Art as an Addiction

Mar 12, 2016

Art as an Addiction


Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Question #13
Rite of Passage Five -Lower Case Gourmet-


Can the balanced association of wine with food be seen as an “art” form or is it a beautifully presented indulgence leading, occasionally, to an addiction?

I own an original oil painting of the Breton coastline and early morning fishing boats by Francois Carbu. It is a work of art that I choose to look at quite often, I find it quite motivating with its early morning energy. If it were not in its place I would miss it. Is it therefore addictive?

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I think not.


Recently I purchased a CD by Helene Grimaud that was simply titled. ‘Water’. It too is a work of art that I enjoy listening to, especially since it blends with my own work of imagination with a river. If it were not on my player I would miss it. Is it therefore addictive?

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 I think not.

Some would argue that a perfectly balanced seafood dish like Crepes Fruits de Mer served with say a Batard Montrachet (a classic white French Burgundy) is also an ‘art form’

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If it were readily available to me on a good menu in an excellent restaurant, would I choose  it? You bet your boots I would! Is it therefore addictive?

I am pleased by my painting and music but I am pleasured by the perfect juxtaposition of great food and superb wine. I see the painting and I hear the music but with the food and wine I see, I smell, I taste, I touch and can also, in some cases hear, as in ‘sizzle’? I can be fully engaged in multiple senses all at the same time to which I can add the heady enjoyment of the wine that so brilliantly transports alcohol into my bloodstream where it provides the sense of ‘wellbeing’.

I grew up in this environment; from the age of eleven I was introduced to great food and fine wines. The ‘pleasures of the table’ were explained to me as one of the chief pursuits of man and amongst the great ‘virtues’ of the epicurean tradition. Some of our customers were true ‘gourmands’ others were simply searching for a pleasant experience. Both often wound up quite ‘jolly’, to the point at which driving might not have been such a good idea. Were they addicted? That I cannot answer, all I can say is that they often returned and seemed, for the most part, to be well satisfied. I was pleased that they were pleased.

Looking back I can see how my interest in wine with food began when I was about fourteen. It was only experimental sips, but it came with very informed explanation and I listened carefully. Eventually (as you will find out) I became so practiced in this ‘art form’ that I became addicted to the ‘idea’ rather more than the underlying alcohol. I ‘knew’ the great wines even when presented in ‘blind tastings’ with labels wrapped in fine white damask. I became impressed by my ability and how it was admired by those with good palettes.

That…was to be my addiction and that’s how it began.

So…what about now?

There are, in the United States alone, about 17 million households where at least one individual is addicted to alcohol  and where the least amount, no matter how brilliantly wrapped in a fine wine, could result in harm. I have become interested in this and other kinds of self harm for at least the last forty three years. In 1975 I decided that my well know enjoyment of wine whilst I cooked on television might have triggered a desire to join me in  “just a short slurp”. Many have told me that they had done just that and for the most part there was no down side. There were those “odd” times when real harm followed such a joy filled performance and it was these that eventually got my attention.

I quit in 1975.

Do I think that food and wine can be an addictive ‘art form’? When its enjoyment becomes a ‘driving passion’ then yes, I do believe, it can.



  1. Patti Jean Meehan Says: 1:31 am

    OMG yes. I have very very often combined wine with meals I serve and meals I eat. The right wine to pick is an art. I usually enjoy the wine I am serving as I cook what ever culinary delight my guests are going to enjoy.

  2. Jean N Sozio Says: 6:02 am

    Wow – talk about “Flash of Silver” and enlightenment. I just realized I am addicted! To leftovers. I love to cook and cook healthy – all ethnicities – mostly Asian and Italian. I love vegetables and anything green. I suffer from gout so avoid red and dark flesh. I love tea of all kinds. But! I cannot bear to throw away food that can be saved for another meal or, if it is just one portion or less, I can’t bear to save it or throw it out or even give it to the dog – I eat it. I have often counseled myself: “if you eat for four you will look like four”. It’s true I do and I do. It’s passion that fuels this addiction. I also counsel myself: “over the lips, to the hips, and then you know where so why not bypass the hips and take it straight to the trash and save calories”. I can’t do it – it’s like discarding a child or a precious gift. Thank you Graham for your motto: “turn habits that harm into resources that heal”. I will study this more………….

