Friday, August 27, 2010

Improper Use of Food is Substance Abuse

Have you ever considered your eating habits or thought patterns as sin? For years I knew I could eat better, but had not contemplated the possibility that my actions were wrong. Two separate events helped me connect the dots. First, a friend of mine casually mentioned that sugar could be addictive. At that time, I made a mental note, but chose not to ponder too long on the statement.

Then, several years later, I was reading Dr. Neil T. Anderson’s Discipleship Counseling when it all came together.
All people with addictive behaviors lie to both themselves and others. . . .The dysfunctional use of substances such as alcohol, drugs (either street or prescriptive), nicotine, caffeine and food becomes a means of coping and escape for them [people with addictive behaviors] and usually controls their time, money and relationships.*
Even though I added the italics in the above quote, the word food sort of jumped off the page at me. Lots of other information in that quote could be explored. But, for now let’s zero in on Dr. Anderson including food in a list of addictive substances. Can some eating habits be labeled as substance abuse?

Do you remember the dictionary definition of food from my previous blog? “Substances that people, animals, and plant eat to stay alive and grow.”** If food is a substance, is eating improperly substance abuse? Back to my dictionary. Abuse is “wrong or harmful use of something . . . .”*** Wow! So, if we use food for any other motive than what God intended, we are abusing it. And, ultimately, we are abusing God’s temple.

I am going to leave it at that for now. On my next post, I will connect food addictions to sin.

In the mean time, let me know your thoughts on whether food can be abused.

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* Anderson, Neil T. "Overcoming Habitual Sin." In Discipleship Counseling, 325. Rev Ed ed. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2003.

**Scholastic Books, Scholastic Children's Dictionary (New York: Scholastic, 1996), 204.

*** Scholastic Books, Scholastic Children's Dictionary (New York: Scholastic, 1996), 3.


Barb W said...


Barb said...

It appears as if the comments section is working again - be the first to post!

Don said...

very good. we sometimes forget that there are many things (even good things) in life that we allow to control and harm us.

Laura said...

The thing that came to mind after reading this latest post was the fact that not only can food be addictive, but - because food is our body's fuel and we need it to survive - it also may be one of the most difficult addictions to control. Other addictions (alcohol, nicotine, etc.) can be completely avoided - but, food addicts must learn to control food while still going back to it every day. Our entire thought process about food needs to be transformed from "something to comfort me" to "something to sustain me."

Barb W said...

Yes, Laura! I agree completely and have had those same thoughts before. It is much easier to avoid something completely than to try to manage it properly. Excellent comment.

LaDonna said...

The old adage Eat to live don't live to eat seems appropriate here. Thanks for putting this blog together. I think it will bless those who find you. By the way, I can get milk again and I hope to put in a CLNF norder this fall.