Addiction and Gut Dysbiosis

A good friend of mine is in recovery from alcoholism. It’s interesting to me how well he and I connect on the matter of healing. There are simply so many parallels between recovery from addiction and recovery from mental illness based in gut dysbiosis, among them:

  • symptoms (depression, anxiety, social phobia, etc)
  • sensitivity to what is ingested
  • issues appearing to be psychological, etc
  • need to commit 100% to abstinence from a triggering substance
  • positive response to dense nutrition

I do suspect addiction to be largely based in gut dysbiosis. Issues often blamed for triggering addiction include low self esteem, poor sense of self worth, anxiety, depression, lack of self control, etc, but after many years of therapy, which was indeed helpful, the variable that actually removed these from my own life was GAPS. It may not be a coincidence that my friend and I connect so well on journeys that appear on the surface to be different from each other. Indeed, I suspect they are not.

73 Replies to “Addiction and Gut Dysbiosis”

  1. I’m looking for fellow AA’ers on GAPS, but this would be a taboo topic at meetings and in our social circles. I’ve been sober 17 years in AA. I’ve come to believe that most or perhaps even every single person in Alcoholics Anonymous is suffering from GAPS.

    After 36 hours on the diet, all of my mental troubles evaporated. The specter of depression that had haunted me since my earliest childhood memory vanished, never to return, not even for a moment. That was a year and a half ago.

    GAPS has given me more than what AA ever promised me. At AA meetings, I have to bite my tongue and sit on my hands – I see and hear GAPS in every person’s sharing, but I’m obliged by our traditions to carry the AA message only, not to bring an outside message like the GAPS message to the meetings.

    I’d like to be placed in contact with fellow alcoholics, addicts, 12-Step members, etc., who can relate to GAPS.

    • Wow, Gerald! This is exciting to me!

      Ideas for connecting…

      1. In the GAPS support forum, type ‘addicts, 12 step members, etc’ into a subject line of a post. Few people are able to read all posts, and this will grab the attention of folks on a similar journey.

      2. Offer to be a phone or email contact for people in addiction recovery. You could be added to our group’s phone support list in that context, and/or I could list you on my blog’s “support” page.

      3. Use wordpress.com to create a simple webpage or site, offering your experience. I could link to that on my blog’s “support” page.

      All my best,
      Baden

  2. Hi Gerald,

    I am so excited to find your response because I am in an extremely similar place as yourself, and have been hoping for so so long now to connect with someone.

    I will spare my full on story, but briefly I have dealt with fairly severe emotional – mental problems since I can remember that worsened at puberty, and recently have taken new turns. In the past 2 years I developed an eating addiction ironically alongside my research into food-mood connections and what is actually nourishing to our minds & bodies, but it seemed every new eating change I tried to make I could stick with for a short time but then get overwhelmed and the pendulum would swing way in the other direction and I would fall into bingeing – overeating like crazy.
    In the past 6 months, I started realizing how much this food addiction was starting to affect every aspect of my life.
    So I’m trying to heal lifelong emotional-mental imbalances, a very unhappy gut, as well as overcome this food addiction. Needless to say I’ve been a little overwhelmed, but slowly finding my way to what I need to heal. I believe GAPS is one more crucial piece in my puzzle, as well as just this week joining a 12-step overeaters anonymous group. I’m feeling more stable than I have in maybe forever, but still hesistant and feeling very isolated from friends & family in these new lifestyle changes. I see so many people around me, including as you saw in AA I see in all the other overeaters, that I believe are suffering from simliar gut unhappiness, but yet I cannot bring any of this healing wisdom to them unless they want to hear it. I suppose the best way to do so is to give my own personal example, and I am really just getting started on what I know will be a long, lifelong journey.
    It’s very inspiring to read your words of recovery, it would be great to be in touch.
    Laura

  3. I’m doing GAPS for my family right now- just started a month ago. Have a close friend who is struggling with mental illness and drug addiction- I know it would be perfect for him – I may have to start attending Al-anon if I can’t let go a bit more. I’m wondering if Gerald or anyone else on this thread has established a place for those using GAPS for mental illness, depression, and addiction.

    TIA!
    Alison Murphy

  4. I would love to hear more in this vein. I recently joined Overeaters Anonymous and plan to use GAPS as my food plan.
    Mary E.

    • Hi Mary E,

      Not a lot more info coming through on this yet, but please do look at Dr Natasha’s FAQ page under the subheading ‘Addictions’.

      One caution – In GAPS healing, it is very important to not restrict our quantities of food. Especially during intensive healing phases -intro, die-off, etc- the body often requires enormous amounts of food. It is important to honour the body’s needs in these phases and to not view this as ‘overeating’.

      All my best,
      Baden

  5. Hi Mary, Alison,

    You’re following good paths.

    I’m on Yahoo’s GAPShelp forum all the time. My handle is sundaesandapplepies.

    There are other OA’ers and at least one other AA’er.

    Actually, the topic seldom comes up, but I am looking forward to the day when I can chat at length with other AA’ers who can relate to the experience that I have had.

    Unfortunately, GAPS is an unacceptable topic in AA meetings. I wish there were a place for AA GAPS patients to meet up, however, I’m not sure that there are very many of us in the world … but I would be happy to talk to anyone on this journey.

    I am convinced that all alcoholics and addicts suffer from GAPS conditions to some degree, most to a very large degree.

    I believe I understand why so few newcomers actually make it and also why true peace of mind can remain elusive for so many old-timers – it’s the food we’re eating, the complex carbs! as well as the other problems with our diets (low fat) and pharmaceuticals, etc..

    All of the riddles and unanswered questions from my 15 years sober in AA have been answered to my satisfaction. All the dots have been connected. This is exciting!

    Gerald

    • Gerald, Mary and Alison,

      Just wanted to say I’m really happy to be seeing active discussion on this particular topic!

      All my best to all of you,
      Baden

  6. Thanks, Gerald. Good to hear from you. I’ve seen you on the GAPS list and was wondering if it was the same Gerald. I’m not fully on GAPS yet. I really do want to start out with Intro. I’ve included many of the principles of WAPF in the past few years – ferments, good fats and such. I’ve transitioned to low-carb for now and will ease into Intro in a month (granddaughter is coming to visit soon, and I don’t want that to coincide with starting).

    Also easing into OA. Reading up, attending meetings and soon to get a sponsor – she does not know much about GAPS but is open and supportive of the food program I choose. Don’t know how much you know about OA, but it is about using the 12 steps to overcome compulsive overeating. We even use and read from the big book. “Abstinence” in OA means whatever you decide you must abstain from — for me under GAPS it will not be about limiting quantities, but about abstaining from those foods that are not GAP legal — which of course, are all the foods most people in OA call their trigger foods, like sugar and simple carbs. I know what you mean about not being able to talk about it. We can’t even mention the food plans we’ve chosen at the meetings.

    I’m really hoping that healing my gut and confronting my addictions to food will at last help me to see food like a normal person.

    Mary E.

  7. Mary,

    I’m certain you will overcome food addiction with GAPS and OA and I’m certain your gut will heal.

    Yes, I know how in OA each person defines his own food plan, and I understand that there is pretty much common agreement about the “trigger foods” like white flour and table sugar.

    However, what GAPS makes clear is that if a person has a problem digesting one type of food that is high in polysaccharides (wheat flour) or dissacharides (table sugar), then that person has a problem digesting _all_ foods that are high in polysaccharides and disaccharides.

