Skinny Daily Post


One of the most vivid memories of growing up involved my extended Italian family, most particularly, my cousin’s husband. My cousin married a non-Italian, and, as it eventually turned out, he was an alcoholic. Through lots of hard work and dedication, he became abstinent, and went on to inspire – perhaps even save – many other people in similar situations.

When the family got together, Big D would pour a soda into an old-fashioned glass with ice, and hang onto it for dear life. No one commented on his choice of beverage, of course, and we knew it was important to him that he not stand out. But, with a teenager’s fascination, I watched him move in and out of family groups, generally avoiding loud discussions and the table where the liquor was, and eating pretzel rods. By the way, there was ALWAYS a separate table with soda and soft drinks a bit of a distance from the liquor table – that was just the way we did things.

As my own journey progressed, I evolved a similar strategy – holding onto a drink for dear life, avoiding tense situations and food, and doing my best to work the room.

It’s only been recently that I’ve connected the two strategies. Let me tell you, though, it’s a heck of a lot easier to avoid liquor than to avoid food! But that’s why we need to recognize situations that can set us off, that cue us to eat things that we would be better off avoiding.

Nowadays, though, I’ve added a twist. My knitting is always with me. Something simple, mindless, and very portable, but it’s there. I don’t always dive for it, but it’s a comfort to know that I can keep my hands busy no matter what.

The simplest solution, though, is to grab onto a beverage and hang onto it.

Thank you, Big D!!

4 thoughts on “Holding on for dear life

  1. Lori says:

    I have often thought of the similarities between recovering alcholics and people trying to gain control over food addiction. The one MAJOR difference is that you dont ever have to have another alcholic beverage again, but you have to eat. I also have noticed that when I quit smoking cold turkey I promised myself to have just one good day without smoking, and 13 years later I still promise myself everyday I will not smoke today. Thanks for reminding me of those “tricks”, especially on another Monday, day 1 of a new diet!(again)

  2. Cindy says:

    Hi Jane,
    There you go again, writing JUST what I need, exactly when I need it. I am away from home this week-end, in an environment with too many temptations. And with the emotional stress that encourages me to overeat, as well. I am glad to have skinnydaily to check in with—it helps me stay on track (or, in this case, get back on track when I’ve allowed myself to be derailed!). So for today, I will hold on for dear life and not beat myself up. I’ll go home and plan well and get things straightened out. Thanks for the reminder…

  3. Barbara says:

    I noticed this weekend that it was much tougher staying on track making good decisions because I had a house full of men that cook and love to eat and drink (friends of my husband). I mentally tried to prepare myself before they got here that I was not going to get sucked into eating or drinking things I shouldn’t just because the men were. Before, I would have given myself permission. This time I didn’t. But there still was a “poor me” thought process going on. Yuck!!

    What I found interesting is that when I knew for a fact I wasn’t hungry, I JUST WANTED SOMETHING!! What is that? Is it the social situation? Is it filling an emptiness? Is it just habit? is it fear? I paid attention, acknowledged it, but I didn’t find the answer.

    I remember reading in another part of this blog about the fear of social situations, fear of food in social situations. That definitely was present because I didn’t want to blow it.

    I too use cross-stitch, embroidery, needlepoint, beading or knitting to keep my hands busy and I have something productive to show for my time afterwards. That’s a great tool.

    This weekend was a mental battle not a physical desire.

    Much work to do.

  4. susan says:

    I refuse to believe that for the rest of my entire life I have to live in fear of food and situations involving food. I’ve been working with the Appetite Awareness Workbook by Linda Craighead and I think a day may come when I am perfectly comfortable around any and every kind of food.

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