Jan 14, 2014

It's Inherently Contradictory

"I have a disease.  It is called Compulsive Overeating.  I do not have the ability to control food choices or portion size.  This is the way Hashem made me."

That is a quote from a letter to the editor of a frum publication.  The author goes on to say that he joined OA and since then he has maintained a 150 pound weight loss.

After reading contradictory statements like these time and again, I can't help but wonder.  Is it possible that I am the only one who notices that he is not making any sense? He just said he has a G-d inflicted disease in which he lacks the ability to control food choices or portion size.  In the next breath he extols an organization that he joined which has helped him control food choices and portion sizes.  Nobody comes to his home and monitors his food intake.  There are no cameras recording all his eating.  No penalties if he makes the wrong choices.

What happens is, he decides to control is food intake.  So does he have a disease or not? Can he control himself or not?

Aren't the answers obvious? I.e. He acquired terrible eating habits and is working to overcome them.  That is commendable.  I don't see why they have to falsify the facts.  Why the need for the disease lie? Why the need for an illogical claim of lack of control when those who "work the steps" are controlling themselves?

He concludes the letter by saying, "There is a solution.  It is not surgical.  It is not in taking supplements.  It is not counting points.  It is not by tricking your body into burning its own fat.  Rather, the solution is Overeaters Anonymous."

Why not this alternate conclusion: There is a solution.  It is neither surgical nor does it involve supplements nor counting points nor tricking your body.  It's about free will and acknowledging that as a human being we have free choice and can exercise this power.  For ain davar ha'omed bifnei ha'ratzon - nothing stands in the way of one's will, as the author has shown.


  1. The acknowledgement of free choice may be one of the 12 steps of OA or for that matter, any 12 step program. OA is very strict and one woman that I know who went on it is very thin now; possibly thinner than she needs to be.

  2. Acknowledgement of free choice is not one of the 12 steps.

  3. what are the 12 steps then? I thought that acceptance of things beyond one's control is one of them. Is that an example of choice?

  4. The Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous

    We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
    Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
    Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
    Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
    Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
    Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
    Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
    Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
    Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
    Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
    Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
    Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
    this doesn't directly mention choice but does speak of turning to G-d

  5. And what actually happens?
    The person chooses to control food choices and portion sizes.
    So what happened to the disease? G-d took it away? They don't say that. They say they are victims of the disease forever.
    So they simultaneously claim to have a disease of no control while going on to control themselves.

  6. The 12 steps are based on Xtian ideas--despite the fact that Rabbi Twerski (im kol hakavod for all the amazing things he's done) has popularized them in the frum community through his books.