    I think you are very lucky to have the GAPS perspective going in to OA.

    Yes, I cannot talk about this with AA’ers. I’ve tried, but they just don’t “get it.” In AA, food isn’t even _the_ problem, right?! So it’s very hard to convince AA’ers that starch & sugar causes us gut problems and malnutrition that in turn cause us mental problems like depression, anger, fear, etc. – the very problems AA’ers try to solve through the 12 steps.

    I’ll look for you on GAPShelp,

    Gerald

  8. I am so excited to stumble upon this discussion! I have been searching for information about GAPS and addictions for a family member. I myself am on GAPS for physical reasons but always thought it would be very beneficial for anyone struggling with addictions as well as other mental issues. I hope someone will take Baden’s suggestion and start a personal blog and get a link to it on this site.

    My question to those who are using GAPS to overcome addictions: Are fermented foods helpful for you? I believe that there is a small amount of alcohol generated during fermentation. I read once that alcoholics might guzzle a bottle of vinegar for the alcoholic content. So I’m wondering whether ferments might be a trigger. I wouldn’t want to recommend something to my relative that could be harmful to recovery.

    Best wishes to all of you on your GAPS journey!
    Yvonne

  9. Yvonne,
    I am a recovering alcoholic (5 years sober). I do not experience natural vinegar or other fermented foods like sauerkraut to trigger alcohol cravings. I am hyper-vigilant about my sobriety and would do nothing to risk going back to drinking. I don’t even have vanilla extract in our home as they often have alcohol in them. If an alcoholic were to be tempted to guzzle vinegar I would wonder if it had alcohol added. I use naturally produced organic apple cider vinegar. And I make my own sauerkraut. Becoming well educated on how food products are made as well as making your own foods from scratch is essential to protect sobriety.

    I appreciate you asking the question. It’s wonderful that you are supportive in this way to your relative.

    I also place a lot of hope in GAPS for healing the damage from abusive drinking. Just beginning so I can’t say from experience.

    Gel

    • Thanks so much for your response, Gel. It’s good to know that cultured foods seem to be safe for you. I would be interested in hearing more about your adventure on GAPS. My hope is that standard treatment for addictions and other mental illnesses will begin with diet in the (near?) future. I know there are some treatment facilities that stress the importance of diet, but they don’t yet seem to realize the importance of gut microbes and that they can be influenced more quickly by adding cultured foods and probiotic supplements to an otherwise healthy (high fat) diet.
      Yvonne

      • Hi Yvonne, Gell,

        Me, too, recovered alcoholic sober fifteen years by 3/2009, when I took out all the Illegals on the SCD. On GAPS since 7/2010, basically anti-Candida this whole time.

        I’m certain dysbiosis of the intestinal flora and the resultant malnutrition was the cause of my lifelong depression. Perhaps they’ll find some day that my alcoholic reaction to alcohol (i.e. the “physical phenomenon of craving”), which non-alcoholics cannot experience, is actually due to some particular pathogenic microorganism or a lack of some certain beneficial microorganism. Who knows what science will uncover in the future?

        I’ve found in GAPS’s (and the SCD’s) hypothesis of “carbohydrate maldigestion” an explanantion for all of the mental and emotional disturbances that riddle the extended families of alcoholics. Most commonly, relatively few members in a given family will be _real_ alcoholics, yet so much of the rest of the extended family will be shot through with any of various other physical, mental, and emotional problems: food addiction (read “carbs addiction”), other eating disorders, mental illness/ severly impaired interpersonal relationship skills, obesity – and skinniness, diabetes, and on and on – let’s not overlook Depression …

        From GAPs I learned that all of these seemingly unrelated physical, mental, and emotional illnesses actually have a common cause: dysbiosis, carbs maldigestion, malnutrition.

        This is the common thread that weaves its way through the generations in alcoholic families. This is how it “skips” generations. This is why only certain family members become _real alcoholics_ but so much of the rest of the family can be ill in many other ways. This also explains the previously unexplainable phenomenon of the lone alcoholic in an extended family of non-alcoholic and otherwise very functional people. Once in a blue moon we encounter real alcoholics who do not derive from a typical alcoholic househould, which is generally moderately to severely dysfunctional. The hypothesis of carbohydrate maldigestion can explain the appearance of such a “black sheep alcoholic.”

        Getting the Illegals out on the SCD cured me of the depression that had haunted me since early childhood, long before I took that first drink, and remained with me during all my years sober despite the my successes in sobriety. I have not spent one moment depressed in the past 36 months! The sober and spiritual way of life I’d been living hitherto could not do that for me. What I learned through this dietary journey is that my mental and emotional disturbances 1) were not of my own making, 2) could not be cured by any kind of “moral psychology,” and 3) were entirely physical in origin – i.e. nutritional.

        I firmly believe that all addicts are suffering from some kind of malnutrition. The biological (e.g. genes), religious, and dysfunctional family explanations failed to completely satisfy. Now I know why. But to get society at large to see it this way? I’m not sure about that because that would be going against the tide of the past 10,000 years of agriculture and civilization …

        • Hi Yvonne, Gel, Gerald,

          It’s always exciting to me to see this conversation resurface! I’m so inspired by everyone speaking here.

          Gerald, you’ve got such a great handle on the nutritional issues. It’s so good to hear all these words.

          Exciting, inspiring stuff!

          All my best,
          Baden

  10. Hi all, Glad to see this thread revived also and would like to keep it going in some manner. I have been plagued by depression, drug, food & alchohol addiction my entire life. Have been drug and alcohol free for years, but still never felt “right” and kept searching for balance through spirtual practices, yoga, vegetarian diets etc. While the spiritual practices definitely were positive, nothing has made me feel whole and well as much as the full gaps diet. It amazes me and while the diet is difficult and a bit socially limiting, it is much more manageable than than being depressed and addicted. Do you think addicts need to stay on a lifelong form of the diet? Dr. McB mentions in the book that this could be the case for those with eating disorders. thanks.

    • Hi Donna,

      Great post!

      My intuition is that most people struggling with addiction will need to stay on GAPS lifelong. I don’t think this is specific to folks with addiction to alcohol or drugs, though. I believe many adults -because our systems were overloaded by stress and poor nutrition for too many years- will find optimal health only through a GAPS or mostly-GAPS diet. Children, on the other hand, may well renew their bodies’ capacity to more effectively process a wider range of foods.

      All my best,
      Baden

    • Hi Donna,

      Your experience is like mine: “While the spiritual practices definitely were positive, nothing has made me feel whole and well as much as the full gaps diet.”

      As for addicts staying on GAPS lifelong, I believe I will stay on a low-sweets, low-starch GAPS (anti-Candida GAPS) and/or a high-fat Paleo with ferments for the rest of my life. After a few months on anti-Candida GAPS, I lost all desire to eat any of the starchy and sugary Illegals, my lifelong sweettooth was cured, and I developed a sourtooth. My carbs addiction was broken, and now I am repulsed by the Illegals, whereas at the beginning of the diet, I dreamed that some day I could bring some Illegals back into my diet. It is easy to see myself eating this way for life.

      Short ‘n’ sweet, this is what I have come to believe: agrarian foods (GAPS/ SCD/ Paleo Illegals) differ from pre-agrarian foods basically in two ways: 1) high in complex carbs, 2) low in nutrients, possibly high in “anti-nutrients.”

