How Do Food Addicts Practice Abstinence?

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

Food addiction questionnaire

Food addiction recovery is hard to understand. Someone is out of control, completely unable to manage and regulate their consumption of food. When someone is addicted to drugs and alcohol, there is talk of abstinence in their recovery. An addict or alcoholic has a unique inability to manage and control their drinking or drug use after the first drink or use of the drug. For their recovery it is suggested they abstain from drugs and alcohol in order to avoid that first drink or drug. What about food addiction? Food addicts cannot abstain from food. Food is vital for survival, physically and psychologically. For food addicts, their temptations don’t lie only in special places or obscure street corners. Food is everywhere. Restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations- the temptations to eat and overeat and abuse the body with food is everywhere.

It isn’t so black and white. Alcoholics don’t avoid everything to be drank. After all, water is necessary to survive and it’s arguable that humans are addicted to water. However, alcoholics have to choose not to drink alcohol or any beverage that would trigger their cravings for alcohol. Likewise, food addicts don’t avoid all food at the risk of relapse because that would be irrational. According to Food Addicts Anonymous, abstinence is defined through a series of dietary choices and behaviors. For example the FA program includes weighing and measuring portions in a specific way which is explained in their dietary guidelines. Like most healthy eating programs, FA suggest square meals a day, though no food in between. Most importantly, the FA guidelines suggest avoiding trigger foods like flours, sugars, and binge foods. Sugar is highly addicting and most simple carbohydrates that include flours include a lot of sugar- but carbohydrates are sugars. Binge foods are different for everyone, but can often include things that munch and crunch, snacks in bags, and food that food addicts find it difficult to stop eating.

Recognizing that their addiction to food can be likened to drugs and alcohol, people in recovery from food addiction adopt a recovery lifestyle which includes abstinence, treatment, therapy, and often 12 step participation. In time, they learn about what triggers their food addiction, relapse prevention techniques, and healthy living lifestyles for long term recovery.


Food addiction can be overwhelming and hard to talk about. You do not have to have any shame. If you are struggling with food addiction, you are not alone. Residential treatment can help you heal the mind, body, and spirit. Avalon By The Sea offers a comprehensive residential treatment program for primary mental health issues like a process addiction with food. For a confidential assessment and more information, call us today: 888-958-7511

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