First, a little history. My maternal grandmother, born in 1904, went hungry at times as a child. When she had children of her own, she made sure there was plenty of food for my mom & her brothers. Food meant survival. Sugar meant love!
Monarch butterfly on purple coneflower
As a child, I never went hungry. In fact, there was more than enough. We had fresh garden vegetables and fruit in summer, canned or frozen in winter, farm raised meat, fresh caught fish. Most of all, I remember the sweets; soft, melt in your mouth white cake with fudge frosting, creamy home-made caramels and nutty fudge at Christmas, every variety of cookie you can think of …. the list is almost endless. I ate and ate the sweet stuff, and as a teenager, I could sit on the kitchen counter with a bucket of chocolate swirl ice cream on my lap, eating each swirl to the bottom of the bucket, and then eating what was left… the boring vanilla. Embarrassing, but true. I could eat a batch of warm cookies, I could eat a two pound bag of M&Ms at one sitting. No brag, just fact. When they were gone, I’d want more, and I’d want it now!
It was a love affair– well- more like an obsession. The only problem was that after each binge, my energy crashed. The next day I’d have to sleep for hours, then when I finally got up, I was extremely crabby, angry, even. I wanted to lash out at the first person that crossed my path. My body was bloated, and I felt awful, I had bad acne, and no energy. I didn’t like myself. It took me awhile to put two and two together and realize that it was the excess sugar causing my energy to spike and crash.
I seemed to be the only one in my family that had this problem, so I had to figure out how to deal with it on my own. After leaving home, I started reading books about nutrition and food sensitivities. I decided I had a sensitivity to sugar, but still couldn’t wean myself from it. I read that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine! I’d try to cut back, but the cravings seemed overpowering. I had to have that sugar fix to feel better and have energy again – even temporarily.
Finally, I was finally able to get off sugar because I wanted to feel better more than I wanted the sugar!
I was sick and tired of feeling bad physically and emotionally every day of my life! If I didn’t kick the habit, I would alienate all the people around me and end up with diabetes or worse, I would hate myself.
The last sugary thing I ate was a piece of birthday cake at a party over 30 years ago. It was dark chocolate with green frosting. The cake didn’t even taste good! The unpleasant feelings and low energy the next day were the same. The sugar high was no longer worth it! I went cold turkey after that party.
The first week off sugar was extremely difficult, as my cravings took over and I had to distract myself from the screaming voice in my head. “Get a Heath Bar! Just one Peppermint Patty…Eat some sugar. You can’t live without it!!!” Finally, after maybe four or five days of physical and emotional withdrawal, the cravings let up a bit. I made it through the hardest period without back-sliding.
A wonderful goody basket from a neighbor. A real treat!
It took longer to learn healthier eating habits, new ways to celebrate holidays, new ways to treat myself, new ways to deal with unpleasant feelings the obsession with sugar was keeping hidden. Time passed and my energy level evened out. I no longer experienced the spikes and crashes, the extreme anger and low energy, the unpleasant physical sensations. I felt like a new woman – healthier and happier and best of all, free from sugar! It’s been over 30 years, and I don’t think twice about sugar any more. I don’t miss it, Can’t use it, don’t want it.
It is possible to work through the cravings and emotions underlying an addiction and triumph! When you get to the point where you want to feel better more than you want your substance of choice, you are ready to do the difficult work. It will be time to face those sometimes scary emotions you have been keeping at bay with your substance. You will be ready to change your life profoundly, for the better.
I recommend getting all the support you can when leaving an addiction behind. Support people might include loving friends who are on a healthy life path, your doctor, a therapist, an acupuncturist, a dietician, an energy healer, perhaps a massage therapist or other alternative healer.