      I believe that physiologically & psychologically modern man enjoyed superior physical & mental health for 40,000 years before the invention of agriculture (but this in no way implies that pre-agrarian man was intellectually or morally superior to agrarian man.) I believe that the starchy and sugary Illegals make humans physically and mentally ill. The greater the proportion of agrarian foods in a human being’s diet, the greater the likelihood that he will develop one of the “Diseases of Civilization,” especially addictions like alcoholism and food addiction (read “carbs addiction”).

      I am eager to meet recovered alcoholics/ addicts who hold similar opinions.

      Gerald

      • Gerald,
        Have you tried attending a meeting of a local WAPF chapter? Or a NAMI meeting? Those are two places you might be able to talk openly about your experience with GAPS and addictions. Since the number of people struggling with addictions is so high, there would be a good chance of finding others there who are using or are interested in using GAPS for healing. Another possibility, if you live near a large enough city, would be to post something on http://www.meetup.com/ .
        I am considering attending WAPF and NAMI meetings to let people know about the incredible healing power of GAPS!
        (WAPF is Weston A Price Foundation http://www.westonaprice.org . You can find info about local chapters on their website. NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness http://www.nami.org. They also have info about local groups on their website.)
        Would it be considered out of line to become an AA sponsor and then tell your friend about GAPS?
        Don’t give up! The world needs to learn about GAPS as soon as possible to relieve suffering.
        Best wishes,
        Yvonne

      • Hi Gerald, i am 3 days on the gaps intro diet and have similar issues to what you described. I have been a sugar/starch binger since the age of 17. Now I’m 57 years old. I also suffer from depression and anxiety which I am medicated for (cymbalta & celexa). I am having profuse diarrhea right now on the intro just eating the broth and taking the supplements dr. Mcbride recommended in the chapter for eating disorders. I’m wondering If you or anybody on this blog had this problem and how they got through it. I am also in overeaters anonymous . Thanks, Laura

        • Hi Laura,

          To be clear: No stage on Intro includes only broth. Please be sure to include boiled meats, broth, fats, and -if free of diarrhea (so not applicable in your case) vegetables.

          Regarding diarrhea, please see my response to another person here:

          Diarrhea is common in healing crisis, as well as in a damaged gut. People with diarrhea are suggested to:
          -Avoid vegetables
          -If not taking a probiotic source, do so. Be sure to start it at a tiny dose and work up slowly.
          -Remove high-fat dairy (e.g., ghee, butter, and sour cream)
          -Incorporate high-protein dairy (e.g., whey, yogurt, and kefir).

          If these do not remedy the issue sufficiently, you might consider the temporary use of Aloe vera juice. Although not recommended for general GAPS usage, even one or two doses can provide emergency relief, preventing further issues like dehydration or soreness and allowing one to move forward with the healing progression.

          All my best,
          Baden

          • Hi Laura,

            Great to have you here! On the Yahoo forums GAPShelp and GAPS Diet, you’ll meet several people in OA/ FAA and other people who simply self-identify as having eating disorders in addition to the digestive disorder that we GAPS patients share.

            I’m not the only one to believe that my alcoholism was caused by my digestive disorder (carbohydrate maldigestion and the resultant malnutrition and dysbiosis of the intestinal flora).

            Gerald

            • Hi Gerald
              I’m on day 13 of the gaps diet and have felt weak and fuzzy headed. I’m grateful that I’ve had a light work load. I moved in with my partner for 2 weeks so I could have support tO do the food plan. I’m on step 3 of the intro diet. I’ve been a sugar binger my entire adult life and right now I don’t feel like binging. It’s too early to tell if this will last. My partner has helped me plan for gaps. I don’t know what I would have done on my own. This feels like one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done given that I’m a compulsive overeater. I usually worry about my weight and would have thought all this fat would put weight on me. It hasn’t. Sometimes I feel like a person I don’t know. I am going on blind faith that it will help with my food cravings, depression and anxiety. I need to constantly be thinking about the next meal or next day and make sure I have food that is gaps legal. Failing to Plan is planning to fail. It’s not like before where I would grab something in the refrigerator and go. I’m scared this will be hard to maintain. I made squash and almond butter pancakes and was so delighted by them! The diet allows lots of foods so I dont have to feel restricted. I do feel like eating out of the nut butter jar but won’t. If this works for ally ailments it will be a miracle. I live in NYC and would love to see a gaps support group here.
              Thanks for all the comments on this site. It’s helpful.
              Laura

  11. Hi Baden
    I’m on week 4 and stage 5 of the gaps diet. Yesterday I baked nut bread as 6 little muffins and ate them all in one go. I also want to eat a lot of nut butter. Is this ok behavior? If not what do you suggest? I also eat cooked veggies and lots of meat, broth and fat.
    Best
    Laura

    • Hi Laura,

      It is normal and common to crave nut products. It is best to limit them to very little, eg. One little muffin in a day.

      If you are eating well, but also craving nut products, I suggest doing this:

      1. Determine what food (type of nut) you’re most craving.
      2. Look online for what vitamins or minerals that food is high in.
      3. Look online for what foods contain that vitamin or mineral.
      4. Choose a stage-friendly food that contains it.

      For example, some nuts are very high in magnesium. Other sources of magnesium include certain fish, certain veggies, etc. Eating these will resolve the craving.

      All my best,
      Baden

  12. Abram Hoffer: Baden, would this be the doctor who treated you before you found GAPS? If so, *wow*, more dots connected; this was the guy that treated Bill W. with B3 for depression. As a newcomer in AA in 1993, I laughed at the idea that nutrition (vitamins, etc.) had anything at all to do with alcoholism (and depression). All the old-timers at the meeting laughed, too. What a shame – all the AA’ers need a new diet (like GAPS, for example!) and possibly a lot of supplementation, too.

    I have the inside perspective. I _know_ why low-grade depression (or worse!) is the _norm_ for successful, long-term sober members of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    Gerald

    • Hi Gerald,

      I read your post the day it came. I was stunned. I did not know that Dr. Hoffer treated Bill W.!!

      Your comment prompted me to Google the matter, and I found this:

      “From the day he was freed of lifelong tension and insomnia by taking 3000 milligrams of niacin daily, Bill Wilson became a powerful runner with us. Bill helped me organize the first Schizophrenic’s Anonymous group in Saskatoon, which was very successful. Bill introduced the orthomolecular concepts to a large number of AA members, especially in the United States.” Hoffer [This quote is from the final interview that Saul did with Hoffer.]

      Wow. That makes me dizzy with amazement and wonder!

      Yes, Abram Hoffer was my doctor for a time. He is the one I talk about in my book. He died only three summers ago. I felt heartbroken. He was a very kind, special man who saved my life and the lives (and health!) of many others. When I think of him, I feel so upset that he died, even though he was over 91 years old -as impossible as the dream was, I truly wanted him to live forever.

      The relationship of Bill W. and Dr. Hoffer is important information! Thank you, Gerald!

      All my best,
      Baden

      • This is fascinating about Dr. Hoffer and Bill W. I’d like to know where I can read more about it. Do you know of any books or articles on Bill W. and Dr. Hoffer or what they were discovering about healing addictions? It’s interesting that in the 5 + years that I’ve been attending AA meetings I never hear anything about this part of Bill W.’s life.
        Thanks!

