Meet the Addiction Monster

In line with the notion that all addictions are essentially one, John McC elaborates on the proposition that the particular substance or behavior are really a secondary issue. It all boils down to addiction to feeling good, because the primitive “lizard brain” has a one-track mind about that. He writes:

Food is our first addiction… If we don’t get our fix, we start to experience withdrawal symptoms like stomach aches and headaches, and then we develop a snappy short temper, and feel weak and shaky. Then we will start feeling desperate, and start thinking about stealing or mugging someone to get money for a fix. And the longer we go without a food fix, the worse it gets. That sure sounds like a strung-out junkie to me.

Addiction to some other drug is just confusing the base brain about what food we need to eat now. Notice that, after you have quit your addictions, your cravings are always at their worst when you are hungry. The old A.A. warning about being in danger when you are “HALT — hungry, angry, lonely, tired” is true.

The author quotes Gary Zukav’s idea that, if we are not conscious of all our different parts, the part that is strongest will win. So, we need to identify the urgings of the monomaniacal lizard brain, whose mantra is “I want it all and I want it now.”

How do we differentiate between the voice that Jack Trimpey calls “The Beast,” and messages from higher brain centers? In other words, how do we become conscious?

Trimpey’s book Rational Recovery, endorsed by many former addicts, recommends “Addictive Voice Recognition Therapy.” Here is a tip that can save a life. If the voice says this, it’s the voice of “The Beast”:

We’ve been off of it long enough; we have it under control now. It will be okay to just have one now.

Remember John McC’s story of how one drink at a friend’s birthday party turned into a nine-year alcohol binge? Such reminiscences can be heard by the hundreds in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings throughout the country, any day of the week. There are, on the other hand, very few stories of recovering addicts who are able to take “just one” of anything. It’s simply not a chance worth taking.

Remember the children who write to Dr. Pretlow’s Weigh2Rock website, saying things like, “If I have that one slice of cake, next thing I know I’m having another one, and another one and yet another one”? As Childhood Obesity News has repeatedly mentioned, people with eating issues have to be especially vigilant at holiday dinners and other festive occasions when a well-meaning “just one bite” pusher is likely to come out of the woodwork.

What appears to be a friend full of celebratory cheer might actually be what John McC has visualized as an Addiction Monster:

[…] seven feet tall, a dark-faced ghoul like the Grim Reaper, dressed in a hooded robe, with burning eyes and a spirit of pure hateful anger, saying, “I don’t care what the cost is, or who dies, I want my fix.”

For a recovering addict, there is no “just one drink” or “just one bite.” If potato chips are a person’s nemesis, potato chips will always present the same hazard. This is why the W8Loss2Go program helps children to become unhooked from their particular problem foods, and create a better life without them.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “The Lizard Brain Addiction Monster,”, undated
Photo credit: JD Hancock via VisualHunt/CC BY

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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