Wednesday, July 28, 2004


The other day I was thinking about how lucky I am that I don't have any horrible addictions.  You know those compulsions that create situations where you wake up with a stranger and find a ship tattoed on your chest.  Or you find yourself sitting at a black jack table with your rent money on the line going, "hit me".  Or you find yourself stealing your Grandmother's television and rationalizing that you'll replace it before she ever notices.  Or you find yourself strolling up and down that certain part of a street in a disreputable part of town humming "love for sale" and asking the guys who pull over if they want to party?  Or, as a friend of mine recounted to me not so long ago - you find yourself committed to a psychiatric facility where they pump you so full of thorazine that you can't make a sentence and when you get out the first thing you so is crush up a bottle of Ritalin and snort it. 

The addictions that take over and run the show that used to be  your life. 

I can take or leave alcohol.  I smoke on occasion as a social activity (stupid I know, it's never good for you).  I abused the cocaine for a bit, but was able to walk away with only a few night sweats and zero cravings.  You could put me in a room filled with shimmering piles of powder and I would pass - too many negative memories there.  Not a place I want to re-visit.  I sniffed a little heroin and while I do prefer down to up I can do without the nausea thanks.  I'll still take one toke over the line sweet Jesus - but I'm not ever holding anymore.  So I'm feeling like I've pretty much dodged a bullet but then I remember...

I have got a serious addiction to sugar.  Because I know this I recently spent three days eating only grapefruit to get myself off the sugar.  Cold turkey so to speak.  And I was cruising along practicing excellent self control until this past weekend.  I was at Meg's and she offered me whipped chocolate frosting in a can with the idea that I could dip some fat free cookies in there and make'em a little special.  All of a sudden that monkey was on my back and I grabbed a spoon and just dug in.  I ate half the can of frosting in about 10 minutes.  And it was good.  I could feel the rush of pure sugar going through my blood stream and all was right in the world.

Until about 2 hours later when I was at a party and I started to crash.  I got all disoriented and shit, like bordering on incoherence.  I wanted to find something healthy to eat to counteract the sugar, but I got waylaid by the dark chocolate covered english toffee from Trader Joes which is basically my brand of crack.  I shoved a couple in my mouth and then horded some more in a napkin to take home for later.  I never did eat anything else that day.  I continued to eat sugar all the way until I went to bed.  I continued to eat sugar despite the fact that I felt like shit on a shingle - my head hurt, my jaw was tight, my eyes felt like they were bugging out of my head and I was kind of trembly.  But I couldn't stop.

Because I am an addict!

I don't know how I got this way.  When I was a kid my mother was not one to have processed sugary foods in the house.  Ice Cream was a special treat.  So were cookies and brownies and apple crisp.  Most of the time the sugar snack offerings at my house were along the lines of peanut butter molasses balls.  The best that can be said about those things is that you couldn't eat too many because it took a while to eat just one.  I loved to go hang out at Beth Anne's house because her mom kept a shoebox full of candy bars - full sized candy bars - in the refrigerator.  I would save my allowance and then I'd ride my purple sting-ray bike to Hill Drugs and spend a whole hour in the candy aisle trying to decide whether to go with the Big Hunk, Blow Pops, Bit o'Honey, Sugar Babies, Necco wafers, Mars bar, Almond Joy - or some combination of any of those.  I would then sneak my purchase past my mom like I was smuggling weed and stash it in my room where it wouldn't last more than 2 hours.

Perhaps it is because I was raised in a sugar restricted home that I have this weird relationship with sweets.  The always guilty, doing something wrong, smuggling contraband feeling when I find myself in the vicinity of the dessert table.  I will eat dessert even if I'm not hungry and I will also stash some in my purse for later.  Just in case.  And then, sometimes, I will get up in the middle of the night and eat it!!

The thought of giving up sugar is inconceivable to me so I can't really go cold turkey.  I am aware that massive sugar consumption equals lard butt, not to mention the risk of onset of type II diabetes at which point there is no more choice - it's sugar or death.  I don't need it to get that extreme.  I'm still in a place where I will respond to my pants getting too tight and can ease back on the throttle that drives the craving. 

But I am an addict and sugar is my smack.

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