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ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services

Kate from TV show This Is Us…do you relate to her?? If so you probably want to register for our upcoming program.

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Is the 3 Day program right for me? This is a great question. And just to be annoying, I am going to answer this with another question (actually a couple of questions)….Do you now or have you in the past struggled with being unable to stop eating? Do you eat when you are emotional? Does your eating or weight have negative consequences on your life? If you answered yes to any of these and you want 2019 to be different then YES this 3 day program is for you.

One more question, do you relate to Kate on the TV show This Is Us? I remember watching the very first episode in season 1, within the first 5 minutes we are introduced to Kate, an obese woman just about to turn 36 years old. The scene takes place with her standing in the kitchen looking in the refrigerator. She opens up the fridge and there are several yellow sticky notes on different food items. One is stuck to what looks like sugary treat foods and it says, “Bad’ another stuck to a plastic tub of pineapple says “250 calories”, another attached to take out food containers says, “throw this crap out” and yet another stuck to a birthday cake says, “Do not dare eat this cake before your party, Kate. Love Kate”. Kate then rips this last note off the cake and underneath is another note, it reads, “Seriously, what is wrong with you?” A bit later in the episode Kate is sitting in her bathroom on the floor with her twin brother, she is crying, she says, “how did I get here”, “what happened to my life, I feel like I ate my dream life away”. She looks at her brother and says, “tell me to quit feeling sorry for myself and to lose the damn weight”. Kate says this last statement to herself firmly, loudly and with conviction, “I am going to lose the damn weight”. Flash to next scene Kate is at a weight loss support group convinced this is it, she will now lose the weight. And she means it with everything she has. Sadly, in episode 2 you see Kate hiding empty junk food containers in the garbage, she is eating again.

This whole scenario really hit home with me. At the time I first watched it I was abstinent and had lost over 100 pounds. However, it was still painful for me as I had spent so many of my years being Kate, doing exactly what Kate was doing. Trying desperately to gain “control” of my weight and eating issues and every single time I failed and then beat myself up, asking myself “what is wrong with me?” Do you relate to Kate? If you do you may be food dependent and need more than just another diet and exercise plan.

I was so grateful when I realized it wasn’t my fault yet it was my responsibility once I knew what the solution was. The solution is physical, mental and spiritual…I need a personal food plan that deals with the specific food ingredients I am addicted to. I need tools to deal with my feelings and not eat over them. I need the support of others, I cannot do this alone. At ACORN’s upcoming event we will take a look at all of these and ensure you leave with a plan specific to you and your needs including aftercare support.




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Phil’s musing about World Health Day and Food Addiction

World Health Day and Food Addiction

World Health Day is a global health awareness day celebrated every year on April 7th, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization, as well as other related organizations This special attention on issues of world health affords me the opportunity to muse about the critical issue of food addiction.

We don’t have solid data on how many in the world are food addicted. That’s the first problem. However, we do know that the obesity and other problems of overeating now affect more people of the United States and worldwide than the problems of starvation and malnutrition. [1]

The best information we have about food addiction is from a study of one U.S. metropolitan area, reported by Dr. David Kessler (not yet published). From this research, Dr. Kessler estimates there are 70,000,000 adults, in the United States alone, who have the characteristics of food addiction: physical craving and loss of control. [2]

Another significant problem is that most of those with food addiction are misdiagnosed, mistreated or not treated at all. Since food addiction progressively creates a problem of loss of control, this means that millions of those who are overweight or obese are not able to achieve and maintain necessary weight loss. Worse, they also suffer from a brain disease which distorts the mind and causes enormous emotional suffering.

Finally, of course, there is the cost. If we assume that the cost of food addiction is just one third that of obesity, [3] it would mean that food addiction and its associated medical problems are costing $49 billion per year, just in the United States.

The third problem, also related to money, is that Americans below the median income level are almost entirely excluded from short- or long-term residential treatment for food addiction. We talk with self-assessed middle- and late-stage food addicts every month who cannot achieve and maintain abstinence from their binge foods, and who find the cost of a five-day residential ACORN Primary Intensive beyond their grasp financially, even though there is a high likelihood that it could help them get abstinent and save money in the long term. [4]  In the case of ACORN workshops, the cost of services is cut as much as possible, [5] and financial help is only possible when there are donations for this purpose from others who have funds to contribute. At residential treatment centers a major problem is that health insurance frequently does not cover addiction model treatment. This is unlikely to change until the American Psychiatric Association accepts food as a substance use disorder as a formal diagnostic category.

[1] Danielle Dellorto, CNN, 2012.

[2] Kessler’s figure of 70,000,000 adults with food addiction was report in Your Food Is Fooling You: How Your Brain Is Hijacked by Sugar, Fat, and Salt, the follow-up book to his New York Times bestseller, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. In an NPR interview about the book, Kessler said that the estimates from this study found 50 percent of the obese, 30 percent of the overweight and 20 percent of those at a ”healthy” weight or less to be, at least, at an early stage food addiction.

