My Name is Nancy,
and I'm an Addict
by Nancy Ahern
July 14, 2003
1a Compulsive physiological and psychological need for
a habit-forming substance: a drug used in the treatment of
1b An instance of this: a person with multiple chemical addictions.
2a The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied
with or involved in something.
2b An instance of this: had an addiction for fast cars.
The first definition, from the American Heritage dictionary,
concerns a clinical, medical condition. The second concerns
a societal condition.
The first has physiological ramifications. The brain is physically
altered following the ingestion of the addicting substance
and a physical need for that substance is created.
The second is a psychological conditioning, or a quirk of
personality, and is a convenient label applied to what is
The first requires medical treatment.
The second has become a handy societal label that enables
"progressive" social engineers to establish the
"badness" of some behavior, and then establish nanny
laws to attempt to control it. It is a reliance on pseudo-science.
It is fakery. It is the modern-day equivalent of a be-feathered,
woad-daubed shaman sprinkling ash on a member of the tribe
and pronouncing him "outcast." The rest of the tribe,
ingrained with the primitive superstitious beliefs that enable
the shaman to control them, thenceforth truly cannot see or
hear the unfortunate former tribe member. He is officially
dead, even though he continues to breathe and move and speak
The term "addiction" is popping up everywhere.
Like to gamble? Ooh, watch out. You may be addicted! Like
chocolate? Call yourself a chocoholic and find the nearest
12-step program. Spend time online? There are myriad groups,
such as the one profiled in this news
story that seek to "treat" your on-line "addiction".
Of course you like to eat. You may even enjoy foods that
are high in fat and carbohydrates. I do, and you do, because
the human body has been toned and developed to seek out foods
that would ensure survival in harsh conditions. The body stores
fat and converts carbohydrates to fat. The body is programmed
to think in terms of "starvation" and "hoarding"
when it does not receive sufficient calories of the correct
It may surprise you, then, to learn that eating has become
an addiction, and, in an astonishing trick of mystical shamanry,
eating food from fast food restaurants has become a specialized
version of addiction.
As has been reported here in The Tocquevillian on
countless occasions, pseudo-medical organizations are now
providing faux studies and trumped-up research depicting certain
sorts of food as "physically addicting," then encouraging
the Nannies to sue fast food chains for "knowingly causing
obesity". They are lobbying legislators in attempts to
establish laws controlling these addicting substances. The
"addicting substances" invariably involve animal
fat. A picture is forming, of course. Gee, if "animal
fat" is addicting, then maybe we shouldn't eat it. Of
course, animal meat is rife with animal fat, so ...
Irrespective of the P.E.T.A. organization's frothy and unethical
campaigns in their attempts to coerce the rest of humanity
into denying their position as animal-eating animals in the,
um, animal kingdom, it is a fact that there are people
who do, indeed, suffer from eating disorders. They are obsessive-compulsives,
and they require treatment in a fashion similar to someone
who is genuinely physically addicted to a drug or to alcohol.
While the mechanism for the over-eating compulsion is completely
different from the mechanism for drug addiction, it is still
worthwhile to recognize its existence and to seek appropriate
That treatment is psychological in nature. It is not
a true "addiction" in the clinical sense.
The condition affects only a portion of society. A good many
people do not require the treatment and can, in truth, maintain
their health merely by watching what they eat and getting
The problem with obesity in America is not that fast food
chains exist. It is not that foods on the shelves in the grocery
stores are laden with the sorts of elements our bodies are
set up naturally to desire and hoard. The problem is that
we do not keep ourselves fit. We condition ourselves to grab
the quick, high-fat, high-salt, high-carb meal and eschew
the stuff our bodies truly need. We insist on living in a
high-paced fashion, working in high-paying office jobs that
put us in seats all day long, rather than sweating out in
the fields. We put in too many hours working and vegging in
front of various luminous screens. We put in too few hours
doing activities that burn off the calories our bodies are
Fast food, or food high in fat and carbs would not be prevalent
if we, as a society, learned to moderate ourselves.
We don't, however, need nannies. We merely need to be smarter.
2003 Tocqevillian Magazine