10 curious similarities between Weight Watchers and Alcoholics Anonymous

I am well versed in the language of addiction. Fuck, you can’t take three steps toward my family tree without cutting your soles on broken booze bottles and old syringes. On a seemingly unrelated note, I have been following the Weight Watchers program for nearly two years. And when my alcoholic mom and I get to talking, I can’t help but note the extensive similarities between Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers.

10. Programs preach regular meetings. We all fall off the wagon. Whether we polish off a bottle of vodka or a pan of double fudge brownies, both programs preach the importance of meetings. Just keep coming back. It works if you work it.

9. Members worship at the Diet Coke shrine. Diet Coke seems guilt free. The aspartame concoction has zero points and zero alcohol, and WW and AA members rely on it to pull them through cravings every day.

8. Members talk about it. All….the….time. Although I don’t know much about being an alcoholic (not yet, anyway), I can attest to talking about Weight Watchers on an almost daily basis, and have seen my mom cover the same bases. “Yep, I’m an alcoholic. It means I can’t drink anything. Ever. Yes, wine counts as alcohol.” “Yes, I’m on Weight Watchers. Forever. I can still eat what I want, just in moderation. Yes, forever.”

7. Both titles are alliterative. I just love alliteration.

6. Programs require tuning into your emotions. Addicts aren’t good at feeling. So when those cravings hit, both programs encourage members to examine how their environment or emotions could be triggers. My trigger is turning on a movie. Something about watching Casino on basic cable just makes me want to curl up on the couch with a bag of Doritos and a Coke.

5. Programs make socializing more difficult. The office holiday party. Your cousin’s wedding. Your neighbor’s barbecue. Dinner with friends. What do all these events have in common? They’re not so easy for someone in AA or WW. We watch party goers indulge on fatty foods and imbibe booze, all while we pretend to be happy to nibble on a dry chicken breast. Yuck.

4. Members get gym memberships. Exercise is a great way to get the high alcoholics are missing, and it earns WW followers more points to trade in for food. So members give it a shot, and give up quickly. Then they continue to pay the membership months after they stop going to the gym.

3. You’re in it for life. Alcoholics identify as addicts for life, not just for their first weeks or months of sobriety. Weight Watchers members remain on the plan for the long term, as well, and continue to track their eating and follow a healthy eating plan, long after dropping the pounds.

2. It takes a few tries for it to stick. Taking control of your addictions isn’t easy, and it’s human nature to give up on difficult plights when our self control wanes. Ask any WW or AA member, and most will tell you it’s not the first time they tried their hand at the program, and failed.

1. Members have a burning resentment for people who can eat and drink as they please. Don’t let my false enthusiasm for living healthy fool you — I loathe your ability to stay slim without ever touching a vegetable, and alcoholics hate you for being able to have a drink or two without your life collapsing. Appreciate it, people.

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