[3] CDC, annual cost of obesity and its associated health problems in the U.S., $147 billion, 2018

[4] Most of those who become food addiction abstinent spend less on food than on their prior binge foods.  Those in later stages of food addiction are often having difficulty working and maintaining the quality of their work; their earning capacity becomes more stable over time and often increases with abstinence and recovery.

[5] The ACORN residential workshop model offers services at one-quarter to one-half the cost of most food addiction treatment centers. Of course, it is not a licensed treatment center with traditionally certified health professionals.

Space is available for the Men’s 3-Days with Phil – April 6 – 8
Don’t delay registering for this event! You can register online or call the ACORN office at 941-378-2122.


Join us in wishing Phil a Happy 77th Birthday, April 2!



Upcoming Events

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

Register Online: or call 941-378-2122

Bullying STOPS here! Pink Shirt Day Feb 28th

February 26th 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 (! 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 26th, 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.

We have a solution and we want to help.

Peace & Abstinence,



28 Days of Recovery in Vancouver


I am sitting in the group room at Sugar Free Place in Bradenton, Florida.  It’s 9:00 Saturday morning, and we just finished gentle breakfast on the first morning of a Primary Intensive.  It is quiet and peaceful as all the participants are working on their first assignments and preparing for our first group which starts in about 30 minutes.  It is another beautiful day here in Florida, about 27 degrees (that’s 81 for those of you who speak in Fahrenheit) and sunny.

As I sit here, I can’t help but feel a sense of awe and hope at the prospect of all of these people starting their recovery journey – a journey that will be challenging; a journey that can often be painful; a journey that for me, personally, has been the most amazing and rewarding journey of my life!

Where will your recovery journey next take YOU?

We have some amazing recovery opportunities happening in Vancouver throughout the entire month of November. That’s right, 28 continuous days of recovery support with ACORN.  So, instead of gearing up for another season of eating and bondage, take advantage of the extra support available now and gear up for a season of freedom.  NOW is the time.

  • Nov. 3 – 5:  Retreat/Reunion Weekend
  • Nov. 10 – 15:  ACORN’s signature program, The Primary Intensive
  • Nov. 16 – 30:  Living in Recovery Program

Or, combine all of the above for a full month of recovery (substantial discounts available when combining events)!

Retreat/Reunion Weekend

Come for some R&R, Recharge, Recovery and Relapse Prevention

When:  Friday, Nov. 3 to Sunday, Nov. 5 (starts Friday at 7 pm and ends Sunday at 3 pm)

Where:  Richmond, BC

Cost:  $500 USD includes program, lodging and all meals

What:  A 3-day event for ACORN alumni only that will focus on RELAPSE PREVENTION!
Join Phil and me for an amazing weekend as we delve into relapse prevention.  Explore the whys, the hows and, most importantly, the how nots!!  I truly don’t know one of us in recovery that could not benefit from this work.  I have been taking several clients through this relapse prevention work, and it has been quite eye opening and lifesaving, allowing people to actually “STOP” a relapse in its early stages – meaning, before they picked up the food!

Primary Intensive 

When:  Friday, Nov. 10 to Wednesday, November 15 (starts Friday at 7 pm and ends Wednesday at 2 pm)

Where:  Vancouver, BC

Cost:  $2,175 USD includes program, lodging and all meals

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

Join Phil and me for ACORN’s signature program, The Primary Intensive. This is a 5-day structured residential program that includes practice using a food plan, education about the disease, challenging denial and resources for support.

Space is limited to 10 participants!

The Intensive supports and promotes food abstinence and Twelve Step work through a process of groups, education, structured activities and individual reading and writing assignments. Open to those new to food addiction recovery and to those who want to deepen their recovery in an abstinent environment.

“Living in Recovery”

When:  Thursday, Nov. 16 to Thursday, Nov. 30

Where:  Vancouver, BC

Cost: (Includes program and lodging)

  • Intensive plus two weeks – $4,125 USD
  • Intensive plus one week – $3,125 USD
  • Two weeks Living in Recovery – $2,500 USD
  • One week Living in Recovery – $1,400 USD

What:  A one or two week residential program enabling participants to deepen their recovery in a “real -world” environment

Living in Recovery” is a residential program offering participants a “real-world” environment – participants will stay in a residential home, grocery shop at local markets, prepare their own abstinent meals (with staff guidance), participate in Twelve Step meetings, daily practice journaling & writing, and attend daily facilitator-led process groups.  This opportunity is sure to enhance your commitment to ongoing physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth.  Sign up today!


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.
Wednesdays at 7 pm (EST.)
Conference call in number:
(605) 468-8002
Access Number 1014962#