often reduced by just not eating much.  This is usually a sign of early liver damage, but we're pretty much unaware of this, or much else of any importance.

Advanced Alcoholism Creates Food Intolerance:

The condition progresses eventually, to the point we can't tolerate much food at all.  The same addiction that caused us to gain weight in the beginning, has now turned the table on us, and we're losing weight at an alarming rate.  Some alcoholics actually brag about how fit they look, not realizing the cause is the toxic chemicals they pour into themselves, pushing their livers to the point of collapse.  Eventually alcohol replaces food, but, if you haven't guessed it already, this is very close to the end, for the alcoholic.

At any point in the process, we can choose to go into recovery, quit drinking and begin to repair the damage with good food and no chemicals.  This usually requires an experience addicts call "hitting bottom," a realization of just how far you're out of control and a willingness to do anything to turn it around.  The bottom is different for each person.  For some, it's death.  Are you at bottom, yet?

If so, you can get help from others who have been there, at AA, on our alcoholism and drug addiction forum, in treatment centers, etc.  You can also get help from God.  Until you fill the emptiness inside that compels you to drink, you won't find much that helps.  God can fill that emptiness so that you will never thirst.  If you want His help, see Healing From God.

How has your drinking affected your food?

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