Celebrating 25 years of food addiction treatment and recovery!

A Note from Phil and Men’s 3-Days with Phil – April 6 – 8

Men’s 3-Days with Phil – April 6 – 8

“I feel so blessed to have found ACORN and to have the support I needed to do my work. The intensives and 3-Days have moved me further along in my recovery journey at a deeper level. “

ACORN has a lively history of men’s workshops. Personally, I did not meet another man who was food abstinent until I was in stable recovery for over a year. I was delighted when I heard about a men’s Twelve Step group for overeaters in Los Angeles that had been meeting for over two decades.

They began each meeting by saying, “There are some things that men find it very difficult to say in a female-majority meeting. This is the place where we can say it all.”  With that in mind, that’s how we have begun every men’s retreat or workshop that I have led for ACORN.

I remember when we announced at an early Philadelphia retreat that one of the breakout groups would be all male.  There was some loud whooping – and not just by the men.  That’s when I learned that this work was even more important than I had thought.

At a men’s “3-day” at a motel in New Jersey, several men started taking turns doing tantrums.  When the police knocked on the door and inquired if something was wrong, we told them, “We are practicing for the performance of a play.”  It was not entirely a deception; we were practicing being truthful about our feelings in the play of life!

Another men’s gathering, this one in New Hampshire, was a bit more subdued.  Group feedback regularly began with the phrase, “This is another thing I have never said at a meeting.”  Men have a unique box of secrets; and it is not just their feelings about intimacy and sex. Men have been especially grateful for the opportunity to work on their recovery in groups set aside for men only.

So, we have another men’s workshop coming up in New England, this one in Charlton(outside of Boston) outside of Boston on April 6th to 8th, 2018. Men, bring your secrets and the issues about which you have hesitated being vulnerable. As with all ACORN events, we will focus on abstinence first, absolutely, and move to emotional and spiritual work in a male voice.

“I came to ACORN somewhat blind, having hit my rock bottom. I did not want to die before I tried these resources. I came in blind and I’m now getting enlightened and “ABSTINENT.”


More from Phil…

As food addicts, many of us have special awareness of eating disorders. Personally, I spent over a decade doing serious work in therapy on my ‘underlying issues’ and, while I developed some serious emotional coping skills, my problems with food just got worse.
 
So, many of us have had to give up the belief that we are “just emotional eaters.”  Eating disorders originate in families who don’t deal with feelings well and from traumas which are pushed down; we find that foods, often special ‘comfort foods’, take away or minimize the pain.  Food addiction is an entirely different disease. It is caused by specific toxic foods which change the brain biochemically and turn it into being chemically dependent on these very same foods.
 
With eating disorders, “It is not what you are eating, but what’s eating you.”  The solution is to work towards being able to eat all foods in moderation by using emotion skills to deal with difficulty feelings and resolve prior traumas.
 
On the other hand, with food addiction, “It’s not the food – unless it is the food. Then it is the food – until it is not the food.  Then, it is not the food.”  Whew!  Got it?  The solution is to begin by eliminating all your binge foods completely, and then work on the deep emotional and spiritual issues.
 
Many people come to ACORN workshops pretty certain that they are emotional eaters, that is, bingeing, purging and/or restricting out of control because they have an eating disorder.  They are confused as to whether or not they are food addicted. In fact, many are surprised to find that they would rather have an eating disorder than a food addiction.  They really do not want to abstain from their ‘favorite’ foods, much less have to work with another food addict to be accountable. It is often seen as too much work.  Moreover, they want to be able to eat what they want to eat, as much of it as they want, and when they want to.
 
The ACORN Primary Intensive is a way to learn about eating disorders and food addiction intellectually, and then match it to your own experience.
 
There is no better way to do so than to act as if you are food addicted with a group of other people.  Do you resist surrendering toxic foods?  Could it be a sign of physical craving?  Do you experience symptoms of withdrawal when you abstain?  Does the craving diminish or go away after a few days of abstinence?  What do you learn from looking at ways you are secretive or manipulative about food?  Has dieting and other ways of controlling your weight worked?  Can you identify specific incidents when you were powerless over food?  What do you learn as you discover the emotional, mental and spiritual distortions with these physical attempts to control?
 