  3. Mike . Says: 5:11 pm

    Addiction is an uncontrollable desire for something that is fueled by perceived need. Some people believe that a habit is not an addiction until it starts to affect your life adversely, but that’s not quite true. There can be temporary positive effects from an addiction such as reading or exercising, but in the long run, these activities can destroy one’s health. Being in control of one’s appetite for all things is what the apostle Paul advised his fellow Christians. Being able to start or stop an activity when one desires is the one of the keys to true happiness.

  4. Jean N Sozio Says: 10:43 pm

    These questions are deep and I often find myself dwelling for days on them receiving new revelation and insight. Addiction – when I was a smoker I always NEEDED to smoke in social situations. The cigarette became an extension, like another appendage, of my being. I was working full time and smoking was then allowed in public places. I could not be with people or on the phone without a cigarette. Once I quit I noticed how much extra time I had – how much time I had spent smoking. I also had a calm and a peace that I did not when smoking – no anxiety. I also gave myself an immediate raise in pay and realized I was burning money when I was smoking. The addiction that had become my persona was gone and underneath was a totally different human being – one that I enjoyed much more – and so did others. It’s strange how addiction becomes a mask we wear like make-up. We feel so much more attractive or confident or “creative” and so fearful without it – panic stricken. It’s a crutch for a fish out of water so to speak.

  5. Jean N. Sozio Says: 4:59 am

    Art – an expression of self. The Bible warns us that “pride cometh before a fall”. On addiction itself – I was a smoker from age 15 to 36 (the Holy Spirit delivered me in 1986). I loved it and could not understand – or tolerate – those who hissed at me for spoiling their air. Until the day of reckoning – the day my chronic bronchitis turned into walking pneumonia and then full blown pneumonia. This was a distress I had never experienced before and the conundrum was that although I enjoyed this lethal pleasure I was one to always respect myself and my well being. How we can ignore danger thinking we are getting away with it. I was sent for a chest x-ray which scared the wits out of me. Standing there against the x-ray glass a “flash” of wisdom entered my mind. I had recently begun to listen to Bible teaching on the radio (I did not surrender my life to Christ until 1991 – but already the Lord was calling). “How stupid am I? What if they do NOT find cancer? Am I going to get in my car and light up so maybe next year they will? – NOT!!! I am NOT stupid – Smoking IS stupid – I am smart, I am wise, I love myself, I am not self destructive, I do not want to die – I want to live” these were all words flowing through my spirit. I felt my desperation and depravity for the first time and the real “hook” of addiction – I can’t quit – I can’t shake free – help me Jesus! I prayed and declared, “Lord, I don’t want anything to control me more that you – please help me”. For the next 30 days I faithfully substituted peppermint candy for nicotine cravings. Each day the craving became less and less until I was finally through. I also promised the Lord, “I will not count the days, I will not look back for each day I mark in victory is only a reminder of where I came but not where I am going. Please take all memory of smoking away from me that I would never be tempted to start again”. He did – absolutely and completely – painlessly. I thus learned that addictions truly are satan’s fishing lures and like us – he has one for every type of person – what kind of fish are you – what pleasure will hook you under it’s control that will ultimately destroy you? His aim is to destroy our bodies, our finances, and our families. This is the message we need to teach our young children BEFORE they are able to indulge in life’s trappings. Respect yourself first. There is an enemy of your soul seeking to devour you.

  6. Lynn Says: 7:04 pm

    Seems like whenever I start to get addicted to something, something else comes along. Was working full time and started weaving from about 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Then I had to take a second job. Was addicted to chocolate and threw myself into an hypoglycemic episode (lasting months). Resulted in medical workup, diagnosis and appropriate medical treatment to make up what my body was craving. So…nothing exciting. I’m definitely a type-B and go with the flow while trying to understand the flow in order to make the correction decisions. Not much of a ferule ground for addiction. Thank God!

  7. Lynn Severance Says: 7:16 pm

    There is much essence in this posting. I hope to stay focused on just a few points. “Art” as addiction seems the key word. Many who succumb to addictions (in any area) do not get there through “art”. Yet in Graham’s background, it slowly came through the gifts of the work he did which were artful. Then the accolades led to recognitions and, as in other addictions, one can be “feeding” off of more than food and wine and believe they are getting what is lacking in other areas of their lives. Addictions can help us hide because other needs remain unmet. Give me some chocolate when I am feeling “lost” and I have to be cautious.