        • Below is a link to an interview with Dr. Hoffer in which he speaks about Bill W. You can also find Dr H’s books for sale on Amazon. It is too bad AA doesn’t promote nutrition and vitamin therapy along with their 12 steps. I believe they would have a much higher success rate. It seems to me that one should always try a strictly food-based approach first, and then add supplements as needed and usually under the supervision of a health care professional. Otherwise you could be masking food sensitivities and wasting money or worse. http://www.townsendletter.com/Nov2009/hoffer1109.html

        • Hi Gel,

          You can read about Bill W.’s vitamin B3 experience in the AA history books. I read them when I was new, but I can’t tell you which book to look in. Me, either, this was never a serious topic of discussion at the meetings.

          For 3.5 years now, since removing the Illegals from my diet, I have been unable to share this ***wonderful*** experience with any of my AA acquaintances. Only one old friend has shown any interest.

          Bill W.’s vitamin B3 experience, the “nutritional angle” to recovery did for him what 20+ years of sobritey and AA’s “spiritual angle” could not do.

          This has been my experience twice over now: first upon removing the Illegals on the SCD, and that experience was _very, very much improved_ when I switched to anti-Candida GAPS 15 months later. Second, supplementing with iodine (Lugol’s), *wow* – again, an experience similiar to Bill W.’s experience with vitamin B3, which, by the way, I plan to try some day just to see what happens.

          For 3.5 years I’ve wanted to meet another AA member who has experienced something like this. Gel, can you say so? Yvonne, are you an AA member, too?

          I read that some of Bill W.’s AA friends responded positively to vitamin B3 but most did not. I think those are the ones that needed to address gut issues first with something like GAPS …

          Gerald

          • I am not a member of AA. Fortunately for me, I never became addicted to alcohol or other drugs. But since I have family members who are, I tried attending Al-Anon meetings. I never found them to be helpful to me, although I can see how they might be of value to others, There are other sobriety groups that might be more receptive to a nutritional approach. Or maybe you will just have to start a new group. You might try creating a Facebook page and attract like-minded people that way. You could also put a post on the GAPS page. Or try forming a “meetup” group. This information is just too valuable not to keep trying to get the word out to those who need it. Don’t give up!

          • Hi Gerald,
            Thanks for your reply. At AA and OA meetings I and some other people do talk about our recognition that gut health or dietary issues are part of recovery. But it is kept to what we share in our brief sharing, when it has relevance to the topic at the meeting.

            Yeah it’s limited. Can be frustrating.

            I’m also in recovery for an eating disorder. I was going to do GAPS Intro last winter, but put that on hold as I’m already under weight and have difficulty digesting fats, and my list of ‘safe’ foods was very limited. The likelihood of getting more constipated and losing weight doing Intro was to much for me to risk. These two conditions are very triggering (binges) for me and so I decided to stick with a modified full GAPS menu. Just doing that has allowed me to increase the kinds of foods I can eat. It has helped me a lot with reducing symptoms and gaining a few pounds. I am still relying on honey too much and I’ve taken a great liking to coconut oil and whole ground coconut. Probably eating too much of these but Oh Well….I do see myself getting more disciplined and doing Intro at some point. But…

            I can’t join you in having joy about success curing the mental issues – particularly…the depression because of my dual problems of alcoholism and an eating disorder. And I haven’t accurately applied GAPS yet so I can’t say that I’m a good example. I do have a strong Gut feeling (ha ha), that a key to sobriety and healing depression is healing my gut. But also I believe that deep healing involves many facets and requires many approaches, not just the spiritual OR just the physical.

            • Hi Gel,

              I just wanted to say I think your healing is progressing quite nicely!

              I understand you have not felt able to commit to Intro yet because constipation and weight loss can trigger more serious issues for you. But you are continuing to move forward, and your range of foods has increased. This is excellent!

              Considering your symptoms, and your inability to do Intro without more serious issues being triggered, you might want to look into the work of truehope.com or http://orthomolecularvitamincentre.com/. The latter is run by Frances Fuller, who apprenticed under Dr Hoffer whose treatment alleviated Bill W’s remaining symptoms.

              Thanks for the great, honest post.

              All my best,
              Baden

              • Baden,
                Thank you for this input. It’s very affirming to hear it coming from you. I will look into truehope and check the other link you provided.

                Some time I’d like to share more of my experience with the eating disorder (bulimia/anorexia) and my dabblings with GAPs. It’s an interesting cannundrum (sp?)…..that for most underweight eating disordered people the likely symptoms of doing early GAPS can be the very things that can trigger the disordered behaviors. I’ve been doing a lot of research and participating in a small on line community of eating disorder people trying to recover. A few have discovered primal and lo-carb diets to be helpful. I and one other woman write about GAPS…..Any way it’s a broad subject. Part of the challange is that conventional treatment of eating disorders is NOT to RESTRICT what kind of foods are eaten. In fact it’s taboo to even consider choosing to not eat certain foods (like GAPS illegals) that would be considered as part of the eating disordered thinking. And strongly forbidden.

                I’ve been so happy to have found more foods that I can digest, that are also GAPS legal. And since gaining a little weight I’ve also seen the reduction in my binge/purge behavior. I’m pretty convinced that my eating disorder onset (many years ago) was triggered by getting very underweight at a period in my life when I had been depressed for a long time, and very malnourished. (It was not due to dieting to be thin as happens with most other people with eating disorders). So I still remain hopeful that healing my gut will be the cornerstone to healing my eating disorder and my depression.

                Thanks for your generous insightful help here.

                Gel,
                PS. Do you have any idea why I can’t seem to get notifications via email anymore, even when I click on the notify box?

  13. I’m glad to see a thread regarding GAPS & Addiction! Good to hear of peoples success. I’m slowly working my way into the GAPS Intro Diet after 2+ years of raw veganism & 1 year of Body Ecology Diet and an immense amount of cleansing & fasts over the years to try & heal debilitating chronic fatigue, depression, digestive issues & in the past few years a powerful addiction to herbal stimulants. Before I start the intro I’d like to consult with Dr. NCM to increase my chances of success and decrease time & $ wasting…I thought I’d read somewhere that she was still taking on clients…is this the case?

    If so where can I find her contact info? I’ve yet to see it on her websites.

    Her email: ask@nullGAPSdiet.com – is only for general questions not for individual medical concerns from what I understand.

    Thanks,

    Joel

    • Joel, it’s great that you have found GAPS and are ready to try it. I think you will find very helpful. I don’t know how to contact Dr. Natasha, but I would suspect you would have to wait a long time for an appointment even if she is taking new patients. I suggest you find a GAPS practitioner trained by her on this site to begin with: http://gaps.me/preview/?page_id=496 . The diet recommends you start out with as few supplements as possible, so your main expense will be good food and your own time in preparing it. You also might look for support through the yahoo GAPS groups and/or a local Weston A Price chapter.
      Good luck!

      • Thanks for the insight Yvonne…good to see we’re on the same page. I gathering all the resources that I can & read her book 2x. My holistic dentist Dr. Raymond Silkman referred me an MD who was trained & certified by Dr. NCM so he is my 2nd choice if the wait is too long. But for numerous reasons, if Dr. NCM is still taking clients & the wait is reasonable, I’d strongly prefer working w/ her.

  14. I am a therapist working as an addictions coulnselor in an outpatient program. The clients we see are usually court ordered to come to us, or area at risk of losing their children. I have been aware of the work of folks like Julia Ross, doing work with amino acid therapy…and our program is interested in doing some nutritional education (thought it will NOT be enough). I work with peoplel who are basically in poverty, and at a 9th grade average education level. I would love to develop a way to help them with GAPS and if anyone has any ideas, I’m all ears. They often come to class with their sodas, junk food, etc., and have horrible eating habits. I had an eating disorder as a child/teenager so i can relate…I’d really like to find a way to move GAPS into this arena more. I’m just starting the diet myself so would like to get some experience with it.

