Today for the first time, I felt up, energized, even a little happy. I still have the same jittery feeling physically but I feel a little more comfortable knowing what it is--the dopamine imbalance that will take some time to right itself. I also feel reassured that it will pass even though I may have more difficult days ahead.
But for the first time, I'm feeling a little bit of a pink cloud. That's an AA term for the euphoria that we may feel in early sobriety. We begin to feel better physically as our body starts to heal, we are no longer bogged down in the guilt and shame of continual self-destructive behavior, and some of our concerns for our health start to abate a little, as we realize we may just be able to turn this around. Today I find myself cautiously optimistic.
Why cautious? Because I know how difficult it is to kick a habit, especially a pleasurable habit that gives us a chemical rush of relief from the stress of life, both the consequences of our own choice and just what generally comes down the pike.
And I've given up sugar before, just like I gave up alcohol over and over before I finally got sober. I've abstained from certain kinds of sugar for months at a time. I did the Adele Puhn diet, which has much to recommend it, but her suggestion of only eating sugar out with others and only twice a week was a slippery slope for me. I followed her advice, then began eating it only twice a week but at home, then twice a week at home and in large quantities, and then I just couldn't stop again. Several years later, I did a two-month spring cleanse of only eating certain things (we were asked to refrain from the big allergens: wheat, soy, sugar, corn, and nightshades). I lost some weight, felt great, started eating sugar again, and was right back where I started within a few weeks.
And I'm wise enough to know that my habit has in no way been conquered. I'm on day 6 of no intentional sugar. Some believe it takes 3 weeks to kick a habit, some 90 days. I'm not sure even that will do it. Wanting relief from my feelings isn't going to go away. I know that. I'm just going to have to learn to manage them differently, in healthier ways. And sometimes I'm just going to have to ride through them.
But right now, I'm feeling pretty good. And I'll take that.