Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Goodbye, my friend

Guess what I'm doing ........ You're right! Drinking a glass of wine. Cheers.

Guess what I'm not doing ...... Eating chocolate. Or any sugar. Like I said a couple of days ago, the booze fast was just the warm-up for the big test of willpower: giving up sugar for a month.

That means no more best friend chocolate, no more brown sugar in my oatmeal, no more honey in my tea ... this is starting to sound like a 70's pop song .... and no more cookies. No sugar at all, unless it comes in the form of whole fruit.

I joke about my love of wine, but that's really just a cover for my real addiction. My love affair with chocolate is an epic consumption poem that must at last come to an end.

In preparation, over the past 4 days, I went on a chocolate binge that would put Willy Wonka out of business. I would be embarrassed to list here how much chocolate I ate, but let's just say it involved a bag of Dove coconut-filled eggs, 2 caramel Cadbury's, a Mounds bar, a Heath bar, a bag of licorice twists, an orange and a sea salt dark chocolate Lindt bar, an organic dark chocolate coconut bar, and a tiny container of Cherry Garcia. For once, I let myself eat as much as I wanted. I didn't have much left to throw away this morning. Roll me into the river, Willy.

Notice I didn't start my chocolate fast on the first day of March. I intended to, but when I told my daughter Elvira she expressed deep concern for both my mental health and my inflated sense of hedonism. She said, "Mommers, why would you do that to yourself? You're not even allowing one day in between so you can drink that first glass of wine since January with a bar of dark chocolate? Are you suicidal?"

Of course, I had to admit she made a reasonable argument, so, much like a convict on death row, I enjoyed my cold glass of Chardonnay with some high-percentage dark chocolate last night before midnight.  And then I said good-bye to the one thing that keeps me sane most days.

My son Drake, who was bitter because his sister had said something wise, admonished me and said, "Mom, you know there's sugar in wine." I stared him down and said, "Drake, I'm giving up sugar and chocolate, but I'm not going crazy and giving up all carbs. Whatever sugar is in wine has turned into wine. I will not give wine up along with chocolate, and I suspect none of you want me to do that either."

I did hop up on the low-carb bandwagon about 10 years ago. I had been a vegetarian for 9 years, but I started eating meat, cut most of the carbs out of my diet, and worked out several times a week at the gym. I lost a shit ton of weight and I felt fantastic. Strong. Sexy. Full of energy. Daring. I confess I flirted heavily with my little eating disorder for a few months, but I didn't fully succumb. It was the one time in my life I told my poor body image to go fuck itself. It was lovely.

Then the news about how healthy dark chocolate is came out, and I decided I could surely handle one Dove dark chocolate a day. I would take it like medicine. One piece a day and no more. Turns out that was like a chronic alcoholic deciding he could handle one shot of vodka a day. Not sustainable. My addiction is such that it wouldn't be satisfied with an entire bag of Dove darks a day. No hyperbole.

I've made it through one day, which I know is the easy part. Tomorrow the cravings will hit, and the irritability.

I know I'm doing the right thing though. You see, I received a sign. A big, fucking, neon-blinking sign from the universe. Last week I ran out of chocolate. I'd even eaten all of the frozen chocolate chips. And I wasn't feeling well, and the sky was dumping a bunch of snow on us or the temperatures were below zero or some shit. I didn't want to go out, and even if I did, I refuse to placate my addiction by walking half a block and across the street to Big Daddy's to buy chocolate. I have boundaries.

And then I remembered I wasn't really out of chocolate. I had some baking chocolate that was probably several years old, but there was a box of semi-sweet there. Big, thick chunks of chocolate that's supposed to be melted and remade into something else. I let one sit out for about 5 minutes to thaw, and then I took it into the living room to enjoy while I watched my secondary addiction, Netflix. About the third bite into it, I felt something crunch. And I realized I'd broken the front half off an expensive crown on one of my front teeth -- a crown that is connected to 4 other crowns and can't be replaced without replacing all of them. I don't know yet what that moldy old piece of chocolate is going to cost me, but this time, it's not worth it. 

And it's not just my tooth. I've done enough research on sugar to believe it really is an addiction for me, and it's a poison. I don't want to be held hostage to it any more. I don't want to hate myself for my weakness, and I don't want to suffer physical repercussions either.

So, I'm off sugar for a month, and then probably a month after that. I think I can do it a month at a time. I am going to give myself a free day toward the end of the month when Elvira and my daughter-in-law Montana are celebrating birthdays. And if I do decide to continue next month, I'm going to take the first day of the month off for a gorge because .... wine and chocolate. Maybe I'll throw a party.

Otherwise, no simple sugars for this girl. Zero. I can't be trusted with sugar, and especially chocolate.

What's your addiction? How do you deal with it? Or do you?


  1. I'm all or nothing. I've never been, and never will be, a "one bite" or "one slice" or "one little chocolate square" gal. People who say they're satisfied with that are full of sh**. Detoxing from sugar last year was one of the worst years of my life (for reasons other than that, but it's terrible). And I found the people who say you'll stop craving sugar after a while are full of it, as well. Does my body function better without sugar? Absolutely. Does my psyche? Not so much.

  2. No, I'll never stop craving sugar. I crave sugar while I'm eating a bowl of ice cream. I'm always looking for the next fix. What makes me so angry though is my lack of control. I will say I'm only going to eat 5 Dove darks. I mean it. I don't want more than 5. And then something evil overrides my will and I've eaten a dozen and I'm going back for more. All the time a loud, bossy voice -- my voice -- is yelling in my head, "No! I don't want to do this again. I don't want to eat any more chocolate." The evil force that goes back for more doesn't even bother to talk. It just acts.