That’s what the work of the ACORN Primary Intensive is all about.  By actually doing the work of food addiction recovery, you don’t try to think your way into recovery actions; rather, if you are food addicted, you act your way into accurate thinking!
 
For many, there is a second important learning.  When abstinent, difficult feelings often come to the surface and the old coping mechanisms of food are no longer of any help.  Personally, that’s what happened for me in early recovery.  When I was abstinent, feelings of fear, anger, sadness and willfulness arose that I never learned to deal with while in therapy and still active with the food. 
 
So, some of us are both food addicted and eating disordered.  I had to learn how to deal with both of these brain diseases through abstinence first.  That is exactly what we work to help people learn to do at the ACORN Primary Intensive.  Please join us.  I would love to see you!

Men’s “3-Days with Phil” April 6 – 8

MEN’s “3 Days with Phil”
April 6 – 8, 2018

“Phil’s compassion, humor and competence have helped thousands of food addicts.” – Mary Rice

This 3-day workshop will help you work on deep emotional and spiritual blocks that prevent you from becoming food abstinent or maintaining long-term abstinence and recovery. If you have trouble identifying feelings, dealing with anger, fear, or grief, or surrendering to powerlessness over food; this workshop will give you practical skills that will support your abstinence.

Join Phil and other men in a safe nurturing small group format to learn how to do a food slip inventory and written incidents of powerlessness to remove stumbling blocks that prevent deep emotional and spiritual recovery.

  • Workshop Hours:  9:00 AM to 4:30 PM (break for lunch)
  • Cost for the workshop only: $1,500 USD (does not include meals & lodging)
  • Limited onsite lodging $45 USD per night

Location:        Charlton, MA

Contact:          941-378-2122 or rmccumber@foodaddiction.com

Register Online: https://foodaddiction.com/programs/registration/ or call 941-378-2122

Bullying STOPS here! Pink Shirt Day Feb 28th

February 28th is Pink Shirt Day, a day when people stand up and say “NO” to bullying. Are you going to join the efforts and don your best pink shirt?

It is said that 1 in 5 kids is affected by bullying (https://www.pinkshirtday.ca/)! This is a tragic epidemic. Bullying has become a major problem that takes place in our schools, workplaces, homes, online – really, it takes place everywhere. Pink Shirt Day aims to heighten awareness and raise funds to support healthy self-esteem in our kids.

Pink Shirt Day began in Nova Scotia, Canada, and is now celebrated across the globe. In 2007 two teenage boys organized a protest in their high school urging classmates to wear pink in sympathy for a fellow student who was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.  These two boys, along with support from their teachers, purchased 50 pink shirts, sent messages to their schoolmates, and the next day stood in the school’s foyer handing out the shirts. When the bullied boy saw all these other students wearing pink, one of the teachers said, “His face spoke volumes; it looked like a huge weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.” These boys took a stand against bullying, and the bullies were apparently never heard from again! Thus, Pink Shirt Day was born.

Has bullying affected you? It certainly has affected me. I was bullied when I was young for being overweight. I remember the blatant bullying where kids at school would say incredibly hurtful things, such as, “Hey, can you feel the shaking? Oh right, that’s because Blubber is walking down the hall.” I, of course, was Blubber. Or, when a group of us were on the playground and some kids had made pen darts by inserting a needle into a hollowed out Bic pen and shot the needles at me to see if I would pop. Or, when I was walking home and a bunch of kids threw rocks at me calling me a fat loser. Basically, the message was clear: if you were fat, it meant you were “less than.” And, I took it a step further and added that it also meant I deserved every negative thing that came my way.

I was a kid that actually had a lot of friends and was always in the “cool” group – although I believed I was only holding on to that status by a thread, believing any minute I could be kicked to the curb. My point being that I can’t imagine a child feeling much worse than I did, and I KNOW, for certain, that many, many children have it far worse than I did, and truly have no friends.

Will you take a stand, with me, against bullying?  On Wed, Feb 28th, put your pink shirt on and let people know that you have zero tolerance for bullying at any age!!

Yes, bullying is on the rise and, as we all know, so is obesity. As many of us have observed or known from personal experience, people who are overweight – both young and old – deal with fat oppression and bullying every single day. Many of us suffer this abuse in silence. Do you believe that you or someone that you love struggles with weight issues related to food addiction? If so, the struggle is very real, and there is a solution that truly works.