    I noticed that Dr. McBride is doing a training in Chicago Nov. 6 and 7th and understandably its for medical professionals. But I would like to see a training for therapists and begin to branch out into this arena. Therapy and the 12 steps can help and do help, but I believe, as others have shared, that there are more than one prong to these diseases and what we put in our bodies simply must be addressed for, if it is at all even possible, complete healing to happen.

    • Kathy, this is SO exciting that you are wanting to bring GAPS nutritional info to your clients! I would suggest you start slow, though, and educate yourself well before trying to change too much. The GAPS diet has great potential for helping but requires a substantial commitment of time and energy as well as money for the more expensive nutrient-dense foods. I have been looking for ideas on how to do GAPS on a limited budget. (Baden’s book has a section on it.) Bone broth is probably the easiest, least expensive food that has a tremendous effect on health. It takes some getting used to, though. If you can get your clients to understand how effective it is for preventing cavities and other dental problems, that might motivate them to make and eat it. Ideally, bones from pastured animals are used but even bones from factory-raised animals seems to work.

      Dr. Natasha’s idea to keep a jar of fat (ghee or coconut oil sweetened with a bit of honey) with you to take when blood sugar dips is a good one.

      Are you familiar with this organization? They are offering a training on nutrition related to addiction treatment. http://allianceforaddictionsolutions.org/

      This book might also be useful. If you focus on diet which creates long-term happiness (as opposed to very brief highs), it will also aid in sobriety. http://www.amazon.com/The-Happiness-Diet-Nutritional-Prescription/dp/160529327X%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAIRKJRCRZW3TANMSA%26tag%3Dpsychologytod-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3D160529327X

      Also, if any of your clients are interested in fitness, you might steer them towards CrossFit, which seems to be closely tied to the paleo diet, which is similar to GAPS in many ways. Sometimes hearing about diet from someone else can make a big difference.

      There are some cute videos on youtube (which I don’t have bookmarked!) that show how gut microbes work. They might make an impression on some of your clients.

      And one more idea: eat fish!!!

      Good luck and keep us posted on your progress! I am not a therapist, just someone with a personal interest in the field because of family history.

  15. I’m so glad I found this site…We are about to start the diet, just finishing up what will hopefully be my first batch of yogurt. It’s all so overwhelming for me. I’ve been scared to ask on other support groups about this, but my husband and I are having a hard time quitting drinking and smoking. I suffer from depression/anxiety and we started having too much fun together with the alcohol and I’m finding it hard to stop. I wanted to start this for our kids first (one has Downs and Autism, 6, and not progressing/talking) the other is on the spectrum (more behavioral, OCD, tantrums, etc.) Maybe it’s the wrong place to ask for support from previous abusers, but I surely could use it and how to overcome this. I’m doing a lot of praying and I’ve been more motivated, but it’s become our ritual that’s hard to break. I’m needing direction. I just keep saying, just don’t do it, and then I falter because we have so much fun with it and now it’s routine. I know it’s physical too, but I need mental strength to do it first. Any advice and support would be so appreciative. I feel embarassed with this and alone since this is so taboo.

    • Hi Angela,

      I’m a recovered alcoholic and I’ve been on the diet now for almost four years. I recommend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for anyone having trouble with his drinking/ quitting his drinking. I achieved sobriety in AA in 1993. I wouldn’t have achieved sobriety without AA, but with GAPS I have found true peace of mind. For true peace of mind, I needed to address my bodily nutritional status with GAPS (high animal fat, low plant food, high nutrition diet). Although AA got me sober and kept me sober, my nutritional status was preventing true peace of mind.

      Nothing to be embarrassed about!

      For a “pick me up” during the alcohol withdrawal process, GAPS suggests honey mixed with coconut oil by the tablespoon and every half-hour or so. Obviously I got sober 15 years before discovering GAPS, so I have no personal experience with this.

      However, I can suggest Vitamin B3 – the real stuff, the stuff that causes the bright red facial flush. This was recommended by Bill W., AA’s co-founder, too.

      But I believe the best way to quit drinking and smoking (I’m an ex-smoker, too, since 1994) would be to strictly adhere to GAPS, eat LOTS of healthy animal fats, and go lightly on the plant foods. Anti-Candida GAPS has worked well for me, and I suspect it would be ideal for most alcoholics in the beginning of their GAPS program.

      By the way, our first born has Down syndrome, too, and he became brighter on GAPS, and his physical health continues to improve.

      Gerald

      • Gerald,

        Thanks for the inspiration! It’s much needed. I’ll definitely look into the vitamin B3 and try to find an AA group to join. I guess I still need to read through the book more about Anti-Candida, I didn’t realize there were different ways to go about it. We were just going to start from the Intro (for hubby and I) and get in the routine and then work with our kids with the intro. I’m just going to start them gradually into the full then work backwards doing the ABA approach. Our son was very different before the Autism affected him. He used to talk, sign, and do all sorts of things. Now he has no motivation so I need some intervention which he hasn’t been able to receive yet. I’m hoping to get my head straight and be able to just do more for him myself. (I’m not very diligent and hoping the diet helps me with that aspect). I’ve felt like this diet would be a miracle for all of us and I hope that it will be- at least to extent. I know it won’t fix everything, but if I can at least start reaching my son, that would mean the world.

        I’ve already cut back a lot with the smoking, I think we’re ready to make the complete plunge with that. Our quit day is in a day along with quitting drinking. I know I can do it it’s just tough because once we put the kids to bed we always think, lets just have a few. We’ll be replacing that with card games and reading, etc. It’s just the initial stages and transitions that will be rough at first. I know it will always be there, but one day at a time.

        Thanks again for your story, it helps to hear of others who have struggled like that.

        Angela

  16. Hi there everyone,
    I’ve been in the research/planning stages of beginning GAPS for a couple of weeks now, and just discovered this part of Baden’s site. Gerald, I am very interested in learning more about your post from March 20, 2012 when you spoke of the “mental and emotional disturbances that riddle the extended families of alcoholics.” Sheesh! That’s my family to the letter! Can you recommend any further reading on this topic?
    Bebe

    • Hi Bebe,

      My pleasure. I’ll talk you ear off. I’ve posted below an email I recently sent to an old AA friend. It’s basically a Paleo Diet argument, not a GAPS message. GAPS is not anti-agriculture like Paleo Diets are. To the contrary, GAPS is pro-agriculture as long as agricultural foods are properly prepared. GAPS directs the average GAPS patient to take up a Weston-Price style of agricultural diet once the GAPS patient is recovered and ready to add more starch and sugar into his diet.

      Me, nowadays, my GAPS diet is not all that different from what most Paleo-dieters practice. Like NCM says, each GAPS patient finds his way during his GAPS journey, and this is where my journey has led me at this point in time.

      Yes, it’s our “dysfunctional relationship” with carbohydrates that is the common thread that weaves its way through the generations in the extended families of alcoholics (and schizophrenics and autisitcs, etc.). We have the same genes, human and microbial, today as our ancestors did, more or less. Some of us are surely more capable of being well nourished through a proper agricultural diet (e.g. Weston-Price), and others might never do well with agricultural foods.

      I recommend reading the various Paleo perspectives as well as reading Weston Price’s “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.” I find myself described therein, just as I found my family and myself described in NCM’s “Family” chapter.

