I think I have discovered the secret to overcoming and beating your addiction, and I will reveal this unique two step program and the totality of my secret formula at the very end. 

Patent is pending.   

It is extremely simple, really.  So simple in fact, which is what makes it so difficult to master.

My dad was addicted to alcohol his entire life.  It took me too many years to grow up and understand him.  It took a long time to come to terms with his addiction and perhaps someday I will share more on the subject. 

He was victorious.

In the last remaining years of his life he gave up drinking altogether.  I never asked him why he finally stopped, but then again, I don’t think it was my place to ask him in the first place.  Immigrating Canada was a tremendous saving grace for him, although even on new soil without old friends, far away from everything, he still struggled.  Perhaps he finally just got tired of it all.  Maybe he no longer saw any sense in it.  Perhaps his body just told him to stop.  In either case, I am just so very proud that he died victorious.  Victory is amazingly sweet, even if it arrives in the twilight of our lives.

My mother struggled as well.  Her addiction was cigarettes.  It was the death of her. 

She struggled so much that she smoked even when she carried me in her womb.  She was so apologetic go me, on so many occasions, that it became embarrassing.  She told me so many times how strong she was carrying my brother, but just couldn’t help herself, when it came time to carry me.  She was so worried that she hurt me. 

Funny enough.  I don’t smoke.  When I was a young little fella, I bought a pack of Menthol cigarettes from the corner kiosk and smoked them all.  Hey, I’m no quitter.  I really love mint, but I could not for the life of me understand what the big deal was. 

When my mother would offer her many apologies, I reminded her in jest that she did a good thing after all.  I started and quit smoking right back in the womb, and that has made all the difference.  Clearly it stunted my growth.  Being six foot four inches tall is such a shame.

Her addiction was so power that it embarrassed her when she was going in for a quadruple bypass surgery at the hospital.  She couldn’t help herself.  She sneaked off into the hospital bathroom, and in spite the many no smoking signs and warnings of potential fines, she still had her cigarette to try to alleviate some of the stress of the upcoming surgery.

When her doctor saw her, he asked her if she enjoyed her last smoke?  She smiled and looked at him in all seriousness and declared that she did no such thing.  When she finally recovered, she had time to realize how bad the stench really is, and how easily detectable.  She was most embarrassed.

Like my dad and his sobriety, she never had another cigarette after her surgery.  It all just stopped.  The drapes were never yellow again.  The air was more fragrant, especially for my asthmatic father.  She managed to find her victory.  She finally became triumphant.

My addiction has always been food.  My taste buds are very pornographic in nature.  Before you take offense, it is the best way I can describe my experience.  I can eat a lot.  I pre-eat, eat, and post-eat.  I engage in planning my next meal, right in the middle of consume another meal.

In my twenties, I took up a lot more space on this earth.  I walked a little slower.  I sweated a bit more.  I carried a bigger shadow.  In my absolute glory, I weighed in at 336 pounds.  You might think I’m exaggerating here, but I am not.  Pepperoni on a pizza was as seductive to me as a pair of tantalizing nipples. 

Eating so much pizza can be a little embarrassing.  I would order two medium pizzas every day.  Looking back, I believe that the little bit of pineapple, might have been the only piece of fruit I consumed for months at a time. 

I started to get embarrassed seeing the same pizza delivery man come to my door every single day, with two pizzas, and a six pack of cokes. 

I was embarrassed, but in a way, it helped to solve my other problem.  I would order a pizza every day, but from a different company, and as far as they were concerned, I was ordering pizza only once per week.

I don’t think I ever felt worse.  My exterior body was a good representation of how I felt and saw myself on the inside.  Those were some tough years.  Even my mother tried to encourage me to lose some weight and do something about life.

I understand the addiction. 

When you don’t think you are worth much and are extremely lonely for companionship, those extra hundred pounds make it much easier to do absolutely nothing about it.  When you are fat, you have a reason not to date anyone.  You have a reason to quit before you begin.  You have an excuse to pine, and reach for another slice of pie.  It is a vicious cycle that repeats and reaffirms itself over, and over again.

I remember trying to change my life.  Sweating on relatively cool days, I was beginning to eye Mexican ponchos as potential formal wear. 

I read something about weight training in a magazine somewhere, and so I decided to ask my friends, if it would be better if I trained myself with dumbbells or a barbell. 

They had mercy on me. 

They saw right through my procrastination of endless research.  They lovingly looked me right in the eye and told me the plain truth.  A truth I desperate, but reluctantly needed to hear.  “Greg.  We love you, but you’re fucking fat.  As it stands and the shape you are in, if you were just to drop a pencil to the flood and force your fat ass to pick it, you would make tremendous strides”.

I’m not sure if these were the exact words that finally set me in the right direction or if it was a series of other happenchance moments that followed later.

It has been a long journey to health and I still struggle. 

Have I overcome my addiction?  Yes.  Even though I am not where I want to be, I have never once returned to that time when I kept the pizza industry afloat with my undying commitment to taste.

Here comes the secret.

This is the secret to overcoming any addiction.

Take a step forward. 

Pick up your pencil and drop it on the floor.  What will follow might just change your life, and make an immeasurable difference.

We remain addicted to many things because we quit too soon, and quit far too often.  The secret lies in our ability to keep going.  In taking that next step, over, and over, and over again.

The bamboo tree, when planted as a seed, needs to be watered and receive nutrients on a regular basis.  Nothing happens in the first year, or the second.  There is no sign of life in the third or the fourth.  The fifth year arrives and still nothing happens.  Then, suddenly, in a matter of six weeks, the bamboo tree grows to be over ninety feet tall.

Looking at the bamboo tree fully grown, you might be mistaken in thinking that it took six weeks to grow it, when in fact, the journey began some five years earlier.

Take a step forward.  Take another.

Don’t be afraid to fall back. 

Dust yourself off, and take another step forward.

Quit smoking on Monday and again on Monday afternoon.  Quit again the next morning.  Quit on the weekend.  Quit again.  Quit again and again and again. 

Whatever you do, just don’t ever stop quitting.

That is the secret. 

Take a step forward and never quit. 

Wait at least five years. 

Give it some more time, in necessary.