Join us in March as we share our own personal stories of struggle and recovery from this baffling addiction all while providing you with proven ways to recover and be free of the constant food, body, and weight obsession. ACORN offers three life-altering events in Vancouver next month.  Participate in one or all three and be open to the miracles that we witness every day when people finally understand what they need to do to combat the overpowering desire to eat (or not eat) in response to everything life throws at us. We have a solution and we want to help.

Mar 13 – 18 Primary Intensive© 
Includes meals
Lodging $225 for 5 nights
$1,950 or$1,700
Mar 20 – 22 Living In Recovery (3 day)
Includes lodging
Meals are participants responsibility
$735
Mar 23 – 25 ACORN Alumni Retreat:
Recovery and Relapse Prevention
Includes meals and lodging
$550
Apr 6 – 8 “3 – Days with Phil” Men’s Group Only
Lodging Available
Meals are participants responsibility
$1,500

Here’s me arming up for Pink Shirt DaySend me a pic in your pinkest pink shirt on Feb 28th thru our Facebook page.  I would love to see you. Together we can achieve amazing things!

Peace & Abstinence,

Amanda

P.S. Announcing a “3 – Days with Phil” workshop for men only. Please, see details below. 

 

 


MEN’s “3 Days with Phil”
April 6 – 8, 2018

“Phil’s compassion, humor and competence have helpedthousands of food addicts.” – Mary Rice

This 3-day workshop will help you work on deep emotional and spiritual blocks that prevent you from becoming food abstinent or maintaining long-term abstinence and recovery. If you have trouble identifying feelings, dealing with anger, fear, or grief, or surrendering to powerlessness over food; this workshop will give you practical skills that will support your abstinence.

Join Phil and other men in a safe nurturing small group format to learn how to do a food slip inventory and written incidents of powerlessness to remove stumbling blocks that prevent deep emotional and spiritual recovery.

  • Workshop Hours:  9:00 AM to 4:30 PM (break for lunch)
  • Cost for the workshop only: $1,500 USD (does not include meals & lodging)
  • Limited onsite lodging $45 USD per night

Location:        Charlton, MA

Contact:          941-378-2122 or rmccumber@foodaddiction.com

Register Online: https://foodaddiction.com/programs/registration/ or call 941-378-2122

Is your heart health suffering? Eating Disorder Awareness and Heart Health 

It’s hard to believe that it’s February already!  I have been in Florida for over three weeks and, while I am enjoying the rain-free days, I have to say it’s much colder than I expected. I am hopeful the beautiful sunshine will continue to warm the air.

Besides the cold, the last three weeks have, once again, been phenomenal times of recovery, growth and abstinence. As Phil wrote recently, we had a very successful Primary Intensive in January, followed by five days of Living In Recovery, followed by an alumni weekend focused on Relapse Prevention.  Another Primary Intensive begins this week. WOW!! I have personally witnessed so many miracles. Here is one:  A participant had been struggling with Type 2 Diabetes for years, unable to manage her numbers. On arrival she said her blood glucose level was 428, and when she left two weeks later she indicated it was 109!  That’s a 75 percent drop in just 17 days.  A miracle of detox and abstinence!!

February has a focus on Eating Disorder Awareness and Heart Health.  In the past, we have written on eating disorders and the difference between an eating disorder and food addiction. Eating disorders are serious and can be fatal; it can also be fatal to be treated only  for an eating disorder when also suffering with the disease of food addiction.

Simply put, the biggest difference between these two diseases is that an eating disorder is a response to being unable to deal with feelings around past trauma, and food addiction is when our bodies are physically dependent upon the consumption of addictive foods. The treatment for both is also very different: for eating disorders, it is lifestyle changes and therapy to assist in learning new ways to cope with feelings; this is very difficult work. For food addiction, treatment is complete abstinence from all addictive foods and eating behaviors.

Most people coming to ACORN have both an eating disorder and food addiction.

  • For a more detailed description of the difference between these often deadly disorders and the treatment for them, click here.
  • For more information on eating disorders go to http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.
  • If you have further questions, please feel free to reach out to me.  I would love to chat with you about this.