      ————

      We’re doing great down here in Tucson. I just updated my Facebook photo. We had our third child in October, a girl this time.

      I’ve been emailing every alcoholic for whom I have contact information about the “nutritional angle” to recovery from alcoholism. I am finally cured of any and all depression. I am no longer a depressive by nature. It’s like I can’t become depressed even if I tried. I haven’t spent one moment depressed in almost 4 years (!!!) Before that, my story was a lot like Bill W.’s – continuous, periodic struggles with depression or at least the “blahs.”

      I’ve tried Bill W.’s vitamin B3 protocol. He was right, and it’s a shame that this part of our AA history has been suppressed because it could be helping a lot of alcoholics, newcomers who otherwise wouldn’t make it and old-timers still struggling with depression, like Bill W. did.

      He tried to tell all of AA about B3, and at the end of his life he wanted to be remembered for B3, not AA, but B3 as the wonderful help that it can be for alcoholics and depressives (and schizophrenics – Bill W. helped get Schizophrenics Anonymous started with the Dr. Hoffer, who introduced Bill W. to B3 in 1960).

      Actually, I found something better than B3 just in iodine – addressing an iodine deficiency.

      But the best of all has been a pre-agrarian diet.

      Nobody wants to hear about this stuff, so I’ll keep it really short.

      This is going to come at you from out in left field, but there are strong scientific reasons for this: alcoholics suffer from _agrarian_ malnutrition, even when we’ve been sober for a long time. Basically, agriculture causes alcoholism, that feeling of restlessness, irritibility, and discontent as well as our peculiar allergic reaction to alcohol, which is how we in AA define ourselves.

      Alcoholics, as a class, would be better off emotionally if they abstained from agricultural products entirely, those foods that, like alcohol, mankind never consumed before the invention of agriculture: grains, beans, potatoes, and sugars, including milk sugar, and for some people this will also mean man-made fruits such as the modern apple, for example, which bears little resemblance to its pre-agrarian ancestor and is today something much sweeter than Mother Nature ever intended humans to consume. Just for example … and I could go on and on and on.

      Basically, successfully sober alcoholics in AA achieve their “daily reprieve” by utilizing the “spiritual way of life” we find in AA. This is very much the way that agricultural Man has lived for several thousand years: agricultural diets are inherently poorly nourishing – they makes us emotional uncomfortable because we’re not getting the nutrients we need: too much starch and sugar, too few nutrients. We implore God’s help when our minds are spinning and our hearts are heavy – and we don’t even know why we feel this way … till we remove agricultural products from our diet! So we have only a _temporary_ reprieve in AA because we suffer _constantly_ from agrarian malnutrition.

      I’m telling any AA member who will listen, I have achieved _permanent_ peace of mind by addressing and correcting _agrarian malnutrition_. I feel the way Nature intended me to feel because I’m eating the way Nature intended me to eat.

      This does not imply that pre-agrarian Man was either intellectually or morally superior to agrarian Man, but it is clear from _science_, from archaeology, anthropology, human evolution, and even recorded history, that pre-agrarian was indeed physically and mentally healthier than agrarian Man has been these past few thousand years.

      I’ve felt wonderful on a more or less pre-agrarian diet. _This_ was the cause of my depression and alcoholism. It is as unnatural for Man to consume bread as it is for him to drink alcohol.

      I’ll stop here. N-o-b-o-d-y wants to hear about this. (“I’m just fine, thanks!”)

      I know why most newcomers _cannot_ make it in AA and also why so many old-timers do no better than simply continue to “trudge” that road of happy destiny.

      I know why our extended families are shot through with “-ism” even though relatively few of us become real alcoholics. Our dysfunctional relationship with agrarian carbs is the common thread that weaves it way through the generations because genetically we are the same as our paleolithic forebears, 50,000 years ago for example.

      It’s _malnutrition_, agrarian malnutrition, even for people like me, who grow up in the rich, white suburbs. People like me who have _no_ eating disorder whatsover.

      We grow up malnourished because agrarian diets are inherently poorly nourishing, and we modern humans have the exact same bodies and minds today as our ancient ancestors, who for 50,000 – 200,000 years, depending how you count it, thrived on animal-centered diets, high in animal fat. No human ever consumed a diet high in complex carbs (starch and sugar), yet the high-carb diet is indeed what we all are eating nowadays and have been eating ever since the dawn of agriculture and civilization. Simply put, we are not well adapted to diets high in plant foods. Most humans, and I believe _all_ alcoholics, are not capable of adequately nourishing their bodies with poorly nourishing plant foods. We evolved on diets high in animal foods. The short period of time since the invention of agriculture has not been enough time for us humans to evolve. We are not well suited to this novel and unnatural food source.

      If you would like to hear more, just ask! You may pass this email on to anyone you thing might be interested. Thanks,

  17. To GAPS friends,
    an update on my GAPS journey while in recovery. I’m close to the milestone of 6 years of total abstinence from alcohol. I am also in recovery for an eating disorder, which I have struggled with for 21 years.

    What I’m learning is that I couldn’t progress in my eating disorder recovery until I completely gave up all sugars and grains. It wasn’t hard to give up grains. But sugars – ug! A year ago I transitioned to honey because it was GAPS legal. Also a year ago I tried to start Intro but was too afraid of losing weight (I’m already skinny) because that could trigger further my eating disorder. So I stuck with my version of Full GAPS (minus dairy, fruit etc) and added coconut products which I can digest. But that wasn’t good enough for this addict. I had to give up honey (and fruit) too. I did it!

    Now I am able to do GAPS intro. My husband has joined me and we are on stage 3 of Intro, 14 days total. All is going so well for him. I’m so proud of him, he has let go of eating all sweets and grains etc….well you know – he’s doing intro and has embraced all the weird wonderfulness that Intro food is.

    For me – I am struggling with stomach pain daily after eating. (upper stomach/oesophogus) and a some other digestive issues like slow motility and not sure if I’m producing enough digestive juices to digest fats and protein etc…But progress is happening!! not sure what the source of pain is yet.

    The best part is being free of addictions that have plagued me for over 21 years. I just wanted to share that here, in case anyone else has struggled with addictions. We can support each other and share the joy of liberation!

    • Gel,

      This is wonderful news! Me too: skinny, can’t do sweets _at all_, not even honey. Nowadays carrot juice hits me like sugar (!) In fact, I’ve learned that I don’t do well with uncooked plant foods, so I stick with either well cooked plant foods or very well fermented plant foods. Interestingly, I seem to do OK with cooked sweet plant foods like winter squash and carrots, whereas raw carrots or carrot juice give me gas and bloating, and of course carrot juice hits me like sugar. I don’t juice anymore. I believe I’m better off without it. Furthermore, sweets just stimulate my appetite instead of satiate my appetite. They make me hungrier than if I hadn’t eaten anything in the first place!

      I’ve given up dairy – I benefit from the kefir part but the dairy part is not good for me. I finally figured it out. Plus, once again, I do better without all the sweets. A few cups of milk kefir has too many carbs for me.

      And nowadays my tongue’s sweet receptors pick up on sweetness of raw cow liver, and it makes me wonder if the human taste for sweet originally served for animal foods way back when before the invention of agriculture, especially in northern European and Asian peoples who lived in chilly climes with short growing seasons, places where plant food _could not have been_ a very significant part of the local diet before agriculture was brought to these peoples from Mediterranean and Southwest Asian peoples.

