Wheel of Addiction

As a hardcore reader, I have read so many addiction memoirs. Next to fiction, memoir is my favorite genre. Doesn’t matter if the memoirist is addicted or not, but so many of them are, and these are the stories of how they got better, got the monkey off their backs. I love happy endings.

While reading this addiction memoir by Erica Barnett, I realized that more than a happy ending, I want to know the HOW of hardcore users just up and quitting. It’s fascinating to me. Barnett makes it clear that it’s not so easy, and easier to quit than to quit relapsing. She’s been in a slew of rehab facilities, and usually, the day she got out, she stopped at the liquor store on her way home.

Something clicked while I read of her relapse after relapse. That’s what happens to me with sugar. I know that if I go three days with no sugar my cravings will disappear. I also know that if I have one donut or one scoop of ice cream, or even one bite of a candy bar, my need for sugar comes roaring back with a vengeance. And it takes me a week or two of eating all the sugar I can buy before I shame myself into going through three days of constant craving to get free from sugar. Again.

My A1c continues to be in the “pre-diabetes” zone, and that’s because my body no longer tolerates wheat or dairy. So I keep my body semi-okay because wheat is nothing but sugar and, before I knew that, I had wheat with every meal. Cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, pasta for dinner. It was easier for me to give these staples up because I got really sick when I ate them. I don’t get sick when I eat sugar, at least I don’t feel sick.

Inside, sugar is not doing my body any good, and I had that hamster wheel of staying clean, falling off the wagon, and going through rehab again. Just like an alcoholic, but a sugar addict. Sugar doesn’t make you slur your words, black out, ruin relationships, or leave you without a job, like alcohol does, but when I read Barnett’s story, I identified with that constant round of wanting, craving, and finally giving in.

It seems stupid, really stupid, for me to be on this wheel. I’m 65. If I don’t want to spend my old age sick and miserable, I need to take better care of myself. And I wish people wrote memoirs about their sugar addiction like they do their alcohol addiction. I already have “I Quit Sugar” but as far as I know, that’s the only book out there on beating sugar addiction.

Also, it’s much harder now with Al home. He loves sweets, but he is not even close to diabetic. He gets mad when I eat his cookies, because he can keep them in the pantry for a month and I eat them in a day or two. Same with ice cream. He likes donuts, too. I feel ashamed of myself and his attitude is not helping matters. Although…he told me to ask my doctor about seeing a dietician. Really, that’s what I should do.

9 Comments

  1. It’s a struggle and not made easy by our junk food culture. I have a sister who just can’t eat during a crisis while I reach for sugar & comfort foods. This pandemic doesn’t help either with people packing on pandemic pounds.
    Just finished reading a memoir by Natasha Trethewey. Memorial Drive, a tale of a lady who survived great tragedy to go on and win the Pulitzer and be named US poet laureate. Stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I gained 10 or maybe even 15 pandemic pounds. I had the conscious thought “this is gonna be hard, I don’t know what’s coming, but it will be bad, my favorite sweets will help.” Thanks for the rec on Trethewey!

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  2. An addiction is an addiction, no matter the substance. Some destroy quietly, others with a loud shebang. I used to smoke cigarettes when young, and though I’ve been clean for over 14 years, I still crave a cigarette sometimes, especially if I dream of it. As for sugar, you reminded me of my brother when I went to visit in Brazil. He’d buy me chocolate bars – huge ones – and doughnuts, and I’d take my time eating them. He’d complain by saying if he came back tomorrow and found it still there, he’d eat them himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know of any other books about sugar addiction. Maybe someone (a really great writer, perhaps?) could write one? Ahem…
    I don’t have an addiction, but I do love homemade cookies and brownies. I’ve also gained severallllll pounds in just a few months of pandemic quarantine, but I know from past experience feeling shame of any kind only works against me and leaves me sad and hopeless.
    Hang in there! We are all going through a monumentally strange moment in time. And don’t forget your Yoga tools. Be gentle with yourself:)

    Liked by 1 person

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