February is also Heart Health Month in North America.  The Center for Disease Control states that “heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. and also the leading cause of death worldwide.”

Might food addiction be one of the leading causes of heart disease?

According to the American Heart Association these 7 things can stop heart disease and add years to our lives:

  1. Maintain a healthy body weight
  2. Eat a healthy diet
  3. Manage blood pressure
  4. Take charge of cholesterol
  5. Keep blood sugar at healthy levels
  6. Don’t smoke
  7. Engage in regular activity

“Life’s Simple 7,” as the American Heart Association calls them, look, to me, like “Food Addiction’s Simple 5” – since the top 5 points are usually taken care of when following appropriate protocol for food addiction recovery.

While it’s true that the leading cause of death written on deaths certificates is heart disease, I truly believe that heart disease is frequently secondary to food addiction. Can we change the stats on the #1 killer in North America?  I say a resounding YES! if, and only if, we take food addiction seriously and treat it like the deadly disease that it is.

The great news is that there is successful treatment for food addiction which gives people the chance to live a life of physical, mental and spiritual health. Many of us never believed this was possible. Yet, we witness these miracles almost daily as we support people up and out of the deadly grip of food addiction.

February 14 is Valentine’s Day, a good day to remember heart health. Is your heart health suffering?  Is the heart health of someone you love suffering?  Would managing one or all of “Life’s Simple 7” help?  If so, and you think food addiction may be a contribution factor, please join us at one of our upcoming workshop options Click here for the Event Schedule.

Wishing you a day full of peace, love and abstinence,

Amanda

P.S.  If you have a story of your heart health being restored with food addiction treatment, please share it with me.  I love to hear the miracles and hope in your stories of recovery!!


Weekly Teleconference “Nuts & Bolts”

Please join us Wednesday evenings for recovery support.

This no-cost abstinence support group is open to all. Led by Sherri Goodman, professional trainee. thereveals@frontier.com
Wednesdays at 7 pm (EST.)
Conference call in number:
(605) 468-8002
Access Number 1014962#

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Bonbon macaroon jelly-o sugar plum tiramisu sweet roll bonbon biscuit
Chupa chups sesame snaps sugar plum muffin sesame snaps cupcake liquorice macaroon pastry. Macaroon cake jujubes marshmallow chupa chups donut.
Biscuit jujubes cookie icing oat cake ice cream chocolate liquorice
Chupa chups sesame snaps sugar plum muffin sesame snaps cupcake liquorice macaroon pastry. Macaroon cake jujubes marshmallow chupa chups donut.
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Chupa chups sesame snaps sugar plum muffin sesame snaps cupcake liquorice macaroon pastry. Macaroon cake jujubes marshmallow chupa chups donut.

Liquorice carrot cake marshmallow sesame snaps marshmallow toffee jelly-o cupcake soufflé. Toffee sesame snaps sugar plum sesame snaps. Apple pie bonbon pudding donut dragée sweet powder lollipop biscuit. Toffee wypas biscuit gummies gingerbread danish liquorice.

ACORN Primary Intensives Successful – Spread the Word

ACORN Primary Intensives Successful – Spread the Word

We just completed the January Primary Intensive, and everyone became rigorously abstinent, dealt with deep emotional issues, and moved towards accepting their powerlessness.  We sometimes forget how special this program is for those who are new to food addiction, those having trouble getting abstinent, and those in chronic relapse.

“Forever grateful, life changing! If you’re not getting your
powerlessness in Step 1, this is the place to get it.”

ACORN has been offering the Primary Intensive for over 24 years, with an average of eight Intensives per year.  To date, over 2,500 food addicts have participated in this program.

Middle- and late-stage food addicts often need the same type of support as alcoholics who cannot get sober by themselves or with the help of therapy or a Twelve Step program.  The ACORN Primary Intensive shows that residential detox can be a key to success for struggling food addicts, and ACORN’s program offers more. In addition to offering support for identifying and eliminating binge foods, there is:

  • help in finding an abstinence food plan;
  • instruction in inventorying food slips physically, emotional, mentally and spiritually;
  • education about food addiction as a brain disease;
  •  experience dealing with the most difficult feelings;
  • a rigorous process for challenging food addiction denial; and
  • aid in creating a plan for long-term abstinence and recovery after the workshop.