      Yes, raw liver tastes sweet, animal flesh in general tastes sweet, and I am overwhelmed by the sugary sweetness of fruits such as the modern apple, which does not resemble is pre-agrarian ancestor anymore.

      I have not had any kind of eating disorder, but I think it is no coincidence that alcoholics/ drug abusers/ depressives like me and people with eating disorders might benefit from a similar way of eating, at least temporarily but maybe forever. Who knows? How many of us have traveled down this road? I learned about this way of eating from Joanne Ford, frequent contributor at GAPSdiet, who stays in ketosis. I might be somewhere in ketosis, too, and one of these days I’m going to purchase some Ketostix from the local pharmacy to see if I might be in light or medium ketosis.

      So I am interested in your experience now and to come.

      By the way, I’m taking 2500 – 3200 mg of betaine-HCl 20 minutes or so after my meals, and this might need to be increased: belching has decreased significantly _and_ my appetite has been reduced. I guess that I’m digesting foods better with the HCl and that’s why I’m less hungry. The first time I used HCl back in 2011, it resolved heartburn and belching. Nowadays I seem to need it again – perhaps I never had lost my need for it in 2011 – and this time around I notice different things with HCl that I didn’t notice before like 1) it makes me really happy (!), and 2) it seems to make me less hungry.

      Thanks so much for writing in,

      Gerald

      • Hi Gerald,
        Thanks for your supportive comment!. I have read, with great interest, all that you’ve written here on this topic. It has been really helpful to know that someone in recovery has made a lot of progress in their health and well being using GAPS.

        I’m involved in an on-line community of people who are also working on overcoming eating disorders and several of them have had success using the paleo diet. Or at least totally abstaining from refined carbs.

        I will have to look into trying HCL and possibly some other digestive aids. I’ve been following the suggestion to try INTRO with out any added supplements. But I might need to add some soon, as the stomach pain and belching after eating is not abating and I’m having trouble with bone broth.

        Thanks for your generous contributions of time in writing your thoughts and experiences.

        Gel

  18. Dear Gel,
    Thank you so much for this update! I admire you for all you have accomplished so far. I suggest you use the services of an NTP (Nutritional Therapy Practitioner) or other professional who is trained in GAPS. You shouldn’t have to endure pain while healing. You probably do need some sort of supplements. You might need something to thin your bile or additional HCl or digestive enzymes, as you mentioned. NTPs can often work with you by skype if there isn’t one nearby. They can do a lengthy online survey before seeing you to get a good idea of what is needed.
    Congratulations and keep us informed of your progress!
    Yvonne

    • Hi Yvonne,
      Thanks for taking the time to write words of support and the suggestions. It is a good idea that I should get professional help. The only challenge for that is $. And finding someone with the skills/experience. I’m currently working with a naturopath but I don’t feel very confident that he knows enough about digestion in general and he is not knowledgeable about GAPS.

      I will look into the possibility of working with an NTP. Thanks for the suggestion.
      Gel

  19. Hi everyone! Just to let you know, the 2nd Edition of GAPS Guide, released two months ago, presents a specific section on Addictions. Had all of you in mind when I wrote it 🙂

    All my best,
    Baden

    • Thanks Baden,
      We look forward to getting the 2nd edition copy soon.
      Thanks for all the work you do here. Your site has made such a huge contribution to my being able to stick with GAPS, understand what it’s all about and have heart for this path.

  20. HI,
    I too am in AA. I have been coming around for 5 years with periods of sobriety followed by relapses. I am looking into dietary interventions for alcoholism. Every time I get sober for a few months to a year, I am still plagued with anxiety, depression and lack of focus. I have had lifelong digestive issues including IBS (which improved a lot on a gluten free diet).
    I have noticed for some time now that whatI eat affects my mood. In the later years of my drinking I would BINGE on food while drinking. I had insane cravings for complete junk food.
    I would like to get in touch with anyone else who is in recovery and using this diet. Feel free to contact me at joeenn74@nullyahoo.com.
    Thanks,
    Joe

    • Hi Joe,
      Great to see you here!
      It sounds like you know a lot about yourself and your body/moods/health already.

      I am in recovery too and have over 6 years of sobriety from alcohol. I also have an eating disorder and I’m using GAPS to heal my digestive system, depression and anxiety as well. I would be happy to talk more about using GAPS with the rest of a recovery program…just from my experience. I believe it is super important to my recovery to have some people to talk with about this stuff. I think this is a good place to connect and get support. I’m grateful to Baden for having this space here for that.

      Do you have specific questions? How is it going for you? What are you learning?

      Blessings to you,
      Gel

      • Hi Gel,
        I do not have specific questions now as I am just beginning on this SCD/GAPS protocol. Actually I am still in the research phase (though making and drinking broths on a regular basis) I have been dabbling with a paleo diet for a couple years but still suffered from a lot of food cravings and other digestive issues unless I was really strict on carbs. I kept on sliding off and eating more potatoes then corn chips and slowly finding myself more and more miserable.
        Anyway I am just looking for others on a similar path to give me the inspiration and support I need to do this. I am willing to start a forum somewhere online if I can find others interested and get some initial feedback. Perhaps simply a wordpress site or something similar.
        I guess at this point the most useful thing would be pointers to online resources and forums that may have info on these two topics. I have found little to nothing as of yet.
        Thanks,
        Joe

        • Hi Joe, Gerald, and Gel!

          Gerald and Gel: I was really hoping you would find Joe’s post and reply. I was so happy to find all three of you connecting here!

          Joe: Gerald and Gel will be wonderful contacts for you. Also, in the 2nd Edition of GAPS Guide, I added a brief section specific to addiction recovery. At this point, I don’t yet know of online resources (besides the community on this page) for implementing diet to support recovery. We do know it works, though! So glad you’ve found us. Welcome 🙂

          All my best,
          Baden

    • Hi Joe!

      I’m not a binger or food addict in any way. However, I am certain that malnutrition prevented me from achieving peace of mind the first 15 years of sobriety in AA.

      These past 4 years 9 months I have not spent one moment depressed, thanks to GAPS. I have been freed of the “Committee,” those inner voices of anxiety that ruminate on every mistake I’ve ever made and worry about everything that might possibly go wrong in the future.

      Anger and lust have also been addressed. These “character defects,” it turns out, were not entirely mental, emotional, and/ or spiritual in nature but also physical. Like Bill W. discovered with his niacin (vitamin B3) experience, I too am convinced now that there is a nutritional component to recovery from alcoholism that cannot be addressed through spiritual means.

      For me, the worst offenders are those basic staples of age old agrarian diets: grains, beans, potatoes, and sugars, including milk sugar – the GAPS Illegals, and I don’t do well with fruit sugar either, and fruit sugar is found in some unexpected places: carrots, cabbage, onion family, cauliflower, and more. I learned about fructans from the Fructose-Malabsorption people, and this has been a real aide in my GAPS recovery.

      I’m happy you’re here. Maybe we have a lot in common and a lot to share. I’ll send you this same message to your email (above).

      Gerald

    • Joe,

      I am a life-long food addict who is also trying to use GAPS to recover. If you are still interested in being in contact with someone recovering (or trying to recover) from an addiction, I’d be interested in touching base. You can contact me at missymay72@nullshaw.ca.

      Regards,

      Melissa

  21. My name is Melissa and this is my first time on this forum. I have successfully lost a large amount of weight several times, on my own (which means I’ve also gained back that weight several times). I am about 50lbs down now, but have about 40lbs to go to an ideal weight for my body. As a food addict, I am finding it very difficult to get that last 40lbs off and maintain it.

