Sunday, February 21, 2010

The meaning of commitment in getting off sugar

The first week of no sugar has gone by. And I'm feeling a little better and a little proud of mself. But I also know that, in some ways, this isn't the real test. The real test is in the long run. I've gone weeks without sugar, even six months several times. So what will be different? I never gave it up before with such clarity about the commitment.

When I've given up sugar in the past, it's been to lose weight, even when I've said it wasn't. My weight would have crept up another 20 pounds and I'd want to try to take it off. I'd go on some diet, usually a pretty sane one as I don't do well with deprivation or monotony (I just like food too much ), and I'd lose the weight or some of it and I'd fool myself into thinking that I could do one piece of cake or a bit of chocolate or a bowl of ice cream at a gathering and not start up the whole cycle. I have to admit that I knew what I was doing. In fact, such thinking was a blatant way to lie to myself because, you see, I'd done it all before with alcohol. I'd give up drinking for a few months and then tell myself I had it all under control and could have a glass of wine with dinner. Well, a couple of glasses. And then in two days, I'd be drunk again and drinking all the time. I already knew what the process was like and what was bound to happen.

Sugar was, admittedly, a little slower process. I would manage to eat in moderation for a week or two, rather than a day or two. And the worst part, or the best part, I wouldn't gain the weight back right away. I'd go two, sometimes three weeks, without gaining a pound and then I'd be bingeing again and all the weight would suddenly, or so it seemed, be back. So I would get lulled into thinking I could eat what I wanted and when and as much as I wanted.

This time I have my eyes wide open. I know that it takes what it takes to break an addiction and clearly it has taken me all those false stops and starts and relapses to get to this place. And there's no guarantee that I won't relapse again. It's only been a week.

But this time, I'm doing it differently. We say in AA that insanity is defined by doing things the same way and expecting different results. I want a different result. I want a different relationship with myself and with food. So I'm willing to do it differently this time.

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