    If even one drink (or bite of chocolate) brings too much temptation – run! I believe we can be aware of what triggers us to step over the line.

    I am reminded of the Scripture with the message of how unwise it is to pour new wine into old wineskins.

    Once an addiction comes clear to us, staying worn down by it will only lead to a breaking point. God’s grace is all about leading us to a fresh wineskin. It may not hold wine but it does hold what He has to meet our needs in ways He can best provide. After all, Jesus was known to save the best for last, and one cannot find the best in old wineskins or dance anew at a Cana feast!

  8. Susan Says: 8:57 pm

    I grew up with an alcoholic father. His father, and mother, had a still in their backyard during prohibition. I ended up marrying a man who was addicted to both alcohol and prescription/non-prescription medication. Even when we were engaged, he had several episodes of pancreatitis. During a time of separation, he ended up having to have half of his pancreas removed and ended up a diabetic. He went through several treatment, gave me the promises of quitting. He was told, by several doctors, that he would end up dead if he kept drinking. That didn’t stop him. My divorcing him (for my sanity and for the safety of our children) was the best thing I could do. My daughter, when she was little, always hated going through the beer/wine section of the local store as she remembered what it was like to see her dad drunk. I’m able to drink a foo foo drink maybe twice a year. I know that others can have one drink and it causes them to have no control over what they do. By the grace of God did he not allow me to have the same problem with drinking that my dad/ex-husband have. I do have a problem when my husband’s family have their yearly Christmas event and there’s too much drinking (my husband hates to be around it as much as I do). In fact, we bowed out of the event last year and his younger sister refuses to speak to him anymore. I’ve never understood the appeal of drinking to get drunk, of drinking so much that you can’t remember what happened the night before or drinking so much that the porcelain bowl is your friend. But, as they say, there but for the grace of God go I.

  9. jonet Says: 3:42 pm

    All sin fits into one of these three categories, ” The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life”according to the Bible. Anything can become an addiction or a stronghold, and at anytime in one`s life. Before I accepted Jesus as my savior and lord I drank occasionally to excess for the purpose of “tying one on”. I was not addicted to the liquid but I was addicted to the need to numb myself, socialize or as we called it “party” for the sake of fitting in. I would not have called it that then, I had never examined why I did many things in my life then, but thank God he knew why I did things and who I did them for. Though now I love to live for him for he is also my father, I take communion with wine and I still have an occasional glass of wine or an after dinner drink but not to the point of feeling it or as it were a buzz. These days I plan to not drink on an empty stomach or emotionally. Being thoughtful to listen to his leading will keep our minds and souls out of harms way. (“The heart is a desperately wicked thing”) I have always enjoyed and collected rocks, stones and minerals even in the form of carvings and statues (works of art). In the last few years I`ve added more precious and semi precious gemstones so I have discovered I must listen carefully or I`ll spend more than I should for my collection. I`ve never been a spendy person, but even in frugality there can be sin because I prided myself on being frugal and then there is false pride in depravation because there is sin also in depriving yourself when the Lord who is master of the universe “he owns the earth”….. “the hills the gold under the hills and the cattle on the hills”. The Lord “wishes above all that we prosper and be in health even as our soul prospers” but his plan is for us to minister to others first. He is not against us enjoying the works our hands as long as we listen diligently to his leading on when and where to spend. I am 69 years old and I seriously believe I will always need to “deal with my self so he will not need to”. This walk with the Lord is all about relationship (James 2:23 and Prov.18:24), he is my best friend and since” a friend tells a matter to a friend” he nudges me gently when he knows I need him to. I hope someone finds this helpful. “We are victorious by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony” Your Victory and mine in Christ Jesus,

  10. Debbie Says: 12:51 pm

    For compulsive people anything can become an addiction or a little g, god. That is the human condition, we are all cracked pots. The difference for Christians is that the light of the Spirit shows through our cracks. 🙂 Its our witness to a cracked world with no light. We are only set free by the Spirit and then only to the degree we surrender. For me that surrender oscillates to some degree but not to the degree it did at first 24+ years ago when I first allowed Him to control my life. Leaving the obvious addiction to alcohol behind, discovering and working on the not so obvious addictions to people pleasing, perfection and a self-centered self serving life style. I am satisfied with progress because I am so not capable of perfection.

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