In 2006, a survey of outcomes of the ACORN Primary Intensives was done.  A research sample of over 250 alumni found that over two-thirds of those surveyed were, at the time of the survey, abstinent and maintaining a substantial weight loss.  Of those, 50 percent indicated they had not relapsed since attending the event.  Those who indicated they had breaks in abstinence were able to get back on track, often with the support of another ACORN event.  One-third of those surveyed reported being in relapse.

As part of their food abstinence, respondents reported they had entirely eliminated several different foods:

  • Added sugar (86%)
  • Excess volume (74%)
  • Alcohol (74%)
  • Flour (71%)
  • Chocolate (70%)
  • Other food substances: wheat, artificial sweeteners, excess fat, gum, meat, nuts, salt (44%)

Participants were asked to evaluate the Primary Intensive as a whole.  Most reported that as a result of attending, they were glad to learn more about their addiction to food.  Only 13 percent replied that it was “somewhat” helpful; and 71 percent said that “it changed everything” for them.

Food addicts hear about ACORN and the Primary Intensive mostly by word of mouth from those who have attended. It may be that you know someone who might benefit from an Intensive.

The next available Primary Intensives are February 6-11 in Sarasota/Bradenton, Florida, February 11-16 in Reykjavik, Iceland, and March 13-18 in Vancouver, British Columbia.  A complete list of upcoming events is available at www.foodaddiction.com/programs/events/.

“ACORN keeps helping my oak-tree of recovery grow stronger.”

As a reminder, if you know someone through a Twelve Step fellowship, be sure to honor the Twelve Traditions by not mentioning ACORN, Phil, Mary or Amanda by name, in any Twelve Step meeting.

Even though I can hardly believe it, I will turn 77 in a few months.  The commitment of many of you to carry forward this model of professional support for food addicts is truly inspiring.  My sincere hope is that with our continued commitment to abstinence and deepening recovery, many more will find freedom and happiness.

It is my privilege to work with food addicts through the professional support offered in ACORN.  I have seen the pain, watched the struggle of accepting powerlessness, and witnessed the remarkable recovery of many.

If you would like to read more from the Survey of ACORN Outcomes, please refer to Food Addiction Recovery, A New Model of Professional Support: the ACORN Primary Intensive available by emailing rmccumber@foodaddiction.com.

In love and abstinence,
Phil


Alumni Retreat: Relapse Prevention Focus

Come for a Relapse Prevention weekend and enjoy R&R, Recharge and Recovery.

When:       Friday, Feb 2 to Sunday, Feb 4
(starts Fri at 6 pm and ends Sun at 3 pm)

Where:      Sugar Free Place, Bradenton, Florida

Cost:         $550 USD includes program, lodging and all meals

What:        An event for ACORN alumni only that focuses on RELAPSE PREVENTION!

Join Phil and Amanda for an amazing weekend as we delve into this vital aspect of ongoing recovery.  Explore the whys, the hows and, most importantly, the “how nots!!”  The Relapse Prevention weekend is an eye-opening and lifesaving event, providing participants the tools to actually “STOP” a relapse process in its early stages—meaning before they pick up the food!  I believe that all of us in recovery can benefit from this work.  One recent participant stated, “This relapse work was the missing piece for me.”


Primary Intensive

When:       Feb 6 – 11 – Bradenton, Florida
Feb 11 – 16 – Reykjavik, Iceland
Mar 13 – 18 – Vancouver, British Columbia

What:        ACORN’s “powerful” and “life-changing” 5-day program

Join Phil and Amanda for ACORN’s signature program, The Primary Intensive. This 5-day structured residential program includes practice using a food plan, education about the disease, process groups, challenging denial, structured activities, individual reading and writing assignments, and resources for support. Open to those new to food addiction recovery and to those who want to deepen their recovery in an abstinent environment.

Space is limited to 10 participants!


Weekly Teleconference “Nuts & Bolts”

Please join us Wednesday evenings for recovery support.

This no-cost abstinence support group is open to all. Led by Sherri Goodman, professional trainee. thereveals@frontier.com
Wednesdays at 7 pm (EST.)
Conference call in number:
(605) 468-8002
Access Number 1014962#