    I have many digestive problems, and a chronic pain problem for which I am on medication that is causing severe constipation which only exacerbates the digestive problems.

    I am looking to use GAPS (or a modified-for-me version of GAPS) to heal not just my digestion, but my back pain and my addiction as well. I am looking for anyone out there who believes they are a food addict and would like to receive and give more focused, one-on-one support in finally getting clean, abstinent and healthy, and staying that way.

    I would prefer that this person be familiar with one of the following books: How to Make Almost Any Diet Work or Anatomy of a Food Addiction (both by Anne Katherine), but if not, that’s okay. I could share some of the information and exercises suggested in these books as requested. I would like to connect with someone who has done some addiction recovery work already and who genuinely wants to build a new life of recovery. Someone who is doing their own work, but is maybe struggling and could use some support.

    I have done a lot of recovery work, but always and only on my own and I find that what I am doing is no longer working, so I am reaching out for support. I am not interested in any groups or 12 Step programs (please don’t suggest these as I have very personal but very serious reasons for not wanting to participate in these). I am basically looking for a recovery partner who would be willing to commit to short but regular contact, meeting online (or in person if possible) weekly and who can be there by text, phone or email for occasional immediate support in times of crisis or craving. I am willing and eager to offer the same.

    I live in Alberta Canada so I understand I may not find someone with whom I can meet face-to-face and that’s okay. As long as this person is genuinely interested in developing a long-term (thought not necessarily permanent) recovery relationship and would be willing to make themselves available on a daily and “crisis intervention” basis.

    We would work together for as long as it continues to be beneficial for each of us, and should it stop being valuable for either party, we would always be open to discuss discontinuing the arrangement.

    I guess those are my basic requests.

    If anyone is interested, or knows someone who is, please feel free to leave me a comment or contact me at missymay72@nullshaw.ca

    Thank you.

    Melissa

    • Wonderful that you are so clear on what you need. I am available to be a person you can email or call…a support buddy. I am also a recovering food addict and am using GAPS for gut healing. Maybe you could have a team of support!!!

      Sending love and enthusiasm.

      • Thanks Gel, that would be great. I’ve read a lot of your posts on here and they are inspiring.

        I am just “practicing” at GAPS right now, have been doing that for a couple months, while still allowing myself to eat whatever I want until I take on the full challenge.

        That will be happening soon, but I find that every time I start, the die-off, withdrawal, cravings and brain-fog have me running back to the sugar and carbs.

        The hardest part for me is that I just have so many intolerances and digestive issues (most specifically right now, medication induced constipation) that make this diet change so hard and then I run to the food for comfort (or I just wanna eat a piece of fruit cuz I find it so easy to digest, but then it flares my candida & messes with my blood sugar….grrr…).

        If you are serious about being interested in mutual support (I don’t wanna just “take), pop me an email (missymay72@nullshaw.ca) and we can figure out how best we can connect.

        All the best on your journey.

        M

  22. Hi Melissa,

    Wow! What an amazing offer and request!

    If you don’t hear back from anyone through this page (this post is tucked behind dozens of newer ones), you might consider re-posting your comment to the most recent food addiction post here: http://www.badenlashkov.com/2014/01/28/compulsive-eating-addiction-support/ (even though you are not interested in doing 12 Steps; simply more food addicts might be reading the post currently sitting on the front page of the blog) or to one of the extremely busy support forums listed here: http://www.badenlashkov.com/about/support/

    Best of success finding a buddy -I do imagine there will indeed be people very keen!

    All my best,
    Baden

  23. Hi, I just bought Baden’s 1st Edition book. I am working with a Naturopath to help me heal my gut. I think I have had problems with my digestion all of my life, but it just flared about about 2 years ago and just met with my Naturopath about 3 weeks ago. I love Chocolate and breakfast cereal so it has been hard to not eat those, but I do feel so much better not eating the grains. But I notice I want to pig out and there is nothing to pig out on. Anyways, just thought I would say Hi, I am looking for support with what to eat, how to eat it etc. I too started the broths. I made some vegetable soup. And it actually tasted pretty good. Talk soon !

    • Hi Maureen,

      Good to see you on this site. I love Baden’s book…its so useful and full of wonderful information.

      I totally understand the desire to binge (I too love chocolate – yum, yum). I just went 5.5 days without bingeing and felt really good about that (that’s a HUGE feat for me), but today, sadly I had just a few of my old binge foods. I didn’t feel good, didn’t even really enjoy them and it made me realize even more how grateful I am for healthy broths and soups, veggies and ferments and how lucky I am to have found a path that will, in time, (hopefully) help me to not have so many sugar and carb cravings.

      I am going to continue to remind myself that the only way I will ever be free of cravings is if I stop eating the “yeast-loved” foods (foods loved by the bad bacteria in our guts) and that when I am craving, remind myself that cravings are the screams of the little bad suckers in my gut begging to be fed…and that I am trying to “kill” them (or at least bring them greatly under control), not continue to feed them.

      You can do this Maureen. You have a great community in this web site and the other supports Baden has recommended.

      All the best on your healing journey.

  24. Melissa, thanks for the feedback. It feels like such a lonely road. I am working with a Naturopath who has led me to the GAPS diet and one thing she has told me is that when I am craving something, I should eat more carbohydrates. I just had 2 TB of some Almond Butter. (in case you don’t know it is like Peanut Butter.) I miss PB and bread, so I thought what the heck, I am going to eat the AB out of the jar. 🙂 Let’s stay in touch !!! Thanks again !.

    • Hi Maureen,

      So glad you and Melissa have connected! If you would like to meet yet more people, you can join one of the support forums. Those are listed on this website’s Support for You page. An example of one of those is: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/GAPShelp/info

      Also, you said you have the 1st Edition of my book. That’s a good start, but I strongly recommend the 2nd Edition -a dramatic revamp of the first, with much more information, including about cravings. The 2nd Edition is currently available for about $10 (eBook version) on Amazon.

      All my best,
      Baden

    • Hi Maureen,

      I would love to stay in touch. The more people we can connect with when it comes to fighting/dealing with cravings or food addiction of any kind the easier, I think, it makes the journey.

      Feel free to email me at missymay72@nullshaw.ca if you would like to connect on a more regular basis.

      All the best.

  25. Hi I am new to this site and I’m starting intro soon. I have been doing lots of research and doing what’s suggested from your book the GAPS book and a group I belong to on FB but I was really interested in connecting with sober people in AA who are also following GAPS. I’m 4 years sober and I know the power of support and I need a lot right now. Please let me know how I can find people to help support me and me them.
    Thanks,
    Kate

    • Dear Kate,

      I apologize for responding so late: My website stopped sending me notifications of comments, so I missed a whole bunch!

      I’m hopeful that Gerald and others will read your post now that it has (finally!) been published, and respond to you.

      One possibility, too, is connecting with an OA-HOW group. The HOW program uses a diet that’s extremely GAPS-friendly, and often hosts many people who happen to also be in recovery from addiction to alcohol or other substances. The term “overeater” is a rather unfortunate misnomer for many people who benefit from the group; it serves people with a full range of eating concerns and supports them well with a list of foods very similar to that used in GAPS.

      All my best,
      Baden

  26. Kate,

    I hope you get this. I’m still around. Like Bill W. ultimately found, the spiritual program of action was insufficient for me, too, for recovery from depression & other problems. Nutrition was the missing piece.

    Hope to hear from you!

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