Monday, February 22, 2010

Step One: Powerless over sugar

Yesterday I wrote about coming to this current commitment to abstinence in a different way. It comes after two years of conversation with a wonderful spiritual director/counselor who has a lot of both personal and professional experience with addiction and in particular addiction to food. It comes two years after the publication of my memoir, Sober Truths: The Making of an Honest Woman, in which I was able to really put my drinking past into its proper place in my past, my present, and my future. It comes after more than 20 years of sobriety from one lethal addiction (alcohol) and the absolute understanding that this addiction to sugar, as I use it, could be just as lethal. And it comes at a time when for some reasons unknown to me, everything is lining up just right to do this (Grace).

I also feel that I have fully and completely taken the first step with sugar. I have no doubt that I am powerless over its many forms: candy, ice cream, cupcakes, cake, pie, scones, muffins, you name it. I cannot leave them be once I start. That is exactly how alcohol played out in my life. Whatever shut-off valve normal sugar eaters (and drinkers) have, I either don't have one or it's broken. I have proven this to myself over and over again.

Not only am I powerless over sugar, but my eating is unmanageable, the second component of Step One. When I eat sugar, I do eat other things but not very good things. To offset the sweetness I crave salty junk food like Cheetos and clam dip and chips and I want pizza and cheese and crackers. I don't want fruit or whole grains or vegetables. I don't want a yogurt or a V-8 juice. I just want crap. And then I want more sugar again.

I don't eat just crap, of course. I'm too knowledgeable for that. I know that you have to eat real food a good part of the time to have any semblance of health so I would eat that and then eat a lot of sugar and Cheetos. It's a great way to gain 100 pounds.

Powerless. Unmanageable eating. I've been here so many times. I'm tired of living that way, tired of being driven by something I can't control. I want my life back, and whatever that means, I'm willing to give it a try.

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