It is a fight not to eat more, to eat three or four pieces at a time, to eat five steaks or maybe ten or as many as I can get, but it is not a difficult fight.

James makes this statement while watching the feeding frenzy among the patients during a banquet thrown by Leonard. In this scene, James is eating calmly and slowly. Throughout most of the book, James has replaced his addictions to alcohol and drugs with uncontrollable eating. He can see his old self, reflected now in the other patients, and realize that his eating was merely a manifestation of his life of addiction. While James is observing the men in his unit shoving food down their throats, he also realizes that this behavior is not unique to him. All of the men are trying to feed something that can never be satisfied by alcohol, drugs, food, television, or money. Things in life must be consumed slowly, deeply, and seriously. This lesson from the Tao is an exercise in control, something that has long been absent from James’s life.