Friends, we are powerless over food and really shouldn’t be eating it but the alternative is even more perilous than gluttony so we must learn some skills of restraint. Ours is not a relatively easy addiction to overcome, like alcoholism, since people certifiably can survive without drinking, and I speak empirically as a former drunkard now seventeen-years sober. Yet, my weight since giving up the juice has soared from two hundred fifty-five pounds to the three-twenty-two jiggling before you.
Tonight, I want us to focus on stories from our first-time visitors. Please, don’t be shy.
Hi, I’m Fritz, and I’m an overeater, said a large man – most of us are large, but about twenty percent are metabolic wonders of enormous appetite but relatively normal size.
Hi, Fritz, everyone said.
I’m not optimistic I’ll ever be able to deal with this because since I was a kid I’ve kept shoveling it down long after I got full. My mouth wants it so bad – I guess it’s the brain, really – that I ignore increasing pain in my stomach and just keep eating. My strongest memories of childhood are struggling up from the dinner table, ignoring my parents demands to say excuse me, stumbling into the living room, and collapsing on the carpet and groining in a fetal position. I don’t know why I didn’t just go into my bedroom. That’s what I do now. I go in there and try to sleep it off just like you do with hangovers.
Thanks for sharing, Fritz, I said.
Good evening everyone, I’m Jane, and I’m an overeater.
Like most of you, I overeat everything I like but my worst problem is with peanut butter and it’s really out of hand. This has happened many times over the years, and I usually stop buying peanut butter but always go back and promise to follow this rule: only one regular-size sandwich a day. And I can stick to that about a month but the urge always returns, often on the weekend, when I don’t work, and I’ll eat my one sandwich as I stand at the kitchen counter, and wash it down with milk, and then say just one more, and that one disappears right away, then there’s a third, a fourth, sometimes a fifth, all within about fifteen minutes. That’s a lot of peanut butter and bread, and I put margarine on the bread before the peanut butter. I’m always sick and ashamed and go sit in the living room and cry and about an hour later get up and go back into the kitchen and get a tablespoon and start eating the peanut butter right out of the jar. I do this when I’m home alone because a couple of boyfriends dumped me after seeing this.
I hope you can stop buying peanut butter altogether, said a man who continued, I’m Jerry and I’m an overeater.
I dreaded Thanksgiving dinner two weeks ago, he said. I would’ve left town but my wife, who’s a light eater, told me I had to cook the turkey and be a good host. I tried. I barbecued the turkey out back, and once when I came in I nabbed a pecan pie on the counter, took it out back and ate half of it, I swear, in less than five minutes. I’d only planned on having one piece. When my wife saw the pie, she said, Jesus Christ, and I said, get real, the kids ate that. Then at dinner I ate fast as I could so I’d get most of the white meat, and afterward I excused myself and finished off the pecan pie, which I’d hidden in the backyard.
I joined everyone in the living room for a movie but couldn’t get into it because I kept thinking about chow mein from last night in the refrigerator. Cold Chinese food’s even better than hot. I ate that, standing at the counter, like Jane, and then I wolfed down four bowls of Cheerios and milk, and returned to the sofa and didn’t say much the rest of the evening. I just wanted people to go home.
It helps so much when we share like this, I said. We’re faced with an eternal demon we simply cannot avoid. Let’s take our break and remember: no eating or smoking, and only